Pakistanis in the Middle East

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Pakistanis in the Middle East
Total population
Regions with significant populations
 Saudi Arabia 1,100,000
 United Arab Emirates 880,000
 Kuwait 100,000
 Oman 85,000
 Qatar 52,000
 Bahrain 45,000
Urdu, Arabic, Languages of Pakistan
Related ethnic groups
Overseas Pakistani

Pakistanis in the Middle East form the largest part of the worldwide Pakistani diaspora. Out of the 7 million Pakistanis abroad[2] more than 2 million live within countries in the Middle East.

History with the Middle East

Although Pakistan only came into existence in 1947, the land which is today Pakistan has strong ties to the Middle East. Muhammad bin Qasim was a Syrian general who conquered the Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab regions along the Indus river. This conquest began the Islamic era in South Asia. Trading between the two regions significantly increased. From the 15th century onward much of the coast of modern day Pakistan was ruled by indigenous Zikri families and sometimes by the Iranian government. In the late 18th century, the Khan of Kalat is said to have granted sanctuary at Gwadar to one of the claimants for the throne of Muscat. When that claimant became Sultan, he kept hold of Gwadar, installing a governor, who eventually led an army to conquer the city of Chah Bahar some 200 kilometres to the west. The sultanate held onto the Makran coast throughout the period of British pre-eminence in India, but eventually only Gwadar was left in the hands of the sultan. On the formation of Pakistan, Makran became a district within the province of Balochistan, minus an area of 800 km² around Gwadar. The enclave was finally transferred in 1958 to Pakistani control as part of the district of Makran. The entire region has been subdivided into new smaller districts over the years.

Integrating into Middle Eastern society

Integrating into the Middle East has been much easier for Pakistanis since Islam is the dominant religion for both communities. Both communities share similar values and cultures, which has been the primary reason for so many Pakistanis to settle in the Middle East. It is mandatory for every Muslim who is able (financially as well as physically) to perform hajj in Saudi Arabia at least once in his or her lifetime.

Saudi Arabia

United Arab Emirates




Other countries