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Stateless

The Bengalis in Pakistan

In the state of our current world, with militarized borders, uneven economies and xenophobic policies, there are millions of people who face the predicament of transmigration, exile and statelessness.

Before 1971, present-day Pakistan and Bangladesh were two provinces of a federal entity called Pakistan. After the 1971 war, resulting in the independence of Bangladesh, there were stranded populations on both sides of the border. Thousands of Bengali residents of Pakistan choose to stay in the country. Following the war, in the 1970s and 80s, there was a continuous influx of Bengalis from Bangladesh, in search of better lives. Most of them were illegally trafficked into the port city of Karachi. Today, there are close to two million Bengalis in Karachi, with no legal status.

The Bengalis in Pakistan are in a socially vulnerable position, lacking access to stable jobs, education, land ownership or the freedom
of movement.

These people live in two worlds, none of which they belong to – involuntary refugees who are denied citizenship and the legal protection of national identity.