The Pakistani Bengali Action Committee has demanded the government give people of Bengali extract living in Pakistan the right to vote.
He said that they have never accepted Bangladesh as their ancestors had struggled for the creation of Pakistan and not the former.
Shaikh Muhammad Feroze, the chairman of the committee, said during a press conference on Friday that political parties and the government should acknowledge the sacrifices of their ancestors. “We live in Sindh and feel proud to be called Sindhis rather than Bengalis. We appeal to Sindhi nationalists and Sindhis to help us in our struggle,” he added.
He said that Bengali-speaking people were not given educational rights as they did not possess national identity cards. “Our children can’t get an education after matriculation because colleges ask for the identity cards but the National Database Registration Authority has never accepted us as Pakistani citizens.”
Shaikh said that over three million Bengalis and Biharis were grateful to the government for accepting them as Pakistani citizens. “We postponed a hunger strike planned for March 25 after the government made decisions,” he added. “We can go on a hunger strike, if our rights are not given.”
He claimed that there were 200 settlements of Bengali-speaking people across the country, including 132 in Karachi. They populate different parts of Pakistan, including Thatta, Badin, Hyderabad, Tando Adam and Lahore.
On behalf of the Bengalis and Biharis, the PBAC chief thanked the chief of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, the president, prime minister, the army chief and interior minister for acknowledging their rights.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2012.