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British Pakistani Community – The Significant Impact

Author:    Preethy Kurian, Crosspay   |   December 21, 2022

British Pakistanis are one of the largest ethnic minority populations in the United Kingdom. Pakistanis have had a significant impact on Britain since having migrated here from their native country Pakistan in the 1940s and 50s. There are no precise figures for how many people of Pakistani origin live in Britain – although recent estimates show that around 1.1 to 1.7 million people specified that they were of Pakistani origin. These expats come from all over Pakistan, including Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad. This article looks at this community and how they have maintained their cultural identity while impacting Britain. 

Migration to the UK 

The story of British Pakistanis is one of hard work, resilience, and success. The U.K.- Pakistan community has been in the country for over 75 years now, and their presence and contribution in the steel and textile industries, as well as the National Health Service (NHS), has been significant in the rebuilding of Britain after the Second World War. 

Their story began in 1947 when Pakistan was formed as an independent nation from India after World War II. Many people from Pakistan chose to leave that country and move to England. When they arrived, they found work in factories and other industries, resulting in a better living standard for them and their families. A second wave occurred in the 1950s when many came to Britain as students or doctors. Many Pakistani families came to Britain following the 1965 war between India and Pakistan (known as the Indo-Pakistani War). Some Pakistani families also came to Britain following violence in Sindh Province in 1974, when over 1 million people were killed or displaced by violence during this period. 

A Contributing Community 

Today, the British Pakistani community is a huge part of society in the United Kingdom. The Pakistani diaspora in the U.K. has contributed to this through their work as doctors, engineers, teachers, restaurateurs, and government and service personnel at British institutions. In addition, the British Pakistani community has significantly contributed to the British economy by setting up businesses across the country. Pakistani-born entrepreneur Sir Anwar Pervez was knighted in 2008 for his services to entrepreneurship and charity. He is one of many examples of how British Pakistanis have shaped British society through their entrepreneurial spirit. Although the British Pakistanis have faced challenges both within their community and outside, they have also made a name for themselves as successful entrepreneurs.  

One of the most famous British Pakistanis in recent years, Zayn Malik of the band One Direction is a prime example of how the British Pakistani community has positively impacted Britain’s culture. BBC’s newsreader and radio presenter Mishal Hussain is another example; she is one of the most recognisable faces on television. Amir Khan is another positive example of representation through sport; he won a silver medal in the Athens Olympics in 2004, positively representing British Pakistanis in sports. And let’s not forget the stars of English cricket like Usman Afzaal, Aftab Habib, Kabir Ali and Moeen Ali. 

Pakistani people are also known for their hospitality and generosity—something that is reflected in the country’s cuisine. For example, some of the most popular dishes in Pakistan, like biryani and kebabs, have crossed over, and the food is so delicious that it has become a staple in most British towns. 

Pakistanis have been one of the fastest-growing ethnicities in the U.K. for decades. They have significantly influenced British life—and it’s not just because of their delicious curries! The British Pakistani community has always been active in politics, including serving on local councils and participating in protests against racism or war. They have also helped refugees from other countries settle into life in England by providing them with housing, food, or even jobs if necessary. From pop music to politics, the Pakistani people have made a vast contribution to the U.K. in terms of culture, cuisine, and economic growth. It’s no wonder that British Pakistanis are so proud of their heritage! 

All not the Same 

In the U.K., Pakistani-British people are often shown as part of a homogeneous South Asian community—but that’s inaccurate. Instead, Pakistanis and British Pakistani communities differ vastly from Indian, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi and other South Asian groups. Their cultural differences are just as vast as those between white Britons or Irish people. In a BBC article, journalist John Butt says, “Pakistan’s culture itself is a fascinating melting pot of Indian, Persian, Afghan, Central Asian, South Asian and Western Asian influences.”, but they cannot all be clubbed together.  Butt also points out that “for some younger generations, Pakistan does not hold the same connection as for their parents or grandparents. “—but this doesn’t mean they don’t care about their heritage! 

I realised the colour of my skin somehow disqualifies me from being British. Stranger still, I would never identify as English, but British. Which to me meant one thing, my nationality was British, but my identity was not. British Pakistani is an actual identity, after all we have a lot of British culture, the mannerisms, we understand the humour, our language and of course who doesn’t like fish and chips on a Friday, and a cheeky beans on toast . We truly are part British and part Pakistani.— The British-Pakistani Identity Crisis [2016] 

British Pakistanis have a cultural identity that is in many ways defined by their heritage, but they live happily in the United Kingdom. After facing early difficulties and extraordinary challenges to navigating life when they arrived in the U.K., they are largely no longer considered “immigrants” or “foreigners “. Since 1996, records show that more than half the British Pakistani community are born in Britain and have British nationality. Studies show they enjoy their lives here and have created a new way of life that is unique to them in Britain. They also maintain strong ties to Pakistan, bringing much of their culture with them when they migrate. 

Additionally, they’re generally very friendly people who want to make friends with those around them! If you go out into your town (or even hang out at home), you’ll probably see some Pakistani faces smiling and waving at you. Many visit Pakistan every year or at least keep in touch with family members who live there. 

Still Connected 

Many British Pakistanis still navigate life in Britain while still maintaining ties to Pakistan. To help make this possible, many British Pakistanis send money back home to their families in Pakistan through a money transfer service. So, if you live in Britain with family in Pakistan, it can be hard to keep up with your family back home. That’s why we’ve fashioned Crosspay to provide specialised services to Pakistan. We have secured direct transfer channels with strong partners like MCB to provide a service that allows you to send money to people in Pakistan quickly and easily. We know Pakistan and value the Pakistani people. 

If you have family or friends who need help with their bills or are looking for an easy way to send money back home without worrying about exchange rates and fees, we’re here for you! We’ll take care of all the details so you can focus on what matters most: getting your loved ones the support they need. CrosspayHAR WAQT HAR PAL AAPKE SAATH. 

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