Pak stranded in Bangladesh: AGP given time to reply

The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the government’s top attorney more time to submit a reply regarding the repatriation of 300,000 Pakistanis stranded in some 70 camps in Bangladesh.

pakHearing a petition filed by the Stranded Pakistanis General Repatriation Committee of Bangladesh, a three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk, gave Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Salman Aslam Butt till February 18 to submit a reply.

In a previous hearing, the chief justice had questioned whether the top court had the jurisdiction for asking concerned parties about the implementation of the 1974 Tripartite Agreement between India, Bangladesh and Pakistan on Normalisation of Relations in the Subcontinent. “Who is restraining them [stranded Pakistanis] from coming to Pakistan?” he had asked.

During Wednesday’s proceedings, AGP Butt sought more time from the court to file a reply saying he was unaware of the notice issued in this regard.

On the other hand, counsel for the petitioner Rashidul Qazi highlighted the conditions the stranded Pakistanis, most of who are of Bihari descent, were facing in Bangladesh. “They were thrown out of employment and their properties and assets were either frozen by the [Bangladeshi] government or looted by miscreants,” he said.

He added that the conditions in the camps they now live in are ‘wretched’. “Most of them live with their entire families in rooms no larger than six feet by six feet. They have no privacy at all.”

Qazi said “the attitude of Pakistani rulers, political stalwarts and army generals has been deplorable towards the issue of stranded Pakistanis.” He stressed that they were still citizens of Pakistan and despite the ‘sub-human’ conditions they had been subjected to, still proudly hoisted the Pakistani flag. “They were offered Bangladeshi citizenship, but they refused to accept it,” he said.

-Express Tribune