Pakistan likely to give legal status to ‘Bengalis’ (former East Pakistanis) living in Karachi

The total number of Bengalis currently living and working in Karachi is around two million…

The Parliamentary Committee on National Re-verification Program (NRVP) has recommended the federal government to propose a constitutional amendment to legalize the marginalized segment of the society once and for all.

Photo courtesy: Pakistan Today

With regard to providing the legal status to ‘Bengalis’ (former East Pakistanis), the committee deliberated in depth on the provision of legal status to Bengalis living in the country. The Bengali community is settled mainly in Pakistan’s economic hub Karachi since decades. Majority of them are those who chose to stay here when East Pakistan declared itself independent Bangladesh in December 1971.

The total number of Bengalis currently living and working in Karachi is around two million, according to an informal survey carried out by the Pak Muslim Alliance that is active among Karachi’s Bengali community. They are scattered in about 105 settlements across the megacity, including Orangi Town, Ibrahim Hyderi, Bilal Colony, Ziaul Haq Colony, Moosa Colony, Machar Colony and Lyari’s Bengali Para.

Almost every Bengali living here demands to be recognized as a Pakistani. As a way to ensure that, they have adopted a collective strategy in the ongoing national census. When official enumerators approach them, they register themselves as speakers of none of the nine languages listed in the census forms. Instead, they list their mother language as ‘others’ since the option of choosing Benagli is not there. And, more importantly, they list their nationality as Pakistani. A sizable number of them comprise Urdu-speaking East PAkistanis collectively called ‘Biharis’.

The meeting was held at the NADRA Headquarters and was presided over by Acting Speaker of National Assembly Murtaza Abbasi, report Pakistan Today.

Lawmakers Khalid Hussain Magsi, Abdul Qahar Khan Wadan, Ameer Zaman, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, ShahJi Gul Afridi, Shaikh Salahuddin and Sahibzada Tariqullah attended the meeting.

One Comment

  • Junaid Hamid says:

    It’s about time that these people be recognised as Pakistanis.
    By not doing so, we are no different to Myanmar govt, who also have never recognised the Rohingyas as their own people.

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