ISLAMABAD Repeated instances of harassment of Pak nationals of Bengali origin at the hands of security agencies are falling on deaf ears, not even a little attention is being paid by the Government to the plight of those nationals who are victimised and marginalized in the name of purging out illegal expatriates. Majority of Pak nationals of Bangladesh origin who have been living in Karachi since decades, holding legal Pakistani nationalities, running their businesses in the Karachi and earning respectable positions in the Pakistani society, have been suffering since the start of this year thanks to ever 'vigilant Interior Ministry. Interior Minister Rehman Malik on the last January 8 had warned the unlawful expatriates to leave Pakistan within a fortnight or face action. After the passage of the deadline, the Minister contradicting his own statement, backed off from his stance claiming that he had given a months not 15 days deadline. To delay the matter further, the Minister on Sunday last announced a further extension in the deadline without specifying any timeframe. Rehman Malik, in stark contradiction to the prevailing scenario, has assured that expatriates and settlers residing in Pakistan on legal status would not be harassed. During a course of investigation, the reports gathered from Karachi reveal that Pak nationals of Bengali origin, who have been settled here for decades, are agonised and harassed by the interior officials at Karachi airport, on their return to Pakistan from Bangladesh despite the fact that they carry Pakistani passports and nationalities. Bangladeshs Deputy High Commission in Karachi told TheNation that they received numerous complaints from Bangladeshi families, which visited Bangladesh to see their relatives and were exploited at Karachi airport on their return. The complainants, according to Deputy High Commission, report that FIA officials accuse them of carrying fake passports, detain them at airports, and interrogate them despite the fact that the travellers carry legal documents and machine readable passports (MRPs), which cannot be tampered or forged and can be easily verified at the airports counters. Unofficial record available with this scribe shows that some 300,000 to 350,000 Bangladeshis are residing in Karachi. There are about a dozen colonies of Bangladeshi community across the city, with the Pak nationals of Bangladesh origin playing active role in the socio-political and socio-economic set-up of the city. Currently, Nazims of Karachis 15 union councils are Pak nationals of Bengali origin and the communitys representatives play key role in garments, hosiery and fishery industries of the city. There is no denying the fact that there might be hundreds or even thousands of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh involved in criminal activities who must be taken to task, but majority of Bangladeshis is very patriotic towards Pakistan and it must not be victimised and marginalized at the cost of an illegal minority. Moreover, illegal immigrants episode entails the sheer negligence on part of the Government, particularly the Interior Ministry in handling this issue. Diplomat of one of a European country with highest number of its nationals illegally dwelling in Pakistan told this journalist the other day that the embassy he represented was repeatedly asking Pakistans Interior Ministry for providing record of its illegal nationals in Pakistan but the Ministry concerned was least bothered. Ironically enough, Pakistani authorities dont posses any record of illegal immigrants living across the country. TheNation, through its own sources, collected the unofficial record of illegal immigrants before it first mentioned in its story titled Afghan refugees, a persistent problem dated January 9, this year, that 3.5 million illegal Afghans were living in Pakistan. Certain government quarters, particularly some officials from Interior Ministry, negated the particular figure and termed it as exaggerated one. However, TheNations story proved true when Prime Minister Gilani, during a meeting with British Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling, said that 3.5 million illegal Afghans were sheltering in Pakistan. These refugees are not only an economic burden but a serious security threat as well, he had observed then, urging the international community to address the cause. Interior Ministrys Spokesperson Rashid Mazari was not present in the Federal Capital due to a departmental training, while his colleagues were reluctant to give the Ministrys on-the-record version about the issue in his absence.