British Pakistanis


British Pakistanis
پاکستانی نژاد برطانوی
Total population
United Kingdom United Kingdom 1,174,983 (2011)[1][a]England England: 1,112,282 (2011)
Scotland Scotland: 49,381 (2011)
Wales Wales: 12,229 (2011)
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland: 1,091 (2011)
1.8% of the UK's population (2011)[1]
Regions with significant populations
West Midlands, Greater London, Yorkshire and the Humber, North West England
Languages
English (British and Pakistani· Urdu · Potohari, Mirpuri and Kashmiri · Punjabi · Pashto · Saraiki · Sindhi · Balochi · others
Religion
Islam (Sunni, Shi'ite, Sufism, Ahmadiyya)
Minority: Christianity · Hinduism · Sikhism · others
Related ethnic groups
Overseas Pakistani · British Asian · British Indian

British Pakistanis (Urdu: پاکستانی نژاد برطانوی‎; also known as Pakistani British people or Pakistani Britons) are citizens or residents 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 Azad 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 based on the 2011 census. British Pakistanis are the second-largest ethnic minority population in the United Kingdom and also make up the second-largest sub-group of British Asians. In addition, they are one of the largest overseas Pakistani communities, similar in number to the Pakistani diaspora in Saudi Arabia.[2][3]

Due to the historical relations between the two countries, immigration to the UK from the region which is now Pakistan began in small numbers in the mid-19th century. 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 as Pakistan was a member of the Commonwealth.[4] Pakistani immigrants helped to resolve labour shortages in the British steel, textile and engineering industries. Doctors from Pakistan were recruited by the National Health Service in the 1960s.[5]

The British Pakistani population has grown from about 10,000 in 1951 to over 1.1 million in 2011.[1][6] The vast majority of these live in England, with a sizable number in Scotland and smaller numbers in Wales and Northern Ireland. The most diverse Pakistani population is in London which comprises Punjabis, Mirpuri Kashmiris, Pashtuns, Sindhis, Muhajirs, Saraikis, Baloch and others.[2][7]

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.[8][9] 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, around 1 per cent of the Pakistani population of 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,[10] 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.[11]

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.[2]

History

Pre-Independence

The earliest period of Asian migration to Britain has not been ascertained. It is known that Romani (Gypsy) groups such as the Romanichal and Kale arrived in the region during the Middle Ages, having originated from North India and Pakistan and traveled westward to Europe via Southwest Asia around 1000 CE, intermingling with local populations over the course of several centuries.[12][13][14]

Immigration from what is now Pakistan to the United Kingdom began long before the independence of Pakistan in 1947. Muslim immigrants from Kashmir, Punjab, Sindh, the North-West Frontier and Balochistan as well as other parts of South Asia, arrived in the British Isles as early as the mid-seventeenth century as employees of the East India Company, typically as lashkars and sailors in British port cities.[15][16] 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.[17] Despite this, most early Pakistani immigrants married local white British women because there were few South Asian women in Britain at the time.[18]

During the colonial era, Asians continued coming to Britain as seamen, traders, students, domestic workers, cricketers, political officials and visitors, and some of them settled in the region.[19] South Asian seamen sometimes settled after ill treatment or being abandoned by ship masters.[20][21]

Many 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 South Asia to be called to the bar in Britain.[22]

British interwar period

Most early Pakistani settlers (then part of the British India Empire) and their families moved from port towns to the Midlands, as Britain declared war on Germany in 1939. Many of these Kashmiris, Punjabis 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.[23] These settlers were later joined by the arrival of their families to Britain.[24]

In 1932, the Indian National Congress survey of 'all Indians outside India' (Which Pakistani regions were then part of) estimated that there were 7,128 Indians in the United Kingdom.[25]

There were 832,500 Muslim Indian soldiers in 1945; most of these recruits were from what is now Pakistan.[26] 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.[26] Most returned to the South Asia after their service, although many of these former soldiers returned to Britain in the 1950s and 1960s to fill labour shortages.

Post-Independence

Following the Second World War, the break-up of the British Empire and the independence of Pakistan, 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.[27] Migration was made easier as Pakistan was a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.[4] 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.[28]

Many Mirpuris began emigrating from Pakistan after the completion of Mangla Dam in Mirpur, Azad 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)[29] left for Britain, while others were allotted land in neighbouring Punjab or used monetary compensation to resettle elsewhere in Pakistan.[27] The displaced Mirpuris were given legal and financial assistance by the British contractor which had built the dam.[30] 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.[31]

During the 1960s, a considerable number of Pakistanis also arrived from urban areas. Many of these people were qualified teachers, doctors, and engineers.[28] They had a predisposition to settle in London due to its greater economic opportunities compared to the Midlands or the North of England.[28] Most medical staff from Pakistan were recruited in the 1960s and almost all worked for the National Health Service.[32] At the same time, the number of Pakistanis coming as workers declined.[27]

In addition, there was a stream of migrants from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).[24][33] 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.[34] 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.[35]

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.[27]

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.[36] 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.[37]