Pakistani diaspora

Pakistani diaspora
Overseas Pakistanis
Flag of Pakistan.svg
Total population
7,000,000+ [5]
Approximately 4% of the Pakistani population.
Regions with significant populations
 United Kingdom 1,200,000[1]
 Saudi Arabia 1,200,000
 United Arab Emirates 1,100,000
 United States 700,000
 Canada 300,000
 Kuwait 100,000
 Italy 100,000[1]
 Oman 85,000
 Greece 80,000[1]
 France 60,000[1]
 Germany 53,668
 Qatar 52,000
 Spain 47,000[1]
 Bahrain 45,500
 Netherlands 40,000[1]
 Denmark 21,152
 Norway 30,161
 Libya 30,000
 Australia 20,000
 Hong Kong 20,000
 Belgium 14,500
 Ireland 12,500
 Japan 12,000
 Iran 11,500
 Turkey 10,000
 Jordan 8,000
 Portugal 6,000
 Sweden 6,000
 New Zealand 5,000
 Austria 4,500
 Ukraine 1612

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, or an overseas Pakistani is a Pakistani citizen who has migrated to another country or a person of Pakistani origin who is born outside Pakistan. There are approximately 7 million Pakistanis living abroad.[2] Many overseas Pakistanis in Europe and North America have obtained citizenship of their country of residence.


Overseas Pakistani

The term Overseas Pakistani is officially recognized by the Government of Pakistan. The Overseas Pakistani Division (OPD) was created in September 2004 within the Ministry of Labour and Manpower. Over the past 6 years, 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

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, and 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.[3]

OPF Public Schools

The Overseas Pakistanis Foundation operates more than 150 prestigious school systems in 43 cities across Pakistan. It offers preschool, primary education, secondary education and preparation for local SSC and the international GCE. Most of its students opt to take the international GCE O and AS/A Level examinations organized by the CIE of UCLES. It also has established international projects in UAE, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom. The head office of OPF Public School is located in Islamabad, administering the system through four main regional offices: Southern Regional Office (SRO), which caters to Sindh (only Karachi) and Balochistan; Central Regional Office (CRO) Lahore, which oversees 80% of Southern Punjab; Northern Regional Office (NRO), which looks after the rest of Northern Pakistan; and Mehran Regional Office (MRO), which caters to interior Sindh (Sukkur, Larkana and Hyderabad. OPF School system, in collaboration with various other national institutions, formed The City APIIT. Established in 1978, the school's courses are modeled on those of British schools


OPF Public School has branches in many cities of Pakistan which include Abbotabad, Attock, Bahawalpur, Bannu, Burewala, Chakwal, Dera Ghazi Khan, Dera Ismail Khan, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Hyderabad, Islamabad, Jamshoro, Jhelum, Jhang, Karachi, Kasur, Khairpur, Khanewal, Kharian, Kohat, Kot Addu, Lahore, Larkana, Mardan, Mianwali, Mirpur, Mirpurkhas, Multan, Muzaffarabad, Nawabshah, Nowshera, Okara, Peshawar, Quetta, Rawalpindi, Rahim Yar Khan, Sahiwal, Sargodha, Sialkot, Sukkur, Swat, Thatta and Vehari. The OPF branch in Islamabad is designed by architecture of America and it is one of the most beautiful college and hostel buildings in Islamabad.

Foreign Community Welfare Attaches

Community Welfare Attaches (CWA's) 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. CWA's are currently located in:[4]

National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP)

The National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis, also called 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)

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.[5] It cannot be issued to those with dual nationalities, with one being Pakistani, as the NICOP is meant for those individuals.[6]

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


Millions of Pakistanis immigrated to various countries abroad during the 1970s and 1980s. Unlike European immigrants who settled permanently in the new world, Pakistanis who immigrated abroad 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

Since the inception 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 Arabic, Urdu, English and their regional language. They are most likely involved in trading, media, telecommunications and banking.

  • From Europe

Since the 1990s, a large number of Pakistanis who settled in Europe have been returning to Pakistan. These Pakistanis tended to be less educated and in many cases had to apply for multiple jobs in order to help their children attain a decent education, which they could not provide for them in 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 can be mostly found in Kharian in the Punjab province, whereas those from northern England can be found in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (mainly Mirpur) and upper Punjab (Rawalpindi).

  • From America

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.[7] Many from North America are found in the major cities of Pakistan, mainly Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore 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.


Continent / Country Articles Overseas Pakistani Population
Asia 74,391
 Hong Kong Pakistanis in Hong Kong 20,000[8][dead link]
 Japan Pakistanis in Japan 12,500[9]
 Malaysia Pakistanis in Malaysia 10,000, expected to increase to 100,000 by end of 2010[10]
 South Korea Pakistanis in South Korea 7,000
 Thailand Pakistanis in Thailand 1,980
 Singapore Pakistanis in Singapore 1,600
 Philippines 1,000
 China Pakistanis in China 653
 Kazakhstan 500
 Brunei Pakistanis in Brunei 300[11]-500
 Indonesia Pakistanis in Indonesia 400
 Sri Lanka Pakistanis in Sri Lanka 369
 Kyrgyzstan Pakistanis in Kyrgyzstan 1500[12][dead link]
 Bangladesh Pakistanis in Bangladesh 310
 Turkmenistan 243
 Azerbaijan 200
 Maldives 100
 Uzbekistan 75
 Myanmar 51
 Nepal 46
 Tajikistan 30
 Vietnam 25
 Mongolia 15[13]
Europe 2,200,000[1]
 United Kingdom British Pakistanis,
Pakistanis in London
England: 1,100,000 (2010)[14]
Scotland: 90,000 (2010)[15]
Wales: 9,000 (2010)[16]
Northern Ireland: 1000 (2010)[17]
 Italy Pakistanis in Italy 100,000[1]
 Greece Pakistanis in Greece 80,000[1]
 France Pakistanis in France 60,000[1]
 Spain Pakistanis in Spain 47,000[1]
 Netherlands Pakistanis in the Netherlands 40,000[1]
 Norway Pakistani Norwegians 36,400[18]
 Germany Pakistanis in Germany 35,081[19]-52,668(2005)[20]
 Denmark Pakistanis in Denmark 31,000[1][21]
 Belgium Pakistanis in Belgium 14,500
 Turkey Pakistanis in Turkey 2,000
 Ireland Pakistanis in Ireland 5,000
 Portugal 6,000
 Sweden Pakistani Swedish 5,250
 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 1,100
 Romania 710
 Finland 525
 Poland 180
 Hungary 45
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 16
 Bulgaria 16
 Moldova 10
 Serbia 2
 Croatia 1
Others 1620
Americas 851,385
 United States Pakistani American 210,245[22]
 Canada Pakistani Canadian 90,000[23] - 124,730
 Cuba Pakistanis in the Caribbean 1000[24]
 Peru 250
 Chile 200
 Brazil 180
 Mexico 150
 Bolivia 50
 Argentina 30
 Paraguay 12
 Colombia 10
 Suriname 3
Africa 37,964
 Libya Pakistanis in Libya 30,000
 South Africa Pakistanis in South Africa 2,500
 Kenya 1,862
 Tanzania 950
 Egypt Pakistanis in Egypt 700 (2011)[25][26]
 Zimbabwe 400
 Nigeria 292
 Sudan 200
 Botswana 160
 Ghana 152
 Niger 62
 Mauritius 43
 Morocco 38
 Algeria 34
 Djibouti 30
 Senegal 26
 Comoros 11
 Madagascar 11
 Seychelles 5
Others 773
Oceania 25,000
 Australia Pakistani Australian 20,000[27]
 New Zealand Pakistani New Zealander 5,000[28]
Middle East Pakistanis in the Middle East 1,893,373
 Saudi Arabia Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia 1,100,000
 United Arab Emirates Pakistanis in the United Arab Emirates 1,200,000
 Kuwait Pakistanis in Kuwait 100,000
 Oman Pakistanis in Oman 85,000
 Qatar Pakistanis in Qatar 52,000
 Bahrain Pakistanis in Bahrain 45,000
 Iran Pakistanis in Iran 11,500
 Jordan Pakistanis in Jordan 8,000-10,000[29]
 Israel Pakistanis in Israel 1,000
 Lebanon Pakistanis in Lebanon 700[30]
 Yemen Pakistanis in Yemen 700
 Syria Pakistanis in Syria 600-700[29]
 Iraq Pakistanis in Iraq 456
 Palestine 10
Others 500
Total Overseas Pakistani Population 7,000,000+[2]

See also

Diasporas of Pakistani ethnic groups

  • Baloch diaspora
  • Kashmiri diaspora
  • Hazara diaspora
  • Pashtun diaspora
  • Punjabi diaspora
  • Sindhi diaspora

Related diasporas



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "The Pakistani Diaspora in Europe and Its Impact on Democracy Building in Pakistan" Paper at Idea
  2. ^ a b "Pride and the Pakistani Diaspora" by Ali Eteraz Saturday, 14 Feb, 2009, [1]
  3. ^ OPF Official Website
  4. ^ Government of Pakistan, Bureau of Emigration & Overseas Employment
  5. ^ POC NADRA Retrieved 23 January 2010
  6. ^ NICOP Pakistan High Commission, UK Retrieved 23 January 2010
  7. ^ "Returning Pakistanis praise new lives". BBC News. 2008-07-06. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ Year Book, 2004–2005, Islamabad: Ministry of Labour, Manpower, and Overseas Pakistanis,, retrieved 2009-09-19 
  10. ^ "100,000 Pakistani labourers expected to work in Malaysia by end 2010", August 27 [3]
  11. ^ Pakistan navy men visit BT
  12. ^ [4]
  13. ^ Census's
  14. ^ Pakistanis in England in 2007
  15. ^ Pakistanis in Scotland
  16. ^ Pakistanis in Wales
  17. ^ Pakistanis in Northern Ireland
  18. ^ Immigration and immigrants
  19. ^ DW-WORLD.DE -
  20. ^ Yearbook 2004-2005, Ministry of Labour, Manpower & Overseas Pakistanis
  21. ^ Goli, Marco; Rezaei (March 2005), Active Civic Participation of Immigrants in Denmark, Building Europe with New Citizens? An Inquiry into the Civic Participation of Naturalised Citizens and Foreign Residents in 25 Countries, European Commission,, retrieved 2008-11-19 
  22. ^ US demographic census,;ACS_2005_EST_G00_S0201PR:045;ACS_2005_EST_G00_S0201T:045;ACS_2005_EST_G00_S0201TPR:045&-_lang=en&-redoLog=false&-format=, retrieved 2006-11-19 
  23. ^ [Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada - Population by Ethnic Origin]
  24. ^ "THE PLIGHT OF PAKISTANI MEDICAL STUDENTS IN CUBA" September 17, 2009, Overseas Pakistani Friends
  25. ^ Egypt: India and Pakistan move to help nationals, BBC News South Asia, 31/Jan/2011
  26. ^ Pakistan nationals in Egypt are safe: Basit, OneIndia News, January 30, 2011
  27. ^ "Pakistan country brief" Australian Government web site
  28. ^ "Pakistan: Living On Borrowed Time" 29 December 2007, Scoop News
  29. ^ a b Middle East uprising: Pakistanis safe in Syria, Jordan despite revolt, officials say, By Saba Imtiaz, Express Tribune, Published: March 29, 2011
  30. ^ "INTERVIEWS OF AMBASSADOR" Embassy of Pakistan in Lebanon web site

External links

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