PRC urges quick repatriation of stranded Pakistanis in Bangladesh


Saudi Gazette

— The Pakistan Repatriation Council (PRC) urged the repatriation of Pakistani citizens stranded in Bangladesh in a symposium on occasion of 46th anniversary of fall of Dhaka (East Pakistan) titled “Repatriation of stranded Pakistanis our national obligation”.

It was presided over by renowned scholar and ex-diplomat Dr. Ali Al-Ghamdi. Chief guest was Syed Neaz Ahmed President Pakistan Writers Forum (PWF). Other guests included Raja Mohammed Zareen Khan, member Kashmir Committee (KC) Jeddah, Syed Naseeruddin, Syed Ghazanfar Hassan, Syed Wasi Imam from Engineers Welfare Forum (EWF), Israr Khan and Mian Mohammed Aslam.

Dr. Ali Al-Ghamdi said in his presidential address that fall of Dhaka is a black day not only for Pakistan but for the whole Muslim world and has had a long-term effect on Ummah. He said that he can’t discuss the motives of fall of Dhaka but he felt that Pakistan did not fight the war with any strategic planning and even the surrender document was signed in haste, as it did not have any clause for the protection of patriotic citizens who were fighting with their (Pak) army. They only cared for their safe passage as prisoners of war (POWs).

Hence after the creation of Bangladesh those patriotic (Bengalis and Biharis) citizens were brutally persecuted for siding with Pak army, and the rest of them were thrown into camps without any help either from governments of Pakistan or Bangladesh. They are living in captivity without access to education, health care, employment, utilities and other basic livelihood. Till date they are stateless people. It is Pakistan’s responsibility to issue them passport which they held prior to fall of Dhaka and they did not accept to become Bangladeshis, Dr. Ghamdi added.

He said UNHCR, OIC and other organizations could help in their settlement. PRC has also submitted proposals of self-finance schemes, which could be considered. On this occasion he urged Pakistani rulers, chief of army, chief justice to take up the issue seriously to solve it in the best interest of patriotic Pakistanis.

Syed Neaz Ahmed praised Dr. Ghamdi’s speech that urged Pakistan to issue passports to those stranded Pakistanis which will allow them to move out of camps.

He said that those Pakistanis are hard working and their repatriation will also help Pakistan. He also appreciated PRC proposals in the repatriation and rehabilitation of stranded Pakistanis.

Renowned religious scholar and writer Tariq Mahmood said that fall of Dhaka was result of our non-adherence to Qur’an and Sunnah, which was the basis of creation of Pakistan. He said that we have not learned the lessons from the Dhaka debacle.

He said government should come forward to solve the issue of stranded Pakistanis. He said that our politicians, judiciary, media and NGOs should also play their role in alleviating their miseries. He felt that no democratic government is able to complete its tenure could be a warning from Allah to help the oppressed people.

Naushad Usman said, “Government has failed to take any concrete steps to repatriate and settle the stranded Pakistanis, hence it is the duty of welfare organizations to at least help them in basic needs to alleviate their miseries until they live in the camps.”

Shamsuddin Altaf and Mohammad Amanatullah paid rich tribute to martyrs of 1971 war and also to those innocent children who were massacred in army public school in 2014.

Convener Ehsanul Haque thanked Dr. Ali Al-Ghamdi and guests for participating in the symposium. He said agenda of PRC is to highlight the issue of Kashmir and stranded Pakistanis and propose their solution. The principled stand is that those patriotic Pakistanis have the right to come to Pakistan because of their choice in 1947 when they migrated and again when they sided with Pak army in 1971.

He said Urdu speaking Pakistanis are considered traitors in Bangladesh so they will never allow them to settle there. He also criticized hanging of veterans leader without fair trial for siding with Pakistan in 1971 war. He rued that a committee in Senate to solve stranded Pakistanis issue under Senator Sartaj Aziz, set up in October 2015, has also not taken any measures.

He also appealed Bangladeshi government to extend basic facilities e.g. food, housing, medical, education; employment etc. to let them live like humans.

Earlier, the symposium started with recitation from Holy Qur’an by Qari Abdul Majeed. Naat was presented by Faisal Moin. Zamurrad Saifi presented poem on martyrs of East Pakistan and plight of stranded Pakistanis.

The PRC members appealed to president Mamnoon Hussain to restart the repatriation and rehabilitation of stranded Pakistanis urgently. To overcome the paucity of fund, it suggested to implement PRC proposal of “settlement of stranded Pakistanis on self finance basis.” Bangladesh should also play its role in solving the issue.

It called on Pakistani High Commissioner at Dhaka to be assigned to take care of food, health, life and security of quarter million Pakistanis stranded in Bangladesh. OIC should include in its agenda the issue of settlement of stranded Pakistanis.