Stranded Pakistanis

Stranded Pakistanis

Stranded Pakistanis

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Stranded Pakistanis, also known as Biharis, describes the people mainly of the Bihari ethnic group currently residing in Bangladesh who did not support its independence from Pakistan in 1971 and continue to claim Pakistani citizenship.

They are mostly descendants of Muslims who migrated from what is now the modern Indian state of Bihar to the eastern wing (now Bangladesh) of the Muslim state of Pakistan following the partition of India in 1947. Not sharing the ethno-linguistic heritage of the Bengali people, who formed an overwhelming majority in the eastern wing, they opposed its agitation for independence from West Pakistan. Their support for the Pakistani army and participation in pro-Pakistani militias such as the Razakars led to considerable hostility and retaliation from the Bengalis. After the independence of Bangladesh, the Biharis were relocated to refugee camps and have since petitioned the Pakistani government for the right to settle in Pakistan. Their petition has only met with marginal support from Pakistani authorities, who have allowed only a small number of the "Stranded Pakistanis" to settle in Pakistan.


In pre-independence British India, there was an Urdu-speaking Muslim minority in the Hindu majority state of Bihar. In 1947, at the time of partition, the Bihari Muslims, many of whom were fleeing the violence that took place during partition, fled to the newly independent East Pakistan. They held a...
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