Bangladesh achieved independence from Pakistan in 1971. After
independence, a considerable number of non-Bengali citizens in
Bangladesh, known as the Biharis who opposed the independence of
Bangladesh, wanted to go to Pakistan but could not do so due to
the repatriation process. These people are called “Stranded Pakistanis” or the Bihari
Community. According to one report, the community is comprised of over 300,000 yet it is not recognized with a clearly defined identity.They have been living in 66 squalid camps with poor facilities scattered in several areas of Bangladesh for more than three decades.Although they
are residing in “refugee camps,” the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) does not recognize them as refugees. Therefore, they are deprived of the benefits and opportunities extended to the refugees by the UNHCR. As a consequence, the stranded Biharis
in Bangladesh face multiple problems.
And still today 35% of them consider themselves as Pakistani, when Pakistan repeatedly refused to take them back. When i visited the camp, i have seen the old generation, people over their 40s do speak in Urdhu. They place a Pakistani flag over their houses. But when i look at these children, they don't look different to me at all. They speak Bangla, and most of them even call themselves Bangladeshi too, a country which refuses them to give nationality. And as a result they are deprived of all basic facilities that the country provides. Such as schooling. And I guess our politicians should be mature enough to understand that Pakistan will never take them. And anyway they are and will be our responsibility in future too. The faster we try to integrate them to our community, the better it would be for all of us.