How were the properties left behind by Hindus and Sikhs dealt with by Pakistan after the partition?

Mudassir Ali
Jan 16, 2020 07:50 AM 0 Answers
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How were the properties left behind by Hindus and Sikhs dealt with by Pakistan after the partition?

Mudassir Ali
- Jan 16, 2020 07:50 AM

I can only talk about Sindh. I live in Hyderabad, second biggest city in Sindh. During partition, virtually all Hindus and Sikhs emigrated from Hyderabad. They formed around 45% to 50% of the population in Hyderabad.

Hyderabad was dubbed as ‘Paris of East’ with luxurious mansions and buildings with Gothic architecture beautified the entire scene of the city. Streets used to be cleaned twice a day. woman could easily walk alone at night time. Ease of getting quality education was convenient. It was one of the most educated and bustling cities in British Raj.

When partition happened suddenly bulks of refugees poured into Hyderabad from India. Initially they were given temporarly accomodations in schools, colleges, and at particularly Pacco Qillo (strong fort) an abandoned millitary camp. Hindus and Sikhs along with Sindhi muslims warmly welcomed them, as they had endured a terrible journey. Gave them food, clothes, shelter and other neccessary things.

It was not until 1948 when riots errupted in Sukkur and Karachi and in result 12 Hindus were killed innocently— and soon Hindus and Sikhs felt frigtened in their own land. Within a span of 5 years most Hindus and Sikhs from cities had emigrated from Sindh. In totall, 1.13 million Hindus and Sikhs left Sindh. In return, 2 to 3 million refugees came in . Most of them settled in urban areas.

So, what happanned to the abandoned properties?

Initially Hindus and Sikhs thought they would return back — so they gave their house keys to Sindhi muslims. My maternal grandfather, who was in Police during that time was posted in Hyderabad. He and others were given responsibility to secure houses of Hindus and Sikhs. Earlier on, people connected with power corridors got the possessions. Others forcebily secured the possessions and the few remaning are still under govt: control.

Now, before Partition Muslim Gujaratis already lived in Hyderabad and Karachi. They came here for trade. During Partition, as the things were in chaos for Muslims in India they called their relatives to settle in Hyderabad and Karachi. Muslim Gujaratis settled easily than the others. They also grabbed their share of left properties.

My ancestral village Mithiani (now a town), where Hindus used to live. They completely evacuated their homes and left Sindh. Not a single family remained. My Ancestral home, where my paternal uncle lives was a property of a Hindu family. Now, in Mithiani or nearby areas there aren’t many Urdu-speaking people. Thats why native people secured the possessions.

So, property was not distributed on merits but on power connections. Some worthy people did eventually get a empty land or house here and there — others strived to build their own. Still, some powerful individuals have illegelly occupied the properties.

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