Pakistan born Jews expect to move back to birthplace ‘Aray! Khilau Bhai Hum Ho Biryani
The historic deal between the UAE and Israel has boosted expectations that, someday soon, Pakistan-born Jews living in Israel will visit their country. There were about 2,500 Jews living in Karachi at the time of Pakistan’s establishment, with only one synagogue called “Magen Shalom” in the Rancho Lines area of the city.
Many Karachi-born Jews speak the Urdu language with precision since during the 50s and 60s they had received their education in Karachi, and then migrated to Israel and other areas of the world. Emanuel Matat, a member of a Jewish family, told The Israel News, “Aray! Bhai Hum Ko Biryani Khilau “(I’d love to visit Pakistan, yes! Make Biryani for me).
UAE citizens can now make a telephone call directly in Israel after the Gulf state authorities have removed the calling ban between two countries. Emanuel Matat wants to visit Karachi as well, although it’s still a fantasy, but he’s expected to visit Dubai soon.
Matat, 59, migrated from Pakistan three decades back with a heavy heart. He and his 10 sisters are the only Jews he knows to have been born in Pakistan. Matat’s family was the last Jewish family left Pakistan in the late 80s but Karachi’s sweet memories still carries them to the region. When my father married in Karachi in 1957 600 Jewish families lived in Karachi.
He received education from Saddar BVS School and has wonderful memories of a prosperous multi-cultural megacity. “My dad, Rehamim, was a major businessman and he did not want to leave, he loved Pakistan so much,” Matat recalls. The family was in the carpet business, which would be purchased by Jewish customers from around the world.
“I wouldn’t have left Pakistan because there were family compulsions,” Matat says. There are no Jews remaining in Karachi, according to Matat, and as far as Matat says, there are no other Jewish communities in Pakistan as well. Any media outlets indicated however that there are more than 700 Jews living in Pakistan.