British Pakistanis (Urdu: پاکستانی نزاد برطانوی; also known as Pakistani British people or Pakistani Britons) are citizens of the United Kingdom whose ancestral roots lie in Pakistan. This includes people born in the UK who are of Pakistani descent, and Pakistani-born people who have migrated to the UK. The majority of British Pakistanis originate from the Kashmir and Punjab regions, with a smaller number from other parts of Pakistan including Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. The UK is home to the largest Pakistani community in Europe, with the population of British Pakistanis exceeding 1.17 million. British Pakistanis are the second largest ethnic minority population in the United Kingdom and also make up the second largest subgroup of British Asians. They are the second largest overseas Pakistani community, behind the Pakistani diaspora in Saudi Arabia.
Due to the historical relations between both countries, immigration to the UK from the region which is now Pakistan began in the mid-nineteenth century, but this was minuscule in number. During the mid-nineteenth century, parts of what is now Pakistan came under the British Raj and people from those regions served as soldiers in the British Indian Army, and some were deployed in other parts of the British Empire. However it was following the Second World War, the break-up of the British Empire and the independence of Pakistan, that Pakistani immigration to the United Kingdom increased, especially during the 1950s and 1960s. This was made easier by the fact that Pakistan was a member of the Commonwealth. Pakistani immigrants helped to resolve labour shortages in the British steel and textile industries. Doctors from Pakistan were recruited by the National Health Service in the 1960s.
The demographics of British Pakistanis have changed considerably since they first arrived in the UK. The population has grown from about 10,000 in 1951 to over 1.1 million today. The vast majority of British Pakistanis reside in England, with a sizable community in Scotland and smaller communities in Wales and Northern Ireland. The most diverse Pakistani population is in London which consists of Punjabis, Kashmiris, Pashtuns, Sindhis, Muhajirs, Saraikis, Baloch and others. The majority of British Pakistanis are Muslim; around 90 per cent of those living in England and Wales at the time of the 2011 UK Census stated their religion was Islam, with the remainder belonging to other beliefs. The majority are Sunni Muslims, with a significant minority of Shia Muslims. The UK also has one of the largest overseas Christian Pakistani communities; the 2011 census recorded around 17,000 Christian Pakistanis living in England and Wales.
Since their settlement, British Pakistanis have had diverse contributions and influence on British society, politics, culture, economy and sport. Whilst social issues include high relative poverty rates among the community according to the 2001 census, significant progress has been made in recent years, with the 2011 Census showing British Pakistanis as having amongst the highest levels of home ownership in Britain. A large number of British Pakistanis have traditionally been self-employed, with a significant number working in the transport industry or in family-run businesses of the retail sector. According to research, certain sections of the British Pakistani community are the most highly educated and economically successful of all ethnic minorities in Britain, constituting an affluent middle class.
- 1 History
- 2 Demographics
- 3 Culture
- 4 Ethnicity and cultural assimilation
- 5 Health and social issues
- 6 Education
- 7 Economics
- 8 Media
- 9 Politics
- 10 Contemporary issues
- 11 Notable people
- 12 See also
- 13 Notes
- 14 References
- 15 Further reading
|Part of a series on|
|Pakistani communities · Bradford
Pakistani community of London
|Urdu · others|
|Balti (food) · Balti Triangle
British Punjabi writers
Fictional British Pakistanis
|Islam in England|
|List of British Pakistanis
English people of Pakistani descent
Scottish people of Pakistani descent
Welsh people of Pakistani descent
Northern Irish people of Pakistani descent
|Pakistan – United Kingdom relations
Britons in Pakistan
2001 Oldham race riots
2001 Bradford riots
Immigration from what is now Pakistan to the United Kingdom began long before the independence of Pakistan in 1947. Muslim immigrants from Kashmir and Sindh arrived in the British Isles as early as the mid-seventeenth century, typically as lashkars and sailors in British port cities. These immigrants were often the first Asians to be seen in British port cities and were initially perceived as indolent due to their reliance on Christian charities. Despite this, most early Pakistani immigrants married local white British women because there were few South Asian women in Britain at the time. Other early Pakistanis came to the UK as scholars and studied at major British institutions, before later returning to British India.
An example of such a person is Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. Jinnah came to the UK in 1892 and started an apprenticeship at Graham's Shipping and Trading Company. After completing his apprenticeship, Jinnah joined Lincoln's Inn where he trained as a barrister. At 19, Jinnah became the youngest person from the Indian subcontinent to be called to the bar in Britain.
British interwar period
Most early Pakistani settlers and their families moved from port towns to the Midlands, as Britain declared war on Germany in 1939. Many of these Kashmiris and Sindhis worked in the munition factories of Birmingham. After the war, most of these early settlers stayed on in the region and took advantage of an increase in the number of jobs.
There were 832,500 Muslim Indian soldiers in 1945; most of these recruits were from what is now Pakistan. These soldiers fought alongside the British Army during the First and Second World Wars, particularly in the latter, during the Battle of France, the North African Campaign and the Burma Campaign. Many contributed to the war effort as skilled labourers, including as assembly-line workers in the aircraft factory at Castle Bromwich, Birmingham, which produced Spitfire fighters. Most returned to the subcontinent after their service, although many of these former soldiers returned to Britain in the 1950s and 1960s to fill labour shortages.
Following the Second World War and the break-up of the British Empire, Pakistani immigration to the United Kingdom increased, especially during the 1950s and 1960s. Many Pakistanis came to Britain following the turmoil during the partition of India and the subsequent independence of Pakistan; among them were those who migrated to Pakistan upon displacement from India, and then migrated to the UK, thus becoming secondary migrants. Migration was made easier as Pakistan was a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Pakistanis were invited by employers to fill labour shortages which arose after the Second World War. As Commonwealth citizens, they were eligible for most British civic rights. They found employment in the textile industries of Lancashire and Yorkshire, manufacturing in the West Midlands, and car production and food processing industries of Luton and Slough. It was common for Pakistani employees to work on night shifts and at other less-desirable hours.
Many Kashmiris began emigrating from Pakistan after the completion of Mangla Dam in Mirpur, Kashmir in the late 1950s led to the destruction of hundreds of villages. Up to 5,000 people from Mirpur (five per cent of the displaced) left for Britain, while others were allotted land in neighbouring Punjab or used monetary compensation to resettle elsewhere in Pakistan. The displaced Kashmiris were given legal and financial assistance by the British contractor which had built the dam. Those from unaffected areas of Pakistan, such as the Punjab, also immigrated to Britain to help fill labour shortages. Punjabis began to leave Pakistan in the 1960s. They worked in the foundries of the English Midlands, and a significant number also settled in Southall in West London.
During the 1960s, a considerable number of Pakistanis also arrived from urban areas. Many of these people were qualified teachers, doctors, and engineers. They had a predisposition to settle in London due to its greater economic opportunities compared to the Midlands or the North of England. Most medical staff from Pakistan were recruited in the 1960s and almost all worked for the National Health Service. At the same time, the number of Pakistanis coming as workers declined.
During the 1970s, a large number of East African Asians, most of whom already held British passports because they were brought to Africa by British colonialists, entered the UK from Kenya and Uganda. Idi Amin chose to expel all Ugandan Asians in 1972 because of the perception that they were responsible for the country's economic stagnation. The Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962 and Immigration Act 1971 largely restricted any further primary immigration to the UK, although family members of already-settled immigrants were allowed to join their relatives. The early Pakistani workers who entered the UK came with the intent of staying and working temporarily and eventually returning home. However, this changed into permanent family immigration since the 1962 Act, as well as due to socio-economic circumstances and the future of children which most families saw in Britain.
When the UK experienced deindustrialisation in the 1970s, many British Pakistanis became unemployed. The change from the manufacturing sector to the service sector was difficult for ethnic minorities and white Britons alike, especially for those with little academic education. The Midlands and North of England were areas which were heavily reliant on manufacturing industries and the effects of deindustrialisation continue to be felt in these areas. As a result, increasing numbers of British Pakistanis have resorted to self-employment. National statistics from 2004 show that one in seven British Pakistani men work as taxi drivers, cab drivers or chauffeurs.
In the 2011 UK Census, 1,174,983 residents classified themselves as ethnically Pakistani (excluding people of mixed ethnicity). The 2001 UK Census recorded 747,285 residents who described their ethnicity as Pakistani, regardless of their birthplace. Of those Pakistanis living in England, Wales, and Scotland, 55 per cent were born in the UK, 36.9 per cent in Pakistan and 3.5 per cent elsewhere in Asia. According to estimates by the Office for National Statistics, the number of people born in Pakistan living in the UK in 2009 was 441,000. The Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis of the Pakistan government estimates that 1.26 million Pakistanis live in the UK, constituting well over half of the total number of Pakistanis in Europe.
The majority of British Pakistanis are from the Kashmir and Punjab areas of Pakistan, with Kashmiris making up the largest and Punjabis making up the second largest portion. A high proportion of the members of Pakistani communities in the West Midlands and the North originated in Kashmir. Large Kashmiri communities can be found in Birmingham, Bradford, Oldham, and the surrounding northern towns. Luton and Slough have the largest Kashmiri communities in the south of England, while a large proportion of Punjabis also reside in the south. There is also a small Pakistani Pashtun population in the UK. Up to 250,000 Pakistanis come to the UK each year, for work, visit or other purposes. Likewise, up to 270,000 British citizens travel to Pakistan each year, mainly to visit family. Pakistan International Airlines flies to several UK airports, providing air linkages between Pakistan and the UK.
Demographer Ceri Peach has estimated the number of British Pakistanis in the 1951 to 1991 censuses. He back-projected the ethnic composition of the 2001 census to the estimated minority populations during previous census years. The results are as follows:
|Year||Population (rounded to nearest 1,000)|
At the time of the 2011 UK Census, the distribution of people describing their ethnicity as Pakistani was as follows:
|Region||Percentage of total British Pakistani population||British Pakistanis as percentage of region's population|
|North East England||1.69%||0.76%|
|North West England||16.12%||2.69%|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||19.23%||4.28%|
|East of England||5.64%||1.13%|
|South East England||8.45%||1.15%|
|South West England||0.99%||0.22%|
London has the largest Pakistani community in the United Kingdom. The 2011 census recorded 224,000 British Pakistanis living in London. This population is made up of Punjabis, Kashmiris, Pashtuns, Sindhis, Muhajirs and Baloch. This mix comparably makes the British Pakistani community of London more diverse than other communities in the UK, whereas a high proportion of Pakistani communities in the West Midlands and the North came from Kashmir.
The largest concentrations are in the East London communities of Ilford, Walthamstow, Leyton and Barking. Other large communities can be found in Harrow, Brent, Ealing and Hounslow in West London and Wandsworth and Croydon in South London.
A considerable number of Pakistanis have set up their own businesses, often employing family members. Today, a fifth of Pakistani Londoners are self-employed. Businesses such as grocery stores and newsagents are common, while later arrivers commonly work as taxi drivers or chauffeurs. Well-known British Pakistanis from London include Anwar Pervez, whose Earl's Court grocery store expanded into the Bestway chain with a turnover of £2 billion, and the playwright and author Hanif Kureishi.
Birmingham has the second largest Pakistani community in the United Kingdom. The 2011 census recorded that there were 140,000 Pakistanis living in Birmingham, making up 13.5 per cent of the city's population. Although London has almost twice as many Pakistanis, Birmingham is viewed as the 'main location' of all Pakistanis in Britain. The largest concentrations are in inner city Birmingham and areas such as Sparkhill, Small Heath, Bordesley Green, Balsall Heath, Aston, Ward End, Lozells, Nechells, Alum Rock and Washwood Heath. Wealthy middle-class Pakistanis tend to live in Hall Green and Yardley. There is also a large Bangladeshi community in some of these areas. The majority of "Brummie" Pakistanis can trace their roots to Kashmir, with large minorities from Punjab and more recently, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The BBC sitcom Citizen Khan is set in the Pakistani community of Sparkhill, described as "the capital of British Pakistan."
Bradford is famous for its large Pakistani population and is often dubbed "Bradistan". In 2007, it was estimated that 80,000 Pakistanis lived in Bradford, 16.1 per cent of the city's population. One can find shop signs written in Urdu when in Bradford. The majority of British Pakistanis here can trace their roots to the Mirpur District of Kashmir. In 1960s, Mirpur was considered to be a rural and conservative area which has made great economic progress in last three decades and has become one of the most prosperous areas of Pakistan.
Pakistanis make up the largest ethnic minority in Scotland, representing nearly one third of the ethnic minority. There are an estimated 20,000 living in Glasgow. There are large Pakistani communities throughout the city, notably in the Pollokshields area of South Glasgow, where there are said to be some "high standard" Pakistani takeaways and Asian fabric shops. The majority came from the central Punjab part of Pakistan, including Faisalabad and Lahore. A survey by the University of Glasgow found that Scottish Pakistanis felt more patriotic than English people, and that their preferred political party was the Scottish National Party.
Pakistanis are the largest visible minority in Manchester, where they made up 3.8 per cent of the city's population in 2001. Large Pakistani populations are also to be found in the Greater Manchester boroughs of Oldham and Rochdale, where they constituted 4.1 and 5.5 per cent of the population respectively. With greater prosperity, a recent trend has seen some of Manchester's Asian community move out of the inner city into more spacious suburbs, though British Pakistanis in Oldham and Rochdale remain less transient due to lower economic opportunities in these towns. A significant number of Manchester-based Pakistani business families have moved down the A34 road to live in the affluent Heald Green area. Academics have associated the suburban movement of Arab and Pakistani origin Muslims in Manchester with the formation of "gilded ghettoes" in the sought-after commuter suburbs of Cheshire.
The majority of Pakistanis in the UK (over 90%) are Muslims. The largest proportion of these belong to the Sunni branch of Islam, with a significant minority belonging to the Shia branch. Other notable sects include Ahmadiyya and Sufism. Pakistanis account for 38 per cent of all Muslims in England and Wales. This figure varies from a high of 71 per cent in Yorkshire and The Humber to a low of 21.5 per cent in Greater London. In England and Wales, there are around 17,000 Pakistani Christians, and slightly fewer Hindus, Sikhs, Zoroastrians (mainly Parsis) and others. The overall religious breakdown of British Pakistanis living in England and Wales in 2011 can be seen below:
|Religion||Percentage of British Pakistani population in England and Wales|
Most British Pakistanis speak English, and those who were born in the UK would consider British English to be their first language. Pakistani English is spoken by first-generation and recent immigrants. Urdu, the national language of Pakistan, is understood and spoken by many British Pakistanis at a native level, and is the fourth most commonly spoken language in the UK. Urdu is taught in some secondary schools and colleges for GCSEs and A Levels. It is also offered in madrassas along with Arabic. As the majority of Pakistanis in Britain are from Kashmir and Punjab, some common languages spoken amongst Pakistanis in Britain are Punjabi, Kashmiri, in addition to Potohari, Mirpuri and Hindko, which are closely related dialects of Punjabi. Other Punjabi dialects are also spoken in Britain, making Punjabi the third most commonly spoken language. Other significant Pakistani languages spoken include Pashto, Saraiki, Sindhi, Balochi and a minority of others. The number of speakers of such languages (as a primary language) in the United Kingdom, based on an Ethnologue report, are shown below. Some of these languages are not only spoken by British Pakistanis, but also by other groups such as British Indians, British Afghans or British Iranians; these are indicated by asterisks.
|Primary language||Speakers||Additional comments|
|Punjabi*||573,500||Also spoken in India.|
|Urdu*||400,000||Also spoken in India.|
|Memoni*||140,000||Also spoken in India.|
|Kashmiri*||115,000||Also spoken in India.|
|Southern Pashto*||87,000||Also spoken in Afghanistan.|
|Northern Pashto*||75,000||Also spoken in Afghanistan.|
|Saraiki*||30,000||Minor language in India.|
|Sindhi*||25,000||Also spoken in India.|
|Balochi*||NA||Also spoken in Iran and Afghanistan.|
Many British Pakistanis have emigrated from the UK, establishing a diaspora of their own. There are around 47,000 Britons in Pakistan, a substantial number of whom are British Pakistanis who have resettled in Pakistan. The town of Mirpur in Azad Kashmir, where the majority of British Pakistanis hail from, has a large expatriate population of resettled British Pakistanis and is dubbed "Little England". Other British Pakistanis have migrated elsewhere to Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. Dubai, UAE remains a popular destination for British Pakistani expatriates to live in, mainly because of its modern lifestyle and work opportunities, Muslim culture, and convenient location between the UK and Pakistan.
Pakistan's Independence Day is celebrated on 14 August of each year. The celebrations and events usually take place in large Pakistani-populated areas of various cities, primarily on Green Street in Newham, London, and the Curry mile in Manchester. The colourful celebrations last all day, with various festivals. Pakistani Muslims also observe the month of Ramadan and mark the Islamic festivals of Eid ul Adha and Eid ul Fitr.
The annual Birmingham Eid Mela attracts more than 20,000 British Pakistanis to celebrate the festival of Eid. The Eid Mela also welcomes Muslims of other ethnic backgrounds. Smaller Eid Melas also takes place in London, Luton, Bradford and Manchester but every Eid, most British Pakistanis prefer to commute to Birmingham, regardless of where they live in the country. The sounds of top international and UK Asian artists participate who join in the fun and help celebrate the nationwide Muslim community through its culture, music, food and sport.
Pakistani and South Asian cuisines are highly popular in Britain and have nurtured a largely successful food industry. The cuisine of Pakistan is strongly related to North Indian cuisine, coupled with an exotic blend of Arabic, Afghan, Central Asian, Persian and Turkish flavours. The Pakistani language Urdu is also a mixture of Arabic, Persian and Turkish, which shows and reflects the unity between the linguistic and culinary aspects of Pakistani culture. Kashmiri cuisine and Punjabi cuisine are well represented in Britain, reflecting the ethnic backgrounds of the Pakistanis who live in Britain.
The popular Balti dish has its roots in Birmingham, where it was believed to have been created by a Pakistani immigrant of Kashmiri origin in 1977. The dish is thought to have borrowed native tastes from the Pakistani region of Baltistan in Kashmir. In 2009, the Birmingham City Council attempted to trademark the Balti dish to give the curry Protected Geographical Status alongside items such as luxury cheese and champagne. The area of Birmingham where the Balti dish was first served is known locally as the "Balti Triangle" or "Balti Belt".
Chicken tikka masala has long been amongst the nation's favourite dishes. There has been support for a campaign in Glasgow to obtain European Union Protected Designation of Origin status for it.
Pakistanis are well represented in the British food industry. Many self-employed British Pakistanis own takeaways and restaurants. "Indian restaurants" in the North of England are almost entirely Pakistani owned. Kashmiri and Punjabi origin curry sauces are sold in British supermarkets by British Pakistani entrepreneurs such as Manchester-born Nighat Awan. Awan's Asian food business, Shere Khan, has made her one of the richest women in Britain. Mumtaz is one of the most high profile Pakistani restaurants in the UK. Its flagship establishment is in Bradford, where famous diners have included Prime Minister David Cameron and Queen Elizabeth II.[better source needed]
The expansion of the British Empire led to cricket being played overseas. Cricket is a core part of Pakistani sporting culture and is often played by British Pakistanis for leisure and recreation. Usman Afzaal, Kabir Ali, Owais Shah, Sajid Mahmood, Adil Rashid, Amjad Khan, Ajmal Shahzad and Moeen Ali have played cricket for England. Similarly, Asim Butt, Omer Hussain, Majid Haq, Qasim Sheikh and Moneeb Iqbal have represented Scotland. There are several other British Pakistanis who play English county cricket. The Pakistan national cricket team enjoys a substantial following among British Pakistanis.
Football is also widely followed and played by many young British Pakistanis (see British Asians in association football). Many players in the Pakistan national football team are British-born Pakistanis who became eligible to represent the country due to their Pakistani heritage. Zesh Rehman is a football defender who briefly played for Fulham F.C., becoming the first British Asian to play in the Premier League, before also playing for the English national U-18, U-19 and U-20 football teams until eventually opting for Pakistan. Other notable British Pakistani footballers include Adnan Ahmed, Amjad Iqbal, Atif Bashir, Iltaf Ahmed, Kashif Siddiqi, Reis Ashraf, Shabir Khan and Usman Gondal. Hockey and polo are commonly played in Pakistan, with the former being a national sport, but these sports are not as popular among British Pakistanis, possibly due to the urban lifestyles which the majority of them embrace. Imran Sherwani was a hockey player of Pakistani descent who played for the English and Great Britain national field hockey teams.
Adam Khan is a race car driver from Bridlington, Yorkshire. He represents Pakistan in the A1 Grand Prix series. Khan is currently the demonstration driver for the Renault F1 racing team. Ikram Butt was the first South Asian to play international rugby for England in 1995. He is the founder of the British Asian Rugby Association and the British Pakistani rugby league team. Amir Khan is the most famous British Pakistani boxer. He is the current WBA World light welterweight champion and 2004 Summer Olympics silver medalist. Matthew Syed was a table tennis international, and the English number one for many years. Lianna Swan is a swimmer who has represented Pakistan in several events.
Music and performing arts
Ethnicity and cultural assimilation
A report conducted by The University of Essex found that British Pakistanis identify with 'Britishness' more than any other Britons. The study is one of several recent studies that have found that Pakistanis in Britain express a strong sense of belonging in Britain. The report showed that 90% of Pakistanis feel a strong sense of belonging in Britain compared to 84% of white Britons. English Pakistanis tend to identify much more with the United Kingdom than with England, with 63% describing themselves in a Policy Exchange survey as exclusively "British" and not "English" in terms of nationality, and only 15% saying they were solely English.
Around 70% of British Pakistanis can trace their origins to the city of Mirpur and its surrounding areas such as Bagh, Muzaffarabad, Rawalakot, Neelum, Bhimber and Kotli in Azad Kashmir, northeastern Pakistan. Mirpuri and Potohari, spoken natively by Mirpuri Kashmiri immigrants, figure among the most commonly spoken languages of the British Pakistani community after English. The first generation migrant Mirpuris were not highly educated, and being from rural settlements, had little or no experience of urban living in Pakistan. Migration from Mirpur and its adjacent areas started soon after the second world war as the majority of the male population of this area and the Potohar region worked in the British armed forces, as well as to fill labour shortages in industry. But the mass migration phenomenon accelerated in the 1960s, when, for improving water supply, the Mangla Dam project was built in the area, flooding the surrounding farmlands. Up to 5,000 people from Mirpur (five percent of the displaced) resettled in Britain. The British contractor undertaking the project provided assistance to the displaced Kashmiris. More Mirpuri Kashmiris joined their relatives in Britain after availing government compensation and liberal migration policies. Cities with large concentration of Kashmiris are Manchester, Bradford, Birmingham, Leeds and Luton. Today, there are an estimated 700,000 Kashmiris residing in the UK.
Mirpur was considered to be a conservative district in the 1960s, and life in its rural villages like most of the South Asian countries, was dominated by rigid hierarchies. Economic boom brought dramatic changes to the area after its residents started migrating to Europe, especially the UK, bolstering remittances. Families in Pakistan tend to be close knit and the guiding influence behind everything from marriage to business. These Asian cultural values have clashed with British ones, which tend to be more free thinking and independent. Kashmiri migrants lived in some of the most segregated areas of Britain, and their children attended the most segregated schools. The British government has made attempts to improve community cohesion by nurturing a sense of shared or collective national identity. One programme designed to encourage greater social mixing includes the busing of students of Pakistani origin to "white schools" in an attempt to bridge the divide between the British Pakistani and white British ethnic groups.
The Mirpuri community has made significant economic progress over the years. In almost all the major UK cities there is a sizeable Mirpuri business community which owns take aways, restaurants, shops and taxi bases to small and medium-sized manufacturing units, legal and financial firms. On the other hand, after the economic hardships faced by the first generation Mirpuri Kashmiri immigrants, their third and fourth generations are moving fast in the new fields of science, technology, arts and social sciences with higher number of youth taking admissions in different universities. The Mirpuri Kashmiri expatriate community has made notable progress in UK politics and a sizeable number of MPs, councillors, lord mayors and deputy mayors are representing the community in different constituencies. The 2005 Kashmir earthquake caused widespread losses in Azad Kashmir, affecting many British Pakistanis.
Many Kashmiris have named their businesses after the Pakistani region. One of the largest companies incorporating such a name is Kashmir Crown Bakeries, which is a food making business based in Bradford. The company is a major local employer and is the largest Asian food manufacturer in Europe. The owner, Mohammed Saleem, claims that combining traditional Kashmiri baking methods with vocational British training has given his baking business a multi-million pound turnover.
Punjabis make up the second largest sub-group of British Pakistanis, estimated to make up a third of that group. With an equally large number from Indian Punjab, two-thirds of all British Asians are of Punjabi descent, and they are the largest Punjabi community outside of South Asia, resulting in Punjabi being the third most commonly spoken language in the UK.
People who came from the Punjab area have integrated much more easily into British society because the Punjab is a mostly prosperous part of Pakistan. Early Punjabi immigrants to Britain tended to have more higher education credentials and found it easier to assimilate because many already had a basic knowledge of the English language (speaking Pakistani English). Research by Teesside University has found that the British Punjabi community of late has become one of the most highly educated and economically successful ethnic minorities in the UK.
Most Pakistani Punjabis living in the UK can trace their roots to the irrigated farms and urban conurbations of northern and central Punjab, including Jhelum, Faisalabad, Sahiwal, Jhang, Toba Tek Singh, Gujar Khan, Attock, Bewal, Chiniot, Chakwal, Sui Cheemian, Sargodha, Gujrat, Sialkot and Gujranwala while more recent immigrants have also arrived from large cities such as Lahore, urban Faisalabad, Islamabad-Rawalpindi and Multan. Additionally, a large number of Muslim Punjabis entered the UK from Kenya and Uganda in the 1970s. These workers were brought to Africa by British colonialists, therefore most held British passports. British Punjabis are commonly found in the south of England, the Midlands, and the major cities in the north (as opposed to former mill towns in Lancashire and Yorkshire).
Pakistani Pashtuns in the United Kingdom originate from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA regions of northwestern Pakistan. A number of estimates exist on the Pashtun population in the UK. Ethnologue estimates that there are up to 87,000 native Pashto speakers in the UK; this figure also includes Afghan immigrants belonging to the Pashtun ethnicity. Another report shows that there are over 100,000 Pashtuns in Britain, making them the largest Pashtun community in Europe. Major Pashtun settlement in the United Kingdom can be dated over the course of the past five decades. There is a British Pashtun Council which has been formed by the Pashtun community in the UK. British Pashtuns have continued to maintain ties with Pakistan over the years, taking keen interest in political and socioeconomic developments in northwestern Pakistan.
There is a sizable Baloch community in the UK, originating from the Balochistan province of southwestern Pakistan and neighbouring regions. There are many Baloch associations and groups active in the UK, including the Baloch Students and Youth Association (BSYA), Baloch Cultural Society, Baloch Human Rights Council (UK) and others. Some Baloch political leaders and workers are based in the UK, where they found exile.
There are over 400,000 Urdu-speakers in the UK, a substantial number of whom are Muhajirs. There is a sizable Pakistani Hazara community in the UK, concentrated particularly in Milton Keynes, northeastern London, Southampton and Birmingham. A Persian-speaking community originating from central Afghanistan, they migrated to the UK from Quetta and its surroundings, which is historically home to the large Hazara population in Pakistan.
British Pakistanis, male and female, on average claim to have had only one sexual partner. The average British Pakistani male claims to have lost his virginity at the age of 20, the average female at 22, giving an average age of 21. 3.2 per cent of Pakistani males report that they have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI), compared to 3.6 per cent of Pakistani females. Cultural norms regarding issues such as chastity and marriage have resulted in British Pakistanis having a substantially older age for first intercourse, lower number of partners, and lower STI rates than the national average.
Endogamy and kinship
Cousin marriages or marriages within the same tribe and clan are common in some parts of South Asia, including rural areas of Pakistan. A major motivation is to preserve patrilineal tribal identity. The tribes to which British Pakistanis belong include Jats, Gujjars, Awans, Arains, Rajputs and several others, all of whom are spread throughout Pakistan and north India. As a result, there are some common genealogical origins within these tribes. Some Kashmiri British Pakistanis view cousin or in-tribe marriages as a way of preserving this ancient tribal tradition and maintaining a sense of brotherhood. By extension, most British Pakistanis prefer to marry within their own ethnic group, with a minority having intermarried into other groups. It is estimated that six in ten British Pakistanis marry a spouse from Pakistan.
A study published in 1988 in the Journal of Medical Genetics, which looked specifically at two hospitals in West Yorkshire, found that the rate of consanguineous marriage was 55 per cent and rising, compared to a worldwide rate of 29 per cent. However, representatives of constituencies where there are high Pakistani populations say that consanguineous marriages amongst British Pakistanis are now decreasing in number, partly because of public health initiatives.
According to the British Home Office, in 2000 more than half the cases of forced marriage investigated involved families of Pakistani origin, followed by Bangladeshis and Indians. The Home Office estimates that 85 per cent of the victims of forced marriages are women aged 15–24, 90 per cent are Muslim, and 90 per cent are of Pakistani or Bangladeshi heritage. 60 per cent of forced marriages by Pakistani families are linked to the small Kashmiri towns of Bhimber and Kotli and the Kashmiri city of Mirpur.
Data from the 2011 census shows that British Pakistanis are one of the least qualified major groups with 28% having no qualifications, compared to 24% of White British people. Additionally, 25% of British Pakistanis hold a degree, in comparison to 26% of White British people. In 1991, the figures for both groups holding a degree were 7% and 13% respectively.
General Certificate of Secondary education
Pakistani pupils perform similar to the national average at GCSE level. For example, in 2013, 83.6% of British Pakistani students achieved five or more GCSEs at A*-C grades. This figure was slightly higher than the national average of 82.9%. The British Pakistani GCSE pass rates does not distinguish the differences in achievement around the country; regional GCSE achievements by ethnicity would be useful because Pakistani pupils have greater regional fluctuations than other groups. For example, in 2004, Pakistani pupils from London were achieving above the regional and UK national averages. 50.2 per cent of Pakistani boys and 63.3 per cent of Pakistani girls from London achieved five or more A*-C grades, compared to the national averages of 46.8 per cent for boys and 57 per cent for girls. This is a result of differences in material circumstances, social class, and migration histories of the different communities which make up British Pakistanis.
In 2012, 46.5% of Pakistani students who were eligible for free school meals achieved five or more A*-C GCSE grades including English and Maths. This figure is 10.2% higher than the national average of 36.3%.
|Year||Pakistani pupils||All pupils||Attainment gap||References|
In 2012, British Pakistani students constituted 3.3% of accepted applicants of universities, an increase from 2.5% in 2007. University applicants from regions of predominantly non-Kashmiri settlement, such as Greater London and the South East, are over represented, Greater London by 7.5 per cent and the South East by 4.6 per cent. In contrast, they are under represented by 4.9 per cent in the West Midlands, by 4.4 per cent in the East of England and by 4.3 per cent in Yorkshire and Humber. There is a slight over representation in other regions of between 0.2 per cent to 0.6 per cent. 51% of British Pakistanis choose to continue their studies at the university level. This is higher than the rate for White (38%), Black Caribbean (41%), Mixed (40%), and lower than the rate for Indians (75%) and Bangladeshis (53%). Science and mathematics are the most popular subjects at A level and degree level with the youngest generation of British Pakistanis, as they begin to establish themselves within the field.
In addition, there are over 10,000 Pakistani international students who enroll and study at British universities and educational institutions each year. There are numerous student and cultural associations formed by Pakistani pupils studying at British universities. The Oxford University Pakistan Society is a prominent example of such an association.
Since 2008, thousands of British Pakistani graduates in Britain have been forced to work for low wages due to the rising unemployment and recession in the country. The majority of graduates attended post-1992 universities and graduated without experience. More than 20,000 British Pakistani students who graduated in 2012 were still without jobs six months after graduating. Moreover, an increasing number of university graduates are opting for low-paying minimum wage positions. In 2011 alone, some 10,270 graduates found work as labourers, couriers, office juniors, hospital porters, waiters, bar staff, cleaners, road sweepers and school dinner servers. This was almost double the number in 2008 before the UK recession struck.
Urdu courses are available in the UK and can be studied at GCSE and A level. Urdu degrees are offered in some British universities and institutes, while several others are also hoping to offer courses in Urdu, open to established speakers as well as beginners, in the future. The Punjabi language is also offered at GCSE and A Level, and taught as a course by two universities: SOAS and King's College London. Pashto is presently taught at SOAS and King's College London as well.
Location has had a great impact on the success of British Pakistanis. The existence of a North-South divide leaves those in the north of England economically depressed, although there is a small concentration of more highly educated Pakistanis living in the suburbs of Greater Manchester and the West Midlands, as some Pakistani immigrants have taken advantage of the trading opportunities and entrepreneurial environment which exist in major UK cities. But material deprivation and under-performing schools of the inner city have impeded social mobility for many Kashmiris. British Pakistanis based in large cities have found making the transition into the professional middle class easier than those based in peripheral towns. This is due to the fact that cities like Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Glasgow and Oxford have provided a more economically encouraging environment than the small towns in Lancashire and Yorkshire. On the other hand, the decline in the British textile boom brought about economic disparities for Pakistanis who worked and settled in the smaller mill towns following the 1960s, with properties failing to appreciate enough and incomes having shrunk.
Most of the initial funds for entrepreneurial activities were historically collected by workers in food processing and clothing factories. The funds were often given a boost by wives saving "pin money" and interest-free loans which were exchanged between fellow migrants. By the 1980s, British Pakistanis began dominating the ethnic and halal food businesses, Indian restaurants, Asian fabric shops, and travel agencies. Other Pakistanis secured ownership of textile manufacturing or wholesale businesses and took advantage of cheap family labour. The once multi-million pound company Joe Bloggs has such an origin. Clothing imports from Southeast Asia began to affect the financial success of these mill-owning Pakistanis in the 1990s. However, some Pakistani families based in the major cities managed to buck this trend by selling or renting out units in their former factories.
In the housing rental market, Pakistani landlords first rented out rooms to incoming migrants, who were mostly Pakistani themselves. As these renters settled in Britain and prospered to the point where they could afford to buy their own homes, non-Asian university students became the main potential customers to these landlords. By 2000, several British Pakistanis had established low-cost rental properties throughout England. Aneel Mussarat is an example of a property millionaire. His company, MCR Property Group, specialises in renting apartments to university students in Manchester and Liverpool.
British Pakistanis are most likely to live in owner-occupied Victorian terraced houses of the inner city. In the increasing suburban movement amongst Pakistanis living in Britain, this trend is most conspicuous among children of Pakistani immigrants. Pakistanis tend to place a strong emphasis on owning their own home and have one of the highest rates of home ownership in the UK at 73 per cent, slightly higher than that of the white British population.
Many first generation British Pakistanis have invested in second homes or holiday homes in Pakistan. They have purchased houses next to their villages and sometimes even in more expensive cities, such as Islamabad and Lahore. Upon reaching the retirement age, a small number hand over their houses in Britain to their offspring and settle in their second homes in Pakistan. This relocation multiplies the value of their British state pensions. Investing savings in Pakistan has limited the funding available for investing in their UK businesses. In comparison, other migrant groups, such as South Asian migrants from East Africa, have benefited from investing only in Britain.
Statistics from the 2001 census show that Pakistani communities in England, particularly in the North and the Midlands, are severely affected by poverty, unemployment and social exclusion, and that they are much less likely to be employed in managerial and professional occupations. Consequently, many fall within the welfare net. Conversely, there were around 100 British Pakistani millionaires in 2001, representing a variety of industries. Sir Anwar Pervez, owner of one of the UK's largest companies, the Bestway group, is the richest British Pakistani with assets exceeding £1.5 billion. Statistics compiled by the Department for Education and Skills show that almost 40 per cent of Pakistani students in secondary schools are eligible for free school meals, compared to a national average of 15 per cent. A study by Joseph Rowntree Foundation in 2007 found that Pakistani Britons have the second highest relative poverty rates in Britain, ahead only of Bangladeshis. Their study found the following:
|Ethnic group||Percentage in poverty|
Despite high poverty rates, a report for the national equality panel found that British Pakistani households have an estimated median total wealth of £97,000, placing them in third place out of the major ethnic groups in the UK. The statistics show the following:
|Ethnic group||Median total wealth|
In 2001, around 3,500 British Pakistanis were in the highest ranking business and professional occupations, compared to 1,000 Bangladeshis and 10,000 Indians. Keeping in mind the lower class resources of Kashmiris, the rates of entry of non-Kashmiri Pakistanis into managerial or professional occupations turns out to be similar to that of British Indians. As per General Medical Council statistics for February 2015, 11,104 doctors of Pakistani ethnicity were registered in the UK. A further 8,000 dentists currently[when?] work for the NHS. Pakistani origin doctors make up 4.2 percent of all doctors in the UK and Pakistan is one of the largest source countries of foreign young doctors in the UK.
Research by the Office for National Statistics shows that British Pakistanis are far more likely to be self-employed than any other ethnic group. Pakistani men are most likely to work in the transport and logistics industry, most as cab drivers and taxi drivers. In 2004, 69 per cent of working-age British Pakistani women were economically inactive, bettering only British Bangladeshi women, and of those who were economically active, 20 per cent were unemployed. Amongst employed Pakistani women, many work as packers, bottlers, canners, fillers, or sewing machinists. Pakistani women have recently begun to surge into the labour market.
The majority of British Pakistanis are considered to be working or middle class. According to the 2001 Census, 13.8 per cent of Pakistanis living in Great Britain were in managerial or professional occupations, 14 per cent in intermediate occupations, and 23.3 in routine or manual occupations. The remainder were long-term unemployed, students, or not classified due to lack of data. Whilst British Pakistanis living in the Midlands and the North are particularly more likely to be unemployed or suffer from social exclusion, some Pakistani communities in London and the south-east are said to be "fairly prosperous". It was estimated that, in 2001, around 45 per cent of British Pakistanis living in both inner and outer London were middle class.
Notable films that depict the lives of British Pakistanis include My Beautiful Laundrette, which received a BAFTA award nomination, and the popular East is East. The Infidel looked at a British Pakistani family living in East London. The Infidel depicted religious issues and the identity crisis facing a young member of the family. The film Four Lions also looked at issues of religion and extremism. It followed British Pakistanis living in Sheffield in the North of England. Pakistani Lollywood films have been screened in British cinemas. Indian Bollywood films are also shown in British cinemas and are popular with many second generation British Pakistanis and British Asians. The sequel to East is East, called West is West was released in the UK on 25 February 2011. Citizen Khan is a sitcom developed by Adil Ray which is based on a British Pakistani family in Sparkhill, Birmingham, dubbed the "capital of British Pakistan."
BBC has news services in Urdu and Pashto. In 2005, the BBC showed an evening of programmes under the title "Pakistani, Actually". The programmes offered an insight into the lives of Pakistanis living in Britain and some of the issues faced by the community. The executive producer of the series said, "These documentaries provide just a snapshot of contemporary life among British Pakistanis – a community who are often misunderstood, neglected or stereotyped."
The Pakistani channels of GEO TV, ARY Digital and many others are available to watch on subscription. These channels are based in Pakistan and cater to the Pakistani diaspora, as well as anyone of South Asian origin. They feature news, sports and entertainment, with some channels broadcast in Urdu/Hindi.
Mishal Husain is a newsreader and presenter for the BBC of Pakistani descent. Saira Khan hosts the BBC children's programme Beat the Boss. Anita Anand is a Hindu Pakistani and another BBC presenter and journalist. Martin Bashir is a Christian Pakistani who previously worked for ITV before later moving to work for the American Broadcasting Company.
The BBC Asian Network is a radio station available across the entire UK and is aimed at Britons of South Asian origin under 35 years of age. Apart from this popular station, there are many other national radio stations for or run by the British Pakistani community, including Sunrise and Kismat Radios of London. Regional British Pakistani stations include Asian Sound of Manchester, Radio XL and Apni Awaz of Birmingham and Sunrise Radio Yorkshire which based in Bradford. These radio stations generally run programmes in a variety of South Asian languages.
A large proportion of newspaper vendors and newsagents in Britain are run by Indian and Pakistani families. The fact that Pakistanis have traditionally owned newsagents or corner shops is well known in Britain and has led to the term "Paki shop". This foothold in the retail sector has on one occasion been influential for those of the Muslim faith, as the tabloid newspaper The Daily Star once planned to publish a spoof page that mocked Sharia law. The special feature, which was to include censored "Burka Babes" and "a free beard for every bomber", was eventually pulled from publication partially because staff at the Daily Star discovered that "Many of the newsagents who sell the paper are of Pakistani origin and would have been offended".
The Pakistani newspaper the Daily Jang has the largest circulation of any daily Urdu-language newspaper in the world. It is sold at several Pakistani newsagents and grocery stores across the UK. Urdu newspapers, books and other periodical publications are available in libraries which have a dedicated Asian languages service. Examples of British-based newspapers written in English include the Asian News (published by Trinity Mirror) and the Eastern Eye. These are free weekly newspapers aimed at all British Asians. British Pakistanis involved in print media include Sarfraz Manzoor, who is a regular columnist for The Guardian, one of the largest and most popular newspaper groups in the UK. Anila Baig is a feature writer at The Sun, the biggest-selling newspaper in the UK.
British Pakistanis are well represented in politics at all levels. There are seven British Pakistanis MPs in the House of Commons, including Shadow Secretary of State for Justice Sadiq Khan and Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Sajid Javid, described by The Guardian as a 'rising star' in the Tory party. The Guardian stated that "The treasury minister is highly regarded on the right and would be the Tories' first Muslim leader." Whereas The Independent have stated that Javid could become the next Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Notable British Pakistani's in the House of Lords include Minister for Faith and Communities and former Chairman of the Conservative Party Sayeeda Warsi, Nazir Ahmed, notable for many controversies. and Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon.
In 2007, 257 British Pakistanis were serving as elected councillors or mayors in Britain. British Pakistanis make up a sizeable proportion of British voters and are known to make a difference in elections, both local and national. They are much more active in the voting process, with 67 per cent voting in the last general elections of 2005, compared to just over 60 per cent for the whole country.
Apart from their involvement in domestic politics, the British Pakistani community also maintains keen focus on the politics of Pakistan and has served as an important soft power prerogative in historical, cultural, economic and bilateral relations between Pakistan and the United Kingdom. Major Pakistani political parties such as the Pakistan Muslim League (N), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Pakistan Peoples Party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement and others have political chapters and support in the UK.
The Labour Party has traditionally been the natural choice for many British Pakistanis. A 2005 poll carried out by ICM showed that 40 per cent of British Pakistanis intended to vote for Labour, compared to 5 per cent for the Conservative Party and 21 per cent for the Liberal Democrats. The Labour Party are also said to be more dependent on votes from British Pakistanis than the Conservative Party. However, support for Labour has fallen in recent times because of party's decision to take part in the Iraq War. High profile British Pakistani politicians within the Labour Party include Shahid Malik and Lord Nazir Ahmed, who became the first Muslim life peer in 1998. Sadiq Khan became the first Muslim cabinet minister in June 2009, after being invited to accept the post by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
The Conservative Party have become increasingly popular with many affluent British Pakistanis. The Conservative Friends of Pakistan is an organisation which aims to develop and promote the relationship between the Conservative Party, the British Pakistani community and Pakistan. David Cameron opened a new gym aimed at British Pakistanis in Bolton after being invited by Amir Khan in 2009. Cameron also appointed Tariq Ahmad, Baron Ahmad of Wimbledon, a Kashmiri-born politician, a life peerage. Multi-millionaire Sir Anwar Pervez, who claims to have been born Conservative, has donated large sums to the party. Sir Anwar's donations have entitled him to become a member of the influential Conservative Leader's Group. Shortly after becoming the Conservative Party leader, Cameron spent two days living with a British Pakistani family in Birmingham. He said that the experience taught him about the challenges of cohesion and integration.
Sajjad Karim is a Member of the European Parliament. He represents North West England through the Conservative Party. In 2005, Karim became the founding Chairman of the European Parliament Friends of Pakistan Group. He is also a member of the Friends of India and Friends of Bangladesh groups. Rehman Chishti became the new Conservative Party MP for Gillingham and Rainham. Sayeeda Warsi was promoted to Chairman of the Conservative Party by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom shortly after the UK General Election, 2010. Warsi was the shadow minister for community cohesion when the Conservatives were in opposition. She is the first Muslim woman to serve in a British cabinet. Both of Warsi's grandfathers served with the British Army in the Second World War.
In the 2003 Scottish Parliament elections, Scottish Pakistani voters supported the Scottish National Party (SNP) more than the average Scottish voter. The SNP is a centre-left civil nationalist party that campaigns for the independence of Scotland from the United Kingdom. SNP candidate Bashir Ahmad was elected to the Scottish Parliament to represent Glasgow at the 2007 election, becoming the first Member of the Scottish Parliament to be elected with a Scottish Asian background.
Salma Yaqoob is the former leader of the left-wing, anti-Zionist Respect Party. The small party has seen success in areas such as Sparkbrook in Birmingham and Newham in London, where there are large Pakistani populations. Qassim Afzal is the most senior Liberal Democrat politician of Pakistani origin. He has accompanied the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to meetings with Pakistan's President, Asif Ali Zardari.
Allegations of extremism
Gareth Price, head of the Asia Program at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London stated that British Pakistanis are more likely to be radicalised as with other Muslim communities in Britain. In response to these concerns, the government has launched a "prevent strategy" which aims to combat radicalisation within British Pakistani communities. The initiative has given grants and financial support to community projects. £53m has been spent on the strategy between 2007 and 2010.
British Pakistanis were eight times more likely to be victims of a racist attack than white people in 1996. The chances of a Pakistani being racially attacked in a year is more than 4 per cent – the highest rate in the country, along with British Bangladeshis – though this has come down from 8 per cent a year in 1996. The term "Paki" is often used as a racist slur to describe Pakistanis and can also be directed towards non-Pakistani South Asians. There have been some attempts by the youngest generation of British Pakistanis to reclaim the word and use it in a non-offensive way to refer to themselves, though this remains controversial.
In 2001 riots occurred in Bradford. Two reasons given for the riots were social deprivation and the actions of extreme right wing groups such as the National Front (NF). The Anti-Nazi League held a counter protest to a proposed march by the NF leading to clashes between police and the local Asian population, with the majority of those being involved being of Pakistani descent.
- British Mirpuri community
- Pakistani community of London
- Overseas Pakistani
- British Asian
- Afghans in the United Kingdom
- List of British Muslims
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