Norwegians with Pakistani background

Pakistani Norwegians are Norwegians of Pakistani descent, around half of the Pakistani population in Norway are Punjabis and 65.23% of Pakistani in Norway lives in the capital Oslo.[2] First generation Pakistani Norwegians, who migrate from Pakistan, are distinguished from the mainstream in several demographic aspects, while second-generation Pakistani Norwegians, who are born in Norway, are well established in Norway and have gone on to become professionals and politicians.

Pakistani Norwegian
Total population
39,257 (2019 Official Norway estimate)[1] 0.7% of the Norwegian population
Regions with significant populations
Norwegian, English, Urdu, Punjabi, Saraiki, Sindhi, Pushto, Balochi,
Islam (mostly Sunni) Ahmadiyya, Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Overseas Pakistani

History in NorwayEdit

The initial first generation Pakistani Norwegians arrived in Norway as guest workers during the 1970s, under Norway's then-liberal immigration scheme which allowed for unskilled "guest workers" to temporarily settle in Norway.[3] Most of these immigrants were young men that came from areas surrounding the town of Kharian, in Pakistan's Punjab province, though later waves included a high number of workers from Lahore, Pakistan's second largest city.[4] The law was later amended to allow for already arrived guest workers to permanently settle in Norway. Following stricter immigration laws passed in 1976, Pakistan immigration to Norway shifted from the arrival of new immigrants, to family reunifications, in which Pakistani Norwegians could apply for their close relatives and/or spouses to immigrate to Norway.


Almost 60% of Pakistani Norwegian women born in Norway are employed.[5]

On the other hand, 35.2% of Pakistani immigrant women in Norway are employed. Counting full employment at 30 hours of work per week, 20% of Pakistani immigrant women in Norway were in full-time employment and 8% worked 1 - 19 hours per week.[6]

By excluding part-time employment the statistics also showed that in 2017, males born in Norway with Pakistani heritage aged 30-39 had 16 percentage points lower employment compared to Norwegians.[6]

A study from 2012 revealed high degree of discrimination against jobseekers of Pakistani background:[7] jobseekers with Pakistani names are 25% less likely to get a job interview than jobseekers with Norwegian names - the qualifications of the Norwegian jobseekers and jobseekers of Pakistani heritage, and the job application letters, being identical.

Lifestyle and integrating into Norwegian societyEdit

Children of Pakistani immigrants sometimes struggle when trying to be loyal to both their family's traditional Islamic culture and the one of liberal Scandinavia. Second generation Pakistani Norwegians are sometimes told that they are different from Norwegians, although they feel at home only in Norway, while at home they may also be pressured by their parents to not become "too Norwegian".[4]

Riffat Bashir, Imam of Oslo's largest mosque often invites Norwegian church leaders and non-Muslim citizens to his mosque in order to partake in inter-faith and inter-ethnic dialogue.[3]

Family-related chain migration marriage has been common among Pakistani Norwegians, but has become less common since the year 2000. A decreasing number of second generation Pakistani Norwegians, i.e. Pakistani Norwegians born in Norway, obtain spouses from abroad:[8] In 2010, 81 persons migrated to Norway by marrying a second-generation Pakistani Norwegian. The number of unmarried second-generation Pakistani Norwegians above 17 years increased "from 1 100 in 1998 to 3 700 in 2010".[8] The same trend is seen in the age group 18 to 23 years. In 2012, 24 Pakistanis migrated to Norway by marrying a second-generation Pakistani Norwegian aged 18-23.[9] During the same period, the number of unmarried second-generation Pakistani Norwegians in the same age group increased "from 1,000 in 1998 to 2,700 in 2012".[9]

In 2014, 11 Pakistani spouses migrated to Norway by marrying a second-generation Pakistani Norwegians, aged 18-23.[10] And in 2015, only 3 Pakistani spouses migrated to Norway in connection with marrying a second-generation Pakistani Norwegians, from the age group 18-23 years.[11]

Also fewer and fewer first-generation Pakistani Norwegians, ie Pakistani immigrants in Norway, obtain spouses from abroad.[9] In 2012, 10 Pakistani immigrants in Norway, aged 18-23, married spouses from Pakistan, even though "the number of unmarried immigrants from Pakistan residing in Norway has increased somewhat" in the period 1998 to 2012.[9]

Among young second-generation Pakistani Norwegians, it is now "almost as unusual to be married at the beginning of their twenties" as "it is generally among young people in Norway."[9] This development can be explained by the fact that Pakistani Norwegians today have more potential marriage partners to choose among in Norway, and with the increasing participation of Pakistani Norwegians in higher education.[9]

Second-generation Pakistani-Norwegian women give in average birth to 1,95 children each, the same average as Norwegian women in general.[12]

According to statistics from 2009 Pakistani Norwegians generally had a spouse of Pakistani ancestry. The percentage of males marrying outside their ethnic group were slightly higher than among the females. However more than 1000 children were registered in 2008 to have one Pakistani parent and one with Norwegian background. Thus, there must be more couples of mixed ethnicity having children than the number of marriages indicates.[13]

Partners having the same religious faith is important to 83% of Pakistani migrants in Norway and 77% of the second generation.[14]


The Pakistani Norwegian community does not vote as a bloc for any particular party in Norway. Rather, there is a diversity of political beliefs, demonstrated by support for a variety of parties. Many Pakistani Norwegian politicians have been successful in their political campaigns. Hadia Tajik who was born in Norway of Pakistani parents became minister of culture in 2012. She is elected to the parliament from Oslo, and is (2018) vice chair of the Labour Party. Akhtar Chaudhry was until 2013 Member of Parliament and vice-president of the Parliament representing the Socialist Left Party. He migrated to Norway from Pakistan in 1982 and was the former head of the Pakistan Norwegian Welfare Organization.

Afshan Rafiq is a former member of Stortinget for Conservative Party. She still is still (2018) a deputy MP, representing the Oslo electoral district. Abid Raja is a Member of Parliament representing the Liberal Party from the Akershus electoral district.

Many Pakistani Norwegians are also involved in lower-level political life as members of regional councils and city councils. They have been particularly well represented in the Oslo city council, where they made up 10% of council members from 2003 to 2007.[15]

Media & EntertainmentEdit

Deeyah is the first mainstream recording artist of Pakistani heritage in Norway and is the first and only female World music producer of Norwegian Pakistani descent. Since 2006/07, she completely stopped performing as an artist, instead turning her focus to producing and composing music. Deeyah has produced Listen To The Banned,[16] an internationally acclaimed album, followed by Nordic Woman.[17] Deeyah is also known for her outspoken activism for women's rights, peace and freedom of expression. She has directed and produced a documentary film about honour killings named Banaz a Love Story.[18] The film received an Emmy Award, a Peabody Award and a Best Norwegian Documentary award at the Bergen International Film Festival. Deeyah has been awarded the 2012 Ossietzky prize which is Norwegian PEN´s prize for outstanding achievements within the field of freedom of expression[19] In 2016 Khan became the inaugural UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Artistic Freedom and Creativity.

Adil Khan is a theatre and screen actor in Norway. He has played the lead role in a range of Norwegian productions from the hit series Taxi to The Jungle Book, West Side Story to @lice. He is also the judge on Norske Talenter.

Attia Bano Qamar is the first girl from Oslo, Norway to represent Pakistan in the Miss Pakistan World pageant and went on to represent Pakistan in international pageants, Miss Globe and Queen of the World.

Mah-Rukh Ali is the first news anchor of foreign descent working for Norway's state broadcasting network, the NRK - although another Pakistani Norwegian, Noman Mubashir, is the first personality of foreign descent on Norwegian TV and hosted the multi-ethnic programme, Migrapolis, before hosting a Saturday night entertainment show. Zahid Ali, another Pakistani Norwegian, joined the ranks of minorities on Norwegian television by participating in the comedy program Rikets Røst on TV2.

Ulrik Imtiaz Rolfsen is a Pakistani Norwegian who directed three movies, including Izzat, a story which follows Wasim and his youth gang years in the 1980s to his young adult years in the 1990s. The film is set in Oslo and deals with the double standards in a tough Pakistani Norwegian gang environment. It relates directly to the difficulty of being raised as a Muslim immigrant in western countries. The word Izzat means honour in Urdu. A number of Pakistani Norwegians were featured in this film, and a small portion was filmed in Lahore, Pakistan.


Almost 10% of the medical students in Oslo are of Pakistani heritage.[20] The figure is significant as Pakistani Norwegians only constitute 3.67% of Oslo's population. The proportion of Pakistani Norwegians, born and raised in Norway, in higher education at university level is higher than the Norwegian national average.[21] Amongst Pakistani Norwegians born and raised in Pakistan the share is 17%, the same as the average for immigrants to Norway in general.[22]

Higher social pressure within the Pakistani Norwegian community push children into prestigious professions. Professions popular among Pakistani Norwegians has been dubbed collectively as ALI-professions, with ALI being an acronym for the Norwegian words for lawyer, doctor and engineer. There is supposedly a noticeable slow shift where Pakistani Norwegians children are making educational choices regarded as less prestigious among Pakistanis.[23]

Around 72.4% of second-generation of Pakistanis living in Norway are college-educated, almost at par with the statistics for overall Norwegians, reveals a survey conducted by the Ministry of Education of Norway.[24]

Internationally renowned researchers are, among others, Farrukh Abbas Chaudhry (medicine)[25][26][27] and Shah Nawaz (petroleum chemistry),[28][29] and the physicist Kalbe Razi Naqvi.[30]

Notable Pakistani NorwegiansEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^ Strazny, Philipp (1 February 2013). Encyclopedia of Linguistics. Routledge. ISBN 9781135455224 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ a b Bevanger, Lars (2004-09-23). "South Asia | Oslo's trendy Pakistani hotspot". BBC News. Retrieved 2012-03-26.
  4. ^ a b "a multi-ethnic country". Norway. Archived from the original on 28 April 2006. Retrieved 2012-03-26.
  5. ^ Pileberg, Silje. "Fra husmor til yrkesaktiv på én generasjon". Institutt for sosiologi og samfunnsgeografi.
  6. ^ a b Stavrum, Gunnar. "Nye innvandrertall: Under halvparten er i full jobb". Nettavisen (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2018-10-27.
  7. ^ Hellevang, Synne; Støre, Maria; Drønen, Odin; Egeland, Henrik Follesø. "Innvandrere bytter navn for å få jobb: –⁠ Jeg vil bare bli møtt som norsk". Universitas.
  8. ^ a b Henriksen, Kristin (13 April 2012). "Mindre vanlig med ekteskapsinnvandring til barn av innvandrere". Statistisk sentralbyrå.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Sandnes, Toril og Henriksen, Kristin (2014). "Familieinnvandring og ekteskapsmønster 1990-2012". Statistisk Sentralbyrå/Rapporter. Statistisk sentralbyrå. 36 (11). ISBN 978-82-537-8902-6.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ Sandnes, Toril (19 October 2015). "Familieinnvandring til Norge 1990-2014: Flere familiegjenforeninger enn nye ekteskap". Statistisk sentralbyrå.
  11. ^ Dzamarija, Minja Tea og Sandnes, Toril (2016). "Familieinnvandring og ekteskapsmønster 1990-2015". Statistisk Sentralbyrå/Rapporter. Statistisk sentralbyrå. 38 (39). ISBN 978-82-537-9447-1.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ Saugestad, Kjetil (10 December 2011). "Feil eller fakta om islam". Norsk rikskringkasting.
  13. ^ Lars Østby (2013-10-01). "Norway's population groups of developing countries' origin - Change and integration". Statistisk sentralbyrå. Retrieved 2017-07-26.
  14. ^ "Barn av innvandrere velger ofte partner med innvandrerbakgrunn". (in Norwegian Bokmål). Retrieved 2018-08-11.
  15. ^ Ønsker flere pakistanere i Norge VG, September 9, 2006
  16. ^ Howard Male (2010-12-12). "Album: Various artists, Listen to the Banned (Freemuse)". Retrieved 2012-08-19.
  17. ^ "Deeyah Presents Nordic Woman". Retrieved 2012-08-19.
  18. ^ Tracy McVeigh (2012-09-22). "'They're following me': chilling words of girl who was 'honour killing' victim". Retrieved 2012-11-13.
  19. ^ "Deeyah awarded Ossietzky Prize by Norwegian PEN". 2012-11-12. Retrieved 2012-11-13.
  20. ^ "Dagens Medisin: - Studenter med holdninger". Archived from the original on 2013-02-22. Retrieved 2012-03-26.
  21. ^ Aftenposten: Ali inntar akademia
  22. ^ Integrerings- og mangfoldsdirektoratet: Kunnskapsbasen Archived 2011-07-19 at the Wayback Machine (Google translation)
  23. ^ Anders Veberg (2016-02-17). "Norsk-pakistanske barn presses til å bli leger og advokater". Aftenposten. Retrieved 2017-07-24.
  24. ^ 72% of second-generation Pakistanis in Norway are college-educated: report
  25. ^ Aftenposten: Fikk gull - og kongevisitt Archived October 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ The Chaudhry group at the Biotechnology Centre of Oslo Archived December 11, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ Farrukh official page at University of Oslo
  28. ^ "E24: Norskpakistansk forsker på eksklusiv lederliste". Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2012-03-26.
  29. ^ Pellam, John L. (2000). The Europe 500: Leaders for the New Century (2005). ISBN 978-1882292196.
  30. ^ "Store norske leksikon: Kalbe Razi Naqvi". Retrieved 2012-03-26.

External linksEdit