Overseas Pakistani

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Overseas Pakistanis
بیرون ملک پاکستانی
Total population
Approximately 4.0% of the Pakistani population
 Saudi Arabia 2,200,000
 United Arab Emirates 1,300,000
 United Kingdom 1,174,983
 United States 518,769[1][2]
 Canada 155,310
 Kuwait 130,000
 Malaysia >100,000
 Qatar 90,000[3]
 Italy 151,000
 Oman 85,000
 Greece 82,000
 Bahrain 80,166
 France 75,000
 Germany 75,000
 Spain 69,481
 China 65,000
 Hong Kong 55,000
 Australia 33,049
English, Urdu, Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Saraiki, Balochi, other languages of Pakistan and the languages spoken in the respective country of residence
Predominantly Islam (Sunni & Shia ) with small numbers of Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism and Sikhism

The Pakistani diaspora, also known as overseas Pakistanis (Urdu: بیرون ملک پاکستانیوں ), refers to Pakistani citizens that have migrated to another country, as well as people living abroad who are of Pakistani descent. According to the Pakistani Government, there are around 8 million Pakistani people living abroad with a vast majority of them residing in the Middle East.[4] Overseas Pakistanis sent remittances amounting to $18.4 billion in 2014-15, which translates into a year-on-year increase of 16.5%, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).[5][6][7][8]

According to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Pakistan has the sixth largest diaspora in the world.[9]

Overseas Pakistani[edit]

A map showing the distribution and population of Pakistan diaspora by country.

The term Overseas Pakistani is officially recognized by the Government of Pakistan. The Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis was established in 2008 to exclusively deal with all the matters and affairs of the overseas Pakistanis such as attending to their needs and problems, intending schemes and projects for their welfare and working for resolution of their problems and issues. Overseas Pakistani workers are the second largest source of Foreign Exchange Remittances to Pakistan after exports and over the last several years, the foreign exchange remittances have maintained a steady rising trend, with a recorded increase of 21.8% from $6.4 billion in 2007-08 to $7.8 billion during 2008-09. In 2009-10, Pakistanis sent home $9.4 billion, the 11th largest in the world.[7] By 2012, Pakistan increased its ranking to 10th in the world for remittances sent home at $13 billion per annum.[6][7] In the first six months of fiscal year 2014 Pakistanis sent home $7.9 billion showing continuously increasing trend and projected to touch around $16 billion at the end of the FY14.[10] The Overseas Pakistani Division (OPD) was created in September 2004 within the Ministry of Labour and Manpower. Since 2004, it has recognized the importance of overseas Pakistanis and their contribution to the economy. Together with Community Welfare Attaches (CWAs) and the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF), all three are improving the welfare of overseas Pakistanis. The division aims at providing better services to the overseas Pakistanis through improved facilities at airports, setting up suitable schemes in housing, education and health care. Its largest effort is facilitating the rehabilitation of returning overseas Pakistanis.

Overseas Pakistanis Foundation[edit]

The Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) was established July 1979, with its head office at Islamabad and regional offices in all provincial capitals as well as Mirpur, Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The objective of the OPF is to advance the welfare of the Pakistanis working or settled abroad and their families in Pakistan by identifying their problems and contributing to their solutions. These include health care, financial aid, foreign exchange remittance and education.[11]

OPF schools[edit]

The Overseas Pakistanis Foundation operates more than 24 schools in across Pakistan, offering preschool, primary, secondary and preparation for local SSC and the international GCE education. Most of its students opt to take the GCE O and AS/A Levels organized by the CIE of UCLES. It also has established international projects in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. The head office of the OPF school is located in Islamabad, administering the system through Six main regional offices:

Foreign Community Welfare Attaches[edit]

Community Welfare Attaches (CWAs) are located in 18 cities around the world. There primarily function is to establish and maintain close contacts with the foreign firms who are in need of manpower for their ventures in different countries, and to aid in the welfare of overseas Pakistanis. CWAs are currently located in:[12]

National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP)[edit]

Main article: NADRA

The Computerized National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) was conceived by NADRA as a project by mutual resolve of the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF), the Ministry of Labour & Manpower, and the Interior Ministry. The scheme calls for the creation of a comprehensive database of Pakistanis who either work abroad or hold a dual nationality. The NADRA Ordinance envisages issuance of NICOPs to Pakistani workers, emigrants, citizens, or Pakistanis holding dual nationality, having been registered under the NADRA Ordinance. The ordinance entrusts NADRA with the task of registering the overseas Pakistanis. NICOP, in addition to providing the authenticity of the individual, allows the NICOP holder to visa-free entry to Pakistan.

Pakistan Origin Card (POC)[edit]

Like the NICOP, the Pakistan Origin Card (POC) is issued by NADRA to eligible overseas Pakistanis. However, the major difference between the two is that a POC is only issued to people of Pakistani origin, i.e., those who are citizens of other countries but have some Pakistani background including former nationals.[13] It cannot be issued to those with dual nationalities, with one being Pakistani, as the NICOP is meant for those individuals.[14]

Little Pakistan[edit]

Main article: Little Pakistan
Aziziya - Jeddah، Little Pakistan

"Little Pakistan" is a general name for an ethnic enclave populated primarily by Pakistanis or people of Pakistani ancestry (overseas Pakistani), usually in an urban neighborhood.

Returning overseas Pakistanis[edit]

Millions of Pakistanis immigrated to various countries during the 1970s and 1980s. Unlike European immigrants who settled permanently in the new world, many Pakistanis who immigrated considered themselves to be "sojourners", who left to earn money abroad but not to settle, or were students who intended to return to Pakistan when their degree programs were completed.

From the Middle East[edit]

Main article: Arabs in Pakistan

Since the independence of Pakistan in 1947, there has been a large population of Pakistanis in the Middle East, mainly in Saudi Arabia. However, since the 1990s, many of them have opted for countries like the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait. Pakistanis who immigrated to these countries or who were born in these countries tended to stay close to Pakistani culture. Many "International Pakistan Schools" were opened to cater for the large population and for them to study under the same boards as Pakistani students at home. As a result, those returning to Pakistan from the Middle East have found it much easier to adjust. Pakistanis from the Middle East can be found throughout the country today and these people are usually fluent in Urdu, English and their regional language. They are most likely involved in trading, media, telecommunications, banking, and aviation.

From Europe[edit]

Main article: Britons in Pakistan

Since the 1990s, a large number of Pakistanis who settled in Europe have been returning to Pakistan. Those who were born in Europe have also maintained close links to Pakistani culture. However, there are some instances of children not learning Urdu while growing up or being accustomed to Pakistani culture. As a result, those who return from Europe do experience "culture shocks". Those returning from Norway and Denmark are mostly settled around Kharian in the Punjab province, whereas those from northern England (Bradford) can be found in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (mainly Mirpur), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and upper Punjab (Jhelum, Chakwal, Attock and Rawalpindi).

From America[edit]

Main article: Americans in Pakistan
Main article: Canadians in Pakistan

Very small numbers of Pakistanis from Canada and the United States have historically returned to Pakistan. Although they frequently visit Pakistan during the summer and winter vacations, permanent settlement had not been popular amongst them until 2001. Since the September 11 terrorist attacks and the recent Financial crisis of 2007–2010, a large number of Pakistani Americans and Pakistani Canadians have begun to return. The population of returning expatriates from the Americas, who tend to have excellent credentials, has increased significantly due to new job opportunities in Pakistan.[15] Many from North America are found in the major cities of Pakistan, mainly Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi/Islamabad, Faisalabad and Peshawar. Large populations can also be found in smaller cities and towns, such as Sialkot. Those returning from North America have tended to find jobs easier in Pakistan and are involved in a wide scope of fields, primarily healthcare, engineering, law, banking, information technology, mass media and industry.

Population by country[edit]

Population of Pakistanis abroad, by country"[16]

Continent / country Article Overseas Pakistani population
Asia 3,275,630
 Saudi Arabia Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia 1,500,000+[17]
 United Arab Emirates Pakistanis in the United Arab Emirates 1,600,000
 Bangladesh Pakistanis in Bangladesh 500,000
 Kuwait Pakistanis in Kuwait 150,000
 Qatar Pakistanis in Qatar 90,000[3]
 Malaysia Pakistanis in Malaysia 110,000[18]
 Oman Pakistanis in Oman 85,000
 Bahrain Pakistanis in Bahrain 80,000
 Hong Kong Pakistanis in Hong Kong 55,000
 China Pakistanis in China 65,000
 Turkey Pakistanis in Turkey 60,000
 Afghanistan Pakistanis in Afghanistan 12,000
 Iran Pakistanis in Iran 11,000[19]
 South Korea Pakistanis in South Korea 10,423[20]
 Japan Pakistanis in Japan 10,299[21]
 Jordan Pakistanis in Jordan 8,000[22]
 Thailand Pakistanis in Thailand 25,000
 Mozambique Pakistanis in Mozambique 9,000[23]
 Singapore Pakistanis in Singapore 3,600
   Nepal Pakistanis in Nepal 2,546
 Kyrgyzstan Pakistanis in Kyrgyzstan 1,500
 Philippines Pakistanis in Philippines 1,000
 Israel Pakistanis in Israel 1,000
 Lebanon Pakistanis in Lebanon 1000[24]
 Yemen Pakistanis in Yemen 3000
 India Pakistanis in India 761
 Syria Pakistanis in Syria 600
 Mongolia Pakistanis in Mongolia 525[25]
 Vietnam Pakistanis in Vietnam 515
 Kazakhstan Pakistanis in Kazakhstan 500
 Brunei Pakistanis in Brunei 500[26]
 Iraq Pakistanis in Iraq 456
 Myanmar Pakistanis in Burma 451
 Indonesia Pakistanis in Indonesia 600
 Sri Lanka Pakistanis in Sri Lanka 10000
 Turkmenistan Pakistanis in Turkmenistan, Beluch 243
 Azerbaijan Pakistanis in Azerbaijan 200
 Maldives Pakistanis in Maldives 300
 Uzbekistan Pakistanis in Uzbekistan 75
 Tajikistan Pakistanis in Tajikistan 30
 Palestine Pakistanis in Palestine 26
Europe 2,255,000[27]
 United Kingdom British Pakistanis,
Pakistanis in London
England: 1,360,000 (2010)[28]
Scotland: 90,000 (2010)[29]
Wales: 9,000 (2010)[30]
Northern Ireland: 1000 (2010)[31]
 Italy Pakistanis in Italy 151,000
 Greece Pakistanis in Greece 80,000
 Spain Pakistanis in Spain 70,000[32]
 France Pakistanis in France 60,000
 Germany Pakistanis in Germany 75.000.[33]
 Norway Pakistani Norwegians 39,200[34]
 Denmark Pakistanis in Denmark 21,642 (est.2012)[35]
 Netherlands Pakistanis in the Netherlands 19,408 (est.2012)[36]
 Belgium Pakistanis in Belgium 14,500
 Ireland Pakistanis in Ireland 22,000
 Sweden Pakistani Swedish 5,250
 Portugal Pakistanis in Portugal 5,000
 Austria Pakistanis in Austria 3,500
  Switzerland Pakistanis in Switzerland 2,415
 Ukraine Pakistanis in Ukraine 1,612
 Russia Pakistanis in Russia 1,500
 Cyprus Pakistanis in Cyprus 10,100
 Romania Pakistanis in Romania 710
 Finland Pakistanis in Finland 525
 Bosnia and Herzegovina Pakistanis in Bosnia and Herzegovina 416
 Poland Pakistanis in Poland 180
 Estonia Pakistani Estonia 150
 Latvia Pakistani Latvia 150
 Lithuania Pakistani Lithuania 150
 Belarus Pakistani Belarus 150
 Albania Pakistanis in Albania 100
 Hungary Pakistanis in Hungary 145
 Czech Republic Pakistanis in Czech Republic 35
 Slovakia Pakistanis in Slovakia 30
 Slovenia Pakistanis in Slovenia 29
 Iceland Pakistanis in Iceland 65
 Bulgaria Pakistanis in Bulgaria 27
 Moldova Pakistanis in Moldova 26
 Serbia Pakistanis in Serbia 25
 Croatia Pakistanis in Croatia 24
 Kosovo Pakistanis in Kosovo 14
 Republic of Macedonia Pakistanis in Macedonia 14
Others 1620
Americas 3,587,720
 United States Pakistani American 409,163[37][38]
 Canada Pakistani Canadian 155,310
 Cuba Pakistani Cuban 10,000[39]
 Chile Pakistanis in Chile 800
 Peru Pakistanis in Peru 400
 Dominican Republic Pakistanis in Dominican Republic 300
 Brazil Pakistanis in Brazil 68
 Mexico Pakistanis in Mexico 25
 Bolivia Pakistanis in Bolivia 50
 Argentina Pakistanis in Argentina 55
 Paraguay Pakistanis in Paraguay 12
 Colombia Pakistanis in Colombia 10
 Suriname Pakistanis in Suriname 3
Africa 88,821
 South Africa Pakistanis in South Africa 40,800
 Somalia Pakistanis in Somalia <9,200[40]
 Libya Pakistanis in Libya 30,000
 Sudan Pakistanis in Sudan 3000
 Kenya Pakistanis in Kenya 2,862
 Tanzania Pakistanis in Tanzania 1,200
 Egypt Pakistanis in Egypt 1000 (2011)[41][42]
 Zimbabwe Pakistanis in Zimbabwe 800
 Nigeria Pakistanis in Nigeria 792
 Zambia Pakistanis in Zambia 450
 Botswana Pakistanis in Botswana 160
 Ghana Pakistanis in Ghana 152
 Niger Pakistanis in Niger 62
 Mauritius Pakistanis in Mauritius 65
 Morocco Pakistanis in Morocco 38
 Mozambique Pakistanis in Mozambique 9,000[23]
 Algeria Pakistanis in Algeria 34
 Djibouti Pakistanis in Djibouti 30
 Senegal Pakistanis in Senegal 26
 Comoros Pakistanis in Comoros 11
 Madagascar Pakistanis in Madagascar 11
 Seychelles Pakistanis in Seychelles 5
Others 773
Oceania 64,277
 Australia Pakistani Australian 31,277[43]
 New Zealand Pakistani New Zealander 9,000[44]
Total overseas Pakistani population 8,803,226

See also[edit]

Diasporas of Pakistani ethnic groups[edit]

Related diasporas[edit]



  1. ^ http://tribune.com.pk/story/1147303/7th-largest-immigrants-pakistanis-no-longer-eligible-us-diversity-visa/
  2. ^ "ASIAN ALONE OR IN ANY COMBINATION BY SELECTED GROUPS 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. 
  3. ^ a b Qatar´s population by nationality bq magazine Retrieved 15 December 2014
  4. ^ "Pride and the Pakistani Diaspora". Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "Pakistanis remittances". The Express Tribune. July 14, 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Mohammad. "OP News Discussions - Voice of Overseas Pakistanis - Page 2". Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTPROSPECTS/Resources/334934-1199807908806/Top10.pdf
  8. ^ ECP says it stands by its plan to give overseas Pakistanis right to vote
  9. ^ Service, Tribune News. "India has largest diaspora population in world: UN". The Tribune. Retrieved 2016-03-03. 
  10. ^ Shahid Iqbal. "Overseas Pakistanis remit $7.8bn in six months". Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  11. ^ "Overseas Pakistanis Foundation". Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  12. ^ Government of Pakistan, Bureau of Emigration & Overseas Employment
  13. ^ POC NADRA Retrieved 23 January 2010
  14. ^ NICOP Pakistan High Commission, UK Retrieved 23 January 2010
  15. ^ Vaswani, Karishma (2008-07-06). "Returning Pakistanis praise new lives". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  16. ^ Year Book, 2004–2005 (PDF), Islamabad: Ministry of Labour, Manpower, and Overseas Pakistanis, archived from the original (PDF) on 27 August 2010, retrieved 2009-09-19 
  17. ^ GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN (29 August 2012). "Number of Pakistani expats exceeds 1.5 m". Arab News. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  18. ^ Iftikhar A. Khan. "Overseas Pakistanis' vote: ECP, Nadra for caution". Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  19. ^ Overseas Pakistanis Foundation 2004-2005 Yearbook pg 31 Retrieved 7 September 2010.
  20. ^ 출입국·외국인정책본부. "통계연보(글내용) < 통계자료실 < 출입국·외국인정책본부". Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  21. ^ "統計表一覧 政府統計の総合窓口 GL08020103". Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  22. ^ "Middle East uprising: Pakistanis safe in Syria, Jordan despite revolt, officials say". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  23. ^ a b Pakistanis who have never seen Pakistan
  24. ^ "INTERVIEWS OF AMBASSADOR" Embassy of Pakistan in Lebanon web site
  25. ^ Censuses
  26. ^ Pakistan navy men visit BT
  27. ^ a b "The Pakistani Diaspora in Europe and Its Impact on Democracy Building in Pakistan" Paper at Idea
  28. ^ "Check Browser Settings". Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  29. ^ Pakistanis in Scotland
  30. ^ Pakistanis in Wales
  31. ^ Pakistanis in Northern Ireland
  32. ^ "Cementing ties: Trade between Pakistan and Spain can grow 10 times: ambassador". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  33. ^ Bundesamt für Flüchtlinge und Migration, Dr. habil. Sonja Haug Stephanie Müssig, M.A. Dr. Anja Stichs (Hrsg): Muslimisches Leben in Deutschland, 2009: page 76, chart 5
  34. ^ Immigration and immigrants
  35. ^ Danish Institute of Statistic http://www.statistikbanken.dk/FOLK1
  36. ^ "CBS StatLine - Population; sex, age, origin and generation, 1 January". Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  37. ^ "Press Releases 2010 - Embassy of the United States Islamabad, Pakistan". Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  38. ^ Race Reporting for the Asian Population by Selected Categories: 2010 
  39. ^ "THE PLIGHT OF PAKISTANI MEDICAL STUDENTS IN CUBA" 17 September 2009, Overseas Pakistani Friends
  40. ^ David B. Barrett, George Thomas Kurian, Todd M. Johnson (2001). World Christian Encyclopedia: The world by segments : religions, peoples, languages, cities, topics. Oxford University Press. p. 672. ISBN 019510319X. ; under 1,000 Indo-Pakistanis, 2001 est.
  41. ^ "BBC News - Egypt: India and Pakistan move to help nationals". BBC News. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  42. ^ "Pakistan nationals in Egypt are safe: Basit". www.oneindia.com. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  43. ^ "Migration Australia 2009-10" Australian Government web site
  44. ^ "Pakistan: Living On Borrowed Time" 29 December 2007, Scoop News

External links[edit]