Pakistanis in Italy

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Pakistanis in Italy
Total population
122,884 (2016 Official estimate)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Milan · Brescia[2][3]
Majority:Islam[4][5] Minority:Hinduism
Related ethnic groups
Pakistani diaspora, Saraiki diaspora

Pakistanis in Italy form one of Europe's larger Pakistani diaspora communities.[6] Estimates for the number of Pakistanis living in Italy vary. Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs repeats the Italian government's 2003 figure of 30,500 individuals, while their embassy in Rome speculated to a reporter of Pakistani newspaper Dawn as early as 2002 that the number might have already reached as high as 50,000. Media reports in 2017 gave numbers higher than 130,000 .[7]


Most Pakistani migrants are employed in the north of Italy, around Milan; they earn roughly US$700 per month in wages. Even those who entered the country illegally obtain jobs and employment permission fairly easily, due to labour shortages in Italy caused by the ageing population and shrinking workforce.

The sheer number of applicants for new passports has placed a severe strain on the Pakistani embassy. A long queue stretches outside the door all week long, with an average of sixty applications per day and a peak of 120 on Mondays. Typically, one must have some proof of citizenship, such as an identity card, in order to obtain a new passport; applicants lacking any such proof must undergo interviews in which embassy officials quiz them on basic facts about Pakistan to determine if they are actually citizens of the country. In one case, a young applicant who claimed to be from Swat did not even know the name of the Wāli of Swat, but the embassy issued him a new passport anyway on the strength of his uncle's assurances that the youth was indeed a Pakistani citizen. The Pakistani ambassador to Italy often interviews the applicants personally and renders immediate decisions; however, other staff members of the embassy, even typists and drivers, have had to help in processing the flood of applications. Pakistanis initially praised the services of the embassy, comparing them favourably to Pakistani embassies in other countries where it was common for the staff to demand bribes.[2] However, the high workload caused increasing backlogs, which by 2007 meant that 20,000 Pakistani migrants lost the chance to regularise their status and obtain work permits; migrants described the embassy's attitude as "unreasonable" and even threatened to set themselves on fire in protest.[8]

Cultural integration[edit]

The settlement of Pakistanis to Italy has produced cultural tensions. Pakistanis living in Sarezzo, a town in the Province of Brescia, are believed to have carried out Italy's first honour killing in June 2007; a man and two of his brothers-in-law were sentenced to thirty years in prison for the killing of the man's 20-year-old daughter, who was living with her boyfriend, an Italian man, and had refused an arranged marriage. They had slit her throat and buried her body in their back garden.[4][5]

A monthly Urdu-language magazine called Azad (which means "free" in Urdu) has been launched. It aims to bridge the two cultures by helping Pakistani immigrants who either cannot speak Italian or have limited interaction with the locals. It also helps Pakistanis to learn about Italy and its culture.[3]

According to media commentator Ejaz Ahmad, himself a Pakistani with two decades of residence in Italy, roughly 10,000 Pakistani migrants have purchased homes in Italy, which he analyses as a signal of their intention to remain in the country.[3]

Services to Italy[edit]

ICTP, founded in 1964 by Pakistani physicist and Nobel Laureate, Abdus Salam [9]

The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) [10] was founded in 1964 by Pakistani scientist and Nobel Laureate Abdus Salam. It operates under a tripartite agreement among the Italian Government, UNESCO, and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It is located near the Miramare Park, about 10 kilometres from the city of Trieste, Italy.

Notable Pakistanis in Italy[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Husain, Irfan (2002-11-09), "The Italian jobs", Dawn, Pakistan, retrieved 2008-11-18
  3. ^ a b c Farooq, Amer; Di Benedetto, Elisa (2010-04-07), "Distance, not differences, at root of Pakistani integration in Italy", The Manchester Asian News, archived from the original on 2010-04-13
  4. ^ a b Duff, Mark (2007-06-28), "Pakistanis in Italy murder trial", BBC News, retrieved 2008-11-18
  5. ^ a b "Italy jails Pakistanis for murder", BBC News, 2007-11-13, retrieved 2008-11-18
  6. ^ "Europe and Russian Federation", Yearbook of Pakistan Foreign Relations, 2003-2004, Pakistan: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2004, archived from the original on 2007-10-19, retrieved 2008-11-18
  7. ^ "DailyTimes | Pakistan and Italy review strategic engagement plan". Retrieved 2017-06-04.
  8. ^ "Pakistanis protest against consulate", The Post, Pakistan, 2007-12-02, retrieved 2008-11-18[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "ICTP - Media Centre".
  10. ^ "ICTP - International Centre for Theoretical Physics".

ITHUBPK the ithubpk, Pakistan, 2007-12-02, retrieved 2008-11-18

Further reading[edit]

  • Nobil, Ali (December 2007), "The Myth of Arrival: Pakistanis in Italy", in Kalra, Virinder S. (ed.), Pakistani Diasporas: Culture, Conflict, and Change, Readings in Sociology and Social Anthropology, Pakistan: Oxford, ISBN 978-0-19-547625-5