Nationalists criticised for demanding Bengalis’ repatriation

Published August 6, 2017
Members and supporters of the Pakistani Bengalis Action Committee hold a protest demonstration at the Karachi Press Club for the acceptance of their demands on Saturday.—PPI
Members and supporters of the Pakistani Bengalis Action Committee hold a protest demonstration at the Karachi Press Club for the acceptance of their demands on Saturday.—PPI

KARACHI: The Pakistan Bengalis Action Committee (PBAC) on Saturday staged a protest demonstration in front of the Karachi Press Club against the statements issued by Sindhi nationalist parties in which they demanded repatriation of Bengalis, Burmese and others.

PBAC leader Shaikh Mohammad Feroz, who is also a leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party, said that Bengalis were patriotic citizens and ready to sacrifice their lives for the cause of the nation and the country.

He said that more than three million Bengalis lived in Pakistan, mostly in Karachi, and they had never accepted Bangladesh as their country and were completely loyal to Pakistan.

“We were born here, will die here and will also be buried here ... nobody has the right to call us non-Pakistani because we are Pakistanis to the core of our heart,” he declared.

A representative of Bengalis told Dawn that Shaikh Feroz, who had recently returned from abroad, was previously associated with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. He parted ways with the MQM and joined the PPP.

Issuance of CNICs to Bengalis demanded

The Pak Muslim Alliance, which claimed to be the only representative organisation of the Bengalis in Karachi, held a meeting recently in Gulshan-i-Iqbal at the residence of the group’s head, Bachu Diwan.

Khwaja Salman, a central leader of the Pak Muslim Alliance, told Dawn that they had accelerated their efforts to contest the next general elections from the platform of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

He said they had talked to former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, incumbent Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif and Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq.

He revealed that they had also held a couple of meetings with Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair for resolving the long-standing problems of their community that included the issuance of computerised national identity cards (CNICs).

He claimed that the Pak Muslim Alliance was the only representative organisation of over 2.5 million Bengalis living in Karachi.

He pointed out that they contested the local government elections and around eight of their candidates won their seats.

He regretted that the 2.5m Bengalis of Karachi were deprived of their right to get CNICs.

Besides facing hardships in getting CNICs, the Bengalis were also being subjected to undesirable attitude at the hands of the administration.

Despite these hardships, Mr Salman said they had decided to contest the forthcoming general elections with active participation.

Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2017

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