Abstract

Partition of India in 1947 synchronized with the division of Punjab and Bengal provinces that caused a massive migration of people between newly-born states of Pakistan and India. The present study is confined to the refugee problem and its settlement in East Bengal province of Pakistan. The burden of refugees' reception and their settlement was a great challenge to be faced by the nascent state of Pakistan. Much has been written on refugee rehabilitation and settlement in the Punjab but the role of Federal Government of Pakistan in this regard in East Pakistan has generally been overlooked by scholars. It is generally believed that the issue of refugee migration and resettlement in East Bengal province had not been seriously taken up by the government of Pakistan. It seems to be misinterpreted as the matter of refugees remained one of the important issues in the federal cabinet of Pakistan after partition. The State did not neglect the issue of refugees in East Bengal rather kept in view all the problems; many relief works were undertaken and grants were also issued for refugee rehabilitation and settlement to East Bengal's provincial government. Moreover, the government of Pakistan took this matter on the international level with Indian State and interStates diplomacy was started between India and Pakistan to address the question of refugees' grievances in East and West Bengal. A series of Inter-dominion conferences was started soon after independence and several political delegations held meetings to cope with the refugee issues and finally, in 1950, the LiaquatNehru agreement was signed to protect the minority rights across the border. For this research study, primary and secondary source material;Prime Minister Papers, the Federal Cabinet records files, and especially the files of Refugees and Rehabilitation Ministry have been extensively utilized.