Twelve British Pakistanis Elected to UK Parliament
By Riaz Haq
Twelve British Pakistanis, including five women, have been elected members of parliament (MPs) in recent elections held in the United Kingdom, according to media reports. Seven of them are members of the Labor Party and three belong to the Conservative Party.
This sets a new record with the increase of two MPs from the May 2012 elections that resulted in the success of 10 MPs of Pakistani origin. British Pakistanis make up 1.8% of the British population, about the same as their representation in the House of Commons.
British Pakistani MPs and Peers
In addition to the 12 British Pakistanis in the House of Commons, there are 8 members of the House of Lords, the upper house of the British Parliament, bringing the total strength of British Pakistanis in the UK parliament to 20. Most of them are from very humble backgrounds in rural Pakistan. Majority of Pakistanis in the UK are from Mirpur and its surrounding villages in Azad Kashmir. They, or their parents, migrated to Britain when they were given compensation by the Pakistan government for their land to make way for the construction of the massive Mangla Dam after the signing of the Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan in 1960.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan
Last year saw the election of Sadiq Khan as mayor of London, making him the first Muslim mayor of a major Western capital city. Mayor Sadiq Khan is also of Pakistani-origin. Khan's father migrated to Britain in the 1960s and worked as a London bus driver. Khan comes from a family of two generations of immigrants: His grandparents migrated from what is now India to the newly created state of Pakistan in 1947 and his parents migrated from Karachi to London in 1969. Sadiq Khan was born in London in 1970.
British Pakistanis' Struggles
While the British Pakistanis have made some headway in the public sector in their new home, they continue to face discrimination, particularly in the private sector. A 2016 study by the government’s Social Mobility Commission found that the "children of Bangladeshi and Pakistani origin in Britain have outperformed other ethnic groups to achieve rapid improvements at every level of education, but are significantly less likely to be employed in managerial or professional jobs than their white counterparts".
The study revealed that the "minority ethnic pupils (including Pakistanis) are outperforming white working class children in English tests throughout school, with white British teenagers coming bottom of the pile in the subject at GCSE level".
British Pakistani Doctors
Pakistan is the second largest source of doctors of foreign origin serving in the United Kingdom, according to OECD. Indians make up 34% of the foreign doctors in Britain, followed by 11% from Pakistan.
British Pakistanis have achieved significant success in spite of their humble origins and discrimination they face in their adopted home. 12 of them serve as members of the House of Commons and 8 in the House of Lords. Mayor Sadiq Khan of London, the first Muslim leader of a major Western capital, is the son of a London bus driver who migrated from Pakistan. British Pakistani children are outperforming their white working class peers in schools. British Pakistani doctors are the second largest population of doctors of foreign origin in the United Kingdom. The British Pakistanis are among the best of the Pakistani diaspora in the world.