Stranded Pakistanis (Urdu: پھنسے ہوئے پاکستانی, Bengali: উদ্বাস্তু পাকিস্তানী), sometimes also referred to as Biharis, are the ethnic Muslims from North and Northwestern parts of the Indian Subcontinent, currently residing in Bangladesh. They migrated to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) at the time of the Partition of India to join the Muslim state of Pakistan. They spoke Urdu, which became the official language of Pakistan, but put them at odds with the Bengali-majority in the region.
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 Pakistan. They opposed Bangladesh Liberation War, and their support for the Pakistani army and participation in pro-Pakistani militias, such as the Razakars, Al-Badr and Al-Shams, led to considerable hostility and retaliation from the Bengalis, and became stranded after the independence of Bangladesh and were relocated to refugee camps, where their descendants have been born. They have since appealed the Pakistani government for the right to settle in Pakistan. Their petition has only met with marginal support from the Pakistani authorities, who have allowed only a small number of the "Stranded Pakistanis" to settle in Pakistan.
In 2003 a Bangladesh high court ruled that 10 Biharis were entitled to citizenship and voting rights. In 2008 the High Court in Dhaka ruled that 150,000 Biharis, who were minors at the time of the war, could be given citizenship in Bangladesh and voting rights. This is also to be extended to those Bihari born since the war, giving them a path to citizenship rights in Bangladesh at last.
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 East Pakistan. They held a disproportionate number of positions in this region of the new country, because the Pakistani government made Urdu (which was the mother tongue of many Biharis) the only official national language of the new state. This led to much resentment from the native Bengalis, the majority in East Pakistan, who had to acquire a new language and many were at a disadvantage on their own soil.
In 1971, the Bangladesh Liberation War broke out between Bengali guerrillas and the Pakistani government. The Biharis sided with the Pakistani side, viewing the Bengali struggle as an illegitimate rebellion. During the nine-month-long Bangladesh Liberation War they were active as local collaborators of Pakistan Army and made lots of armed groups like Razakars, Al-Badr and Al-Shams, is held responsible for conducting a mass killing campaign against Bengali nationalists, civilians, religious and ethnic minorities (known as 1971 Bangladesh genocide). With covert and later overt support from India, East Pakistan became the independent state of Bangladesh. During the war, the Bengalis made "many attacks on the Bihari community as they were seen as symbols of Pakistani domination."