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Pakistani people have been in London for over 50 years contributing to the capital's business economy. But the young people are creating their own new identity in all aspects of London life.
Did you know
Pakistanis in Britain come from the four main provinces in Pakistan.
Britain's Pakistani community is one of the oldest and largest Pakistani communities outside of Pakistan, with over 100,000 people in London.
Pakistani people first arrived in the late 1950s or early 60s and the men came to work so they could support their families in Pakistan. Entrepreneurial Pakistanis opened grocery stores, sold spices, chappatti flour and halal meat to cater for their community.
They were soon followed by a variety of different types of businesses. For example, clothing shops, video shops renting Indian films and nowadays, taxi driving. Property ownership has also been a popular business. Owning property increases the status of the owner amongst his fellow Pakistanis.
Amir Khan, sports personality
They form a vital part of the community and have made significant contributions to the local economy. Sir Mohammed Anwar Pervez OBE is Managing Director of Bestway Cash & Carry which operates about 30 retail grocery stores and several wholesale grocery outlets throughout the UK. Born in Rawalpindi, Pakistan in 1935, Sir Anwar came to the UK at the age of twenty-one in the 1950s. After working as a Bradford bus conductor, he opened his first corner shop in 1962 in London's Earl's Court.
Although the national language is Urdu, the main language is Punjabi with English now spoken as a first language by young Pakistanis. London’s Pakistani community is mainly Muslim, with some Christians. Born and raised in London, Sarah Francis, from the Pakistani Christian minority, was nominated in 2002 by the Pakistani’s Ministry of Culture for the President’s Performance Award. Fifteen year old Sarah made her outstanding debut performance with her command of complex singing techniques in April 2001 to a group of reporters and audience in a private concert.
Imran and ex wife wife Jemima
Well known figures such as the late Benazir Bhutto and Imran Khan have made major contributions to politics in Pakistan and to global politics. Whilst Bhutto was born into a family of politicians, Imran Khan made the journey into politics from his highly profiled life as a cricketer and play boy. On May 16, 1995, Khan married Jemima Goldsmith, daughter of the late Anglo-French billionaire Sir James Goldsmith. Jemima converted to Islam and the two were married in a two-minute Islamic ceremony conducted in Paris, France. However the two later divorced on June 22, 2004. Khan told Britain's Daily Telegraph, "I want Pakistan to be a welfare state and a genuine democracy with a rule of law and an independent judiciary".
Saira Khan in Pakistan
The community is now well established in British culture and is undergoing a period of change as the generation who are born in the UK establish their own unique identity. Amir Khan's contribution to British boxing has taken him to national and global recognition and he was nominated BBC Sports Personality of 2005. He is seen as a role model for many young Pakistanis and his work with young people has earned him a great deal of respect.
Saira Khan shot to fame as the feisty runner up in The Apprentice. Since then Saira has written a book and has branched out into television presenting and broadcasting. Outspoken and challenging, Saira has shown how Pakistani women like herself, the late Benazir Bhutto and Sayeda Warsi can be highly successful.
last updated: 16/06/2008 at 18:37