BD court gives stranded Pakistanis citizenship right

Picture and text by Raza Rumi

I took this photo at a Bihari camp in Dhaka. Thousands of ‘Pakistanis’ are stranded in Bangaldesh since 1971 and both the states refuse to acknowlegde their existence. Hence, a few generations have been born in the refugee ghettos who live in sub-human conditions.

I was extremely happy to read this report in the NEWS today that is a little ray of hope:

BD court gives stranded Pakistanis citizenship right

DHAKA: Bangladesh’s High Court ruled on Sunday that some 200,000 Urdu-speaking refugees have the right to be Bangladeshi citizens, a lawyer and a news report said.

Rafiqul Islam Mian, the counsel of a group of refugees, said the court made it clear that they also have the right to cast their votes in upcoming polls, expected to be held in December. “The refugees who were minors in 1971 or born after the independence of Bangladesh are citizens of Bangladesh,” the court said in its ruling.More...

The ruling does not cover refugees who were adults at independence. The United News of Bangladesh agency reported that a two-member panel of Justice MA Rashid and Justice M Ashfaqul Islam made the decision that also asked the Election Commission to take necessary steps to meet provisions of the ruling.

Some 300,000 refugees now languish in 70 crammed camps across Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority nation of 150 million people. Most Bangladeshis speak Bengali, while Urdu is mostly spoken in Pakistan. The lawyer said the rest of the refugees who still dream of Pakistan may take a chance of being Bangladeshi citizens with the ruling in hand.

7 Comments

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7 responses to “BD court gives stranded Pakistanis citizenship right

  1. sherryx

    Lovely post by Raza as always. All this is the part of the tragedy of Partition, there is no other way of understanding this. Brothers were played against brothers. Urdu speaking population in Bangladesh was exploited by Pakistani establishment. They remained aloof in the war of liberation of their land. Some of them participated in the Bengali Genocide. Al Bader and Al Shamas had its bases with this section of population.

    By doing so it was made sure that they become alien in Bangladesh. and they did. Now they were abandoned by Pakistani establishment as well. So these people became people without home! Their homeland didnt accepted them because they were on wrong side of war of liberation and their allies in name of Islam abandoned them

    I hope that this tragedy finds a closure soon!!

  2. thanks Sherry
    I also hope that this tragedy gets a closure sooner than later.
    the conditions where these people live are sub-human at best.

  3. sherryx

    O jesus is it?. i just wonder any organization working there trying to promote their integration into Bangla culture. With the National question already threatening Pakistan’s statehood. It will be almost impossible to bring yet another “Muhajirs” into Pakistan

  4. Kashkin

    Hey Raza,
    beautiful effort to highlight this situation….they have suffered enough already…

  5. AJ

    It’s a great leap for Bangladeshi. These Biharis look just like Bengalis and they are Muslims, I wonder why it took over 37 years for the Bangladeshis to accept them.

  6. AJ

    Raza bhai, did you visit them often on your stay in Bangladesh? They must be pleased to see an Urdu-speaker from Pakistan in Bangladesh.

  7. AJ

    Bangladesh was created with the ideology of freedom regardless of ethnicity, but it’s unfortunate that dream was shattered as we can see in the modern state of Bangladesh, as Bengali and Urdu speakers alike are both suffering.

    I actually read your article long time ago on pakistaniat.com and I was more than pleased to hear the warm words from a person of a brotherly nation.