Bangladesh Turns 36: Bringing Stranded Pakistanis Home

Posted on December 16, 2007
Filed Under >Owais Mughal, Foreign Relations, Society
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Owais Mughal

Bangladesh celebrates its Independence Day36 years ago, on December 16, 1971, then East Pakistan became Bangladesh.

Last year Adil Najam had a very touching post on the same topic and I’ll strongly recommend a revisit to it here. Raza Rumi had also written a post after revisiting Dhaka recently.

I belong to a generation which did not see those times. My knowledge about this significant event of our history comes from the books I’ve read, things I have heard on the media and from elders, and from Pakistani and Bengali friends I’ve talked to.

A lot of water has passed under the bridges since then. Both nations have gone through a lot in these 36 tumultuous years. Whatever the past may have been – the good times and the bad – we at ATP pray for a bright future for both Pakistan and Bangladesh. We want to wish good luck to Bangladesh and its citizens for a bright future.

This December 16 is also time to seriously think about those Pakistanis who remain stranded in Bangladesh living in camps.

These are people who consider themselves Pakistanis, want to live in Pakistan, and whom we have ignored and forgotten. It is time to welcome them. If Pakistan can give refuge to millions of people from its western bordering country, we can welcome the few thousand who are our own, who remain stranded and stateless in Bangladesh, and who want to return to Pakistan.

Its time to bring them home!

40 responses to “Bangladesh Turns 36: Bringing Stranded Pakistanis Home”

  1. Rony rocks says:

    Hello guys! i want to share some info! During the last caretaker ragime, the “Biharies” (they are known in this name) are offered to have voter ID! In Bangladesh if you have a viter ID, you can apply for the passport also. with the help of it you can seek for any govt service as we, the Bangladeshi nationals, do. some of them took the opportunity but few of them not! Mirpur 11 in Dhaka is the place where many Biharies are living and if you go there you will find they have the opportunity to have the education of bangla medium as well as madrasa!

    But it all depends on the backward mind which is mostly followed by Islamic fundamentalism!

    Bangladeshi people are embarassing a broader aspect of Islam where in Pakistan, i saw actually in many Paki freinds’ practice, they are much involved in findamental practice of Islam! i don’t think this is a matter of ashamed, but if someone use it to keep in backward posture in soceity i think this problem is much more related to mental probs!

    But i must say outside Dhaka, they are leading their lives in very aweful way as they are deprived of education and suffering from superstitions of Islam!

    Biharies are not treated as a “traitor”. But we call JAMAT E ISLAM and ISLAMI SATRO SHIBIR the branded traitor!and that’s why there are many movements going on to ban them and judge them in court followed by International War crome tribunal!

    So i think there is no misunderstanding of treating them badly! most of them are mingled in our mainstream, some of them couldn’t is only because of their own metality!

  2. Sadia says:

    last comment was from 2008 on this blog.
    just wanted to give few information regarding this issue.

    1. In a visit to Bangladesh in 2002, Pakistani president Musharraf said that while he had every sympathy for the plight of thousands of people in Bangladesh known as ‘stranded Pakistanis’, he could not allow them to emigrate to Pakistan

    2. Some 150,000 Urdu-speaking Muslim refugees have the right to be Bangladesh citizens, a court has ruled in November,2007. The Dhaka high court ruling applies to those who were minors when Bangladesh won independence in 1971 or born after.

    3. In August 2008, the Election Commission began a drive to register the Urdu-speaking communities in the settlements around Bangladesh.This was an important first step towards integrating these minority communities into Bangladeshi society.

    bangladesh is trying to help them maybe its time pakistan can try a little more.

  3. Rawshan Iajdani says:

    Few things needs to be clarified here to those misinformed about the real fact. Bengali people are one of the most mercyfull and lanient people I ever known of. Those pakistanis were offered citizenship long time ago in 70’s and 80’s. This is them who wanted to be in Pakistan and refused to take Bangladeshi citizenship are called stranded pakistanis. Those who stayed out of camps and remained in the main stream are still Bangladeshi and nobody ever asked them to go back. There are millions of them. Anyways this new generation of those Pakistanis dont want to go back and they speak Bengali and became Bengalis and they are like any othere bengalis here. They celebrate 21st February, 26 march, 16 dec. They are noway responsible for the crime their elders did with pakistani soldiers and their bengali collaborators.
    They should also feel lucky that they are living in peace and harmony which may not be possible if Bangladesh still with pakistan by looking at the caos the pakistan is going through till these dates.

  4. Syed Kamal says:

    All of our troubles are of our own making. We not only failed to learn important lessons from our sixty years of existence we did not not even try.
    After all is said little will be done if we don’t accept individual responsiblity for the condition of our country and society. One mission that has been sacred for our organization is to gain justice for those who were illegally deprived of their nationality. If you want our county to be a country of laws then it is incumbent upon all of us to help victims of injustice regardless of the their religion, color, language, race or any other characteristic.
    Please visit our web site noted above and help us in some material way ( we are not short of people who agree with us and approve of our goals but do nothing to help us.) God bless you all.

  5. Sunny says:

    As a Bangladeshi, I’m ashamed that our government haven’t done anythign to help. A lot of the anti-Bengali actions were done by the ederly Biharis in 1971 but the young Biharis are free from blame; they should be given instant citizenship, as in if they want it. Fortunately madrassas give the young free education in the evenings. Poverty rate is decreasing in Bangladesh thanks to Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the poverty rate in our coutry goes down 2% every year so that’s a huge success. The government is in the process of granting about 133,000 biharis in Bangladesh citizenship, if I’m correct. The anger, the war, the pain are reparing among the Bengalis and insh’Allah the Biharis will live in a higher standard in the future. I pray and hope for their secure future.

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