Pakistan welcomes Dhaka decision on ’stranded Biharis’

May 20th, 2008 - 12:40 pm ICT by admin  

Dhaka, May 20 (IANS) Pakistan has welcomed the Dhaka High Court decision granting citizenship to more than 300,000 Urdu speaking non-Bengalis stranded in the erstwhile east wing in 1971, saying the repatriation spat with Bangladesh was now more or less resolved. However, the sharing of assets between the two who were a single nation till 1971 “is far more complicated and currently under discussion”, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Dhaka Alamgir Babar said Monday.

A high court bench last Saturday accepted a petition granting citizenship to the non-Bengalis and directing the Election Commission to take them on the voters’ list, The Daily Star newspaper said Tuesday.

Estimated at 426,000 in 1971, the non-Bengalis have lived in 116 camps across the country in ghetto-like conditions.

Dubbbed ‘Biharis’ as a bulk of them from the Indian province during partition in 1947, they called themselves Pakistanis and demanded that they be repatriated.

Many non-Bengalis moved back to India in stealth and some managed to go across India to Pakistan to reunite with their immediate families, as per various studies and media reports.

There is no precise figure of this illegal movement.

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