Norwegians with Pakistani background

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Pakistani Norwegian

DeeyahKhan.jpg Adil Khan.jpg Hadia Tajik norwegian politician.jpg Afshan Rafiq.jpg Akhtar Chaudhry.jpg Abid Q. Raja 0002.jpg

Deeyah Khan, Adil Khan, Hadia Tajik, Afshan Rafiq, Akhtar Chaudhry, Abid Raja
Total population
(42 000
0.8% of the Norwegian population)
Regions with significant populations
Oslo, Lørenskog, Skedsmo, Drammen, Moss, Rælingen, Nittedal
Norwegian, English, Urdu, Punjabi, Saraiki, Sindhi, Pushto, Balochi,
Islam (mostly)
Related ethnic groups
Overseas Pakistani

Pakistani Norwegians are Norwegians of Pakistani descent. First generation Pakistani Norwegians, who migrate from Pakistan, are distinguished from the mainstream in several demographic aspects, while second-generation Pakistani Norwegians, who are born in Norway, are well established in Norway and have gone on to become professionals and politicians. Pakistani Norwegians have strong presence in higher education, media, and politics.

History in Norway[edit]

The initial first generation Pakistani Norwegians arrived in Norway as guest workers during the 1970s, under Norway's then-liberal immigration scheme which allowed for unskilled "guest workers" to temporarily settle in Norway.[1] Most of these immigrants were young men that came from areas surrounding the town of Kharian, in Pakistan's Punjab province, though later waves included a high number of workers from Lahore, Pakistan's second largest city.[2] The law was later amended to allow for already arrived guest workers to permanently settle in Norway. Following stricter immigration laws passed in 1976, Pakistan immigration to Norway shifted from the arrival of new immigrants, to family reunifications, in which Pakistani Norwegians could apply for their close relatives and/or spouses to immigrate to Norway.

Lifestyle and integrating into Norwegian society[edit]

Children of Pakistani immigrants sometimes struggle when trying to be loyal to both their family's traditional Islamic culture and the one of liberal Scandinavia, although there is a strong tendency to favour Norwegian traditions over Pakistani ones, or even combining the two into a sort of creole culture. Second generation Pakistani Norwegians are sometimes told that they are different from Norwegians, although they feel at home only in Norway, while at home they may also be pressured by their parents to not become "too Norwegian."[2]

In spite of the aforementioned issues, the Pakistani Norwegian community as a whole is generally considered to be well-integrated into Norwegian culture.[citation needed] Riffat Bashir, Imam of Oslo's largest mosque often invites Norwegian church leaders and non-Muslim citizens to his mosque in order to partake in inter-faith and inter-ethnic dialogue.[1]

Family-related chain migration marriage has been common among Pakistani Norwegians, but has been in rapid decline since the year 2000. A decreasing number of second generation Pakistani Norwegians, i.e. Pakistani Norwegians born in Norway, obtain spouses from abroad[3]: In 2010, 81 persons migrated to Norway by marrying a second-generation Pakistani Norwegian. The number of unmarried second-generation Pakistani Norwegians above 17 years increased "from 1 100 in 1998 to 3 700 in 2010".[3] The same trend is seen in the age group 18 to 23 years. In 2012, 24 Pakistanis migrated to Norway by marrying a second-generation Pakistani Norwegian aged 18-23.[4] During the same period, the number of unmarried second-generation Pakistani Norwegians in the same age group increased "from 1,000 in 1998 to 2,700 in 2012".[4]

In 2014, 11 Pakistani spouses migrated to Norway by marrying a second-generation Pakistani Norwegians, aged 18-23.[5] And in 2015, only 3 Pakistani spouses migrated to Norway in connection with marrying a second-generation Pakistani Norwegians, from the age group 18-23 years.[6]

Also fewer and fewer first-generation Pakistani Norwegians, ie Pakistani immigrants in Norway, obtain spouses from abroad.[4] In 2012, 10 Pakistani immigrants in Norway, aged 18-23, married spouses from Pakistan, even though "the number of unmarried immigrants from Pakistan residing in Norway has increased somewhat" in the period 1998 to 2012.[4]

Among young second-generation Pakistani Norwegians, it is now "almost as unusual to be married at the beginning of their twenties" as "it is generally among young people in Norway."[4]

This development can be explained by the fact that Pakistani Norwegians today have more potential marriage partners to choose among in Norway, and with the increasing participation of Pakistani Norwegians in higher education.[4].

Second-generation Pakistani-Norwegian women give in average birth to 1,95 children each, the same average as Norwegian women in general.[7]

According to statistics from 2009 Pakistani Norwegians generally had a spouse of Pakistani ancestry. The percentage of males marrying outside their ethnic group were slightly higher than among the females. However more than 1000 children were registered in 2008 to have one Pakistani parent and one with Norwegian background. Thus, there must be more couples of mixed ethnicity having children than the number of marriages indicates.[8]


The Pakistani Norwegian community does not vote as a bloc for any particular party in Norway. Rather, there is a diversity of political beliefs, demonstrated by support for a variety of parties. Many Pakistani Norwegian politicians have been successful in their political campaigns. Hadia Tajik who was born in Norway of Pakistani parents became minister of culture in 2012. She is also elected to the parliament from Oslo. Akhtar Chaudhry is a Member and one of several vice-presidents of Stortinget (Norway's Parliament) for Sosialistisk Venstreparti ("Socialist Left Party"). He migrated to Norway from Pakistan in 1982 and was the former head of the Pakistan Norwegian Welfare Organization.

Afshan Rafiq is a former member of Stortinget for Høyre (Conservative Party of Norway). She still remains a deputy representative for the party. Abid Raja is a deputy representative to the parliament for Venstre.

Many Pakistani Norwegians are also involved in lower-level politics as part of regional councils and city councils. They have been particularly well represented in the Oslo city council, where they made up 10% of the council from 2003 to 2007.[9]

Media & Entertainment[edit]

Deeyah is the first mainstream recording artist of Pakistani heritage in Norway and is the first and only female World music producer of Norwegian Pakistani descent. Since 2006/07, she completely stopped performing as an artist, instead turning her focus to producing and composing music. Deeyah has produced Listen To The Banned,[10] an internationally acclaimed album, followed by Nordic Woman.[11] Deeyah is also known for her outspoken activism for women's rights, peace and freedom of expression. She has directed and produced a documentary film about honour killings named Banaz a Love Story.[12] The film received an Emmy Award, a Peabody Award and a Best Norwegian Documentary award at the Bergen International Film Festival. Deeyah has been awarded the 2012 Ossietzky prize which is Norwegian PEN´s prize for outstanding achievements within the field of freedom of expression[13] In 2016 Khan became the inaugural UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Artistic Freedom and Creativity.

Adil Khan is a theatre and screen actor in Norway. He has played the lead role in a range of Norwegian productions from the hit series Taxi to The Jungle Book, West Side Story to @lice. He is also the judge on Norske Talenter.

Attia Bano Qamar is the first girl from Oslo, Norway to represent Pakistan in the Miss Pakistan World pageant and went on to represent Pakistan in international pageants, Miss Globe and Queen of the World.

Mah-Rukh Ali is the first news anchor of foreign descent working for Norway's state broadcasting network, the NRK - although another Pakistani Norwegian, Noman Mubashir, is the first personality of foreign descent on Norwegian TV and hosted the multi-ethnic programme, Migrapolis, before hosting a Saturday night entertainment show. Zahid Ali, another Pakistani Norwegian, joined the ranks of minorities on Norwegian television by participating in the comedy program Rikets Røst on TV2.

Ulrik Imtiaz Rolfsen is a Pakistani Norwegian who directed three movies, including Izzat, a story which follows Wasim and his youth gang years in the 1980s to his young adult years in the 1990s. The film is set in Oslo and deals with the double standards in a tough Pakistani Norwegian gang environment. It relates directly to the difficulty of being raised as a Muslim immigrant in western countries. The word Izzat means honour in Urdu. A number of Pakistani Norwegians were featured in this film, and a small portion was filmed in Lahore, Pakistan.


Almost 10% of the medical students in Oslo are of Pakistani heritage.[14] The figure is significant as Pakistani Norwegians only constitute 3.67% of Oslo's population. The proportion of Pakistani Norwegians, born and raised in Norway, in higher education at university level is higher than the Norwegian national average.[15] Amongst Pakistani Norwegians born and raised in Pakistan the share is 17%, the same as the average for Norwegian immigrants in general.[16]

Higher social pressure within the Pakistani Norwegian community push children into prestigious professions. Professions popular among Pakistani Norwegians has been dubbed collectively as ALI-professions, with ALI being an acronym for the Norwegian words for lawyer, doctor and engineer. There is supposedly a noticeable slow shift where Pakistani Norwegians children are making educational choices regarded as less prestigious among Pakistanis.[17]

Internationally renowned researchers are, among others, Farrukh Abbas Chaudhry (medicine)[18][19] and Shah Nawaz (petroleum chemistry),[20][21] and the physicist Kalbe Razi Naqvi.[22]

Notable Pakistani Norwegians[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Bevanger, Lars (2004-09-23). "South Asia | Oslo's trendy Pakistani hotspot". BBC News. Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  2. ^ a b "a multi-ethnic country". Norway. Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  3. ^ a b Henriksen, Kristin (13 April 2012). "Mindre vanlig med ekteskapsinnvandring til barn av innvandrere". Statistisk sentralbyrå. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Sandnes, Toril og Henriksen, Kristin (2014). "Familieinnvandring og ekteskapsmønster 1990-2012". Statistisk sentralbyrå/Rapporter. Statistisk sentralbyrå. 36 (11). ISBN 978-82-537-8902-6. 
  5. ^ Sandnes, Toril (19 October 2015). "Familieinnvandring til Norge 1990-2014: Flere familiegjenforeninger enn nye ekteskap". Statistisk sentralbyrå. 
  6. ^ Dzamarija, Minja Tea og Sandnes, Toril (2016). "Familieinnvandring og ekteskapsmønster 1990-2015". Statistisk sentralbyrå/Rapporter. Statistisk sentralbyrå. 38 (39). ISBN 978-82-537-9447-1. 
  7. ^ Saugestad, Kjetil (10 December 2011). "Feil eller fakta om islam". Norsk rikskringkasting. 
  8. ^ Lars Østby (2013-10-01). "Norway's population groups of developing countries' origin - Change and integration". Statistisk sentralbyrå. Retrieved 2017-07-26. 
  9. ^ Ønsker flere pakistanere i Norge VG, September 9, 2006
  10. ^ Howard Male (2010-12-12). "Album: Various artists, Listen to the Banned (Freemuse)". Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  11. ^ "Deeyah Presents Nordic Woman". Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  12. ^ Tracy McVeigh (2012-09-22). "'They're following me': chilling words of girl who was 'honour killing' victim". Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  13. ^ "Deeyah awarded Ossietzky Prize by Norwegian PEN". 2012-11-12. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  14. ^ "Dagens Medisin: - Studenter med holdninger". Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  15. ^ Aftenposten: Ali inntar akademia
  16. ^ Integrerings- og mangfoldsdirektoratet: Kunnskapsbasen (Google translation)
  17. ^ Anders Veberg (2016-02-17). "Norsk-pakistanske barn presses til å bli leger og advokater". Aftenposten. Retrieved 2017-07-24. 
  18. ^ Aftenposten: Fikk gull - og kongevisitt Archived October 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ The Chaudhry group at the Biotechnology Centre of Oslo Archived December 11, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  20. ^ "E24: Norskpakistansk forsker på eksklusiv lederliste". Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  21. ^ "The Europe 500: Leaders for the New Century (2005)". Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  22. ^ "Store norske leksikon: Kalbe Razi Naqvi". Retrieved 2012-03-26. 

External links[edit]