; also known as Pakistani British people or Pakistani Britons) are citizens or residents of the United Kingdom whose ancestral roots lie in Pakistan.
This includes people born in the UK who are of Pakistani descent, and Pakistani-born people who have migrated to the UK.
The majority of British Pakistanis originate from the Azad Kashmir and Punjab regions, with a smaller number from other parts of Pakistan including Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
The UK is home to the largest Pakistani community in Europe, with the population of British Pakistanis exceeding 1.17 million.
His parents were getting an interest in me because of my qualifications, compared to those of other girls [she has a BSc in botany and MSc in psychology].‘His parents came over and it was decided. On our engagement day, in November 2011, both sets of parents were here but Shabaz remained in London because of his work. He asked me about my qualifications and family and what kind of person I am.’ (She says that the superiority of her own education compared with her husband’s is not an issue.)Five hundred guests attended the wedding across the Ravi River from Lahore. Once, it was the main artery of the British Raj and the writer Rudyard Kipling described it as ‘such a river of life as nowhere else exists in the world’.
Today, that river leads those who live alongside it to every corner of the world. I hope her marriage to Shabaz will be a success — indeed, many arranged marriages do work.
‘In 2010, Shabaz’s mother called my father about agreeing an engagement. The minimum time is about six months.’That was a world away from Shaista’s tumbledown neighbourhood — typical of where so many of these stories begin in the settlements along the Grand Trunk Road, that fabled highway that runs 1,500 miles from modern-day Bangladesh, through India and Pakistan to the Afghan capital Kabul.
British Pakistanis are the second largest ethnic minority population in the United Kingdom and also make up the second largest subgroup of British Asians.
In addition, they are one of the largest overseas Pakistani communities, similar in number to the Pakistani diaspora in Saudi Arabia.
But the rural Pakistani tradition of arranged or even forced marriages — sometimes to strangers or, more often, first cousins — of girls or young women to men living in the UK remains a troubling issue. She is a small woman in a woollen hat, with bright eyes behind thick glasses.
We meet at her ‘safe house’ in Britain — a dismal terrace in a town far from her former marital home.