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Pakistanis in the United Arab Emirates
Total population
1,500,000 (2017) [1]
12.53% of the UAE's population [2] [3]
Regions with significant populations
Abu Dhabi · Dubai · Sharjah · Al Ain · Ras Al Khaimah
Urdu [a] · Punjabi · Pashto · Sindhi · Balochi · Saraiki  · Pahari-Pothwari · Brahui · Kashmiri · Arabic · other Pakistani languages
Islam · Christianity [5] [6] · Hinduism [7]

Pakistanis in the United Arab Emirates include expatriates from Pakistan who have settled in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), With a population of over 1.5 million, [8] Pakistanis are the second largest national group in the UAE after Indians, constituting 12.5% of the country's total population. [3] They are the third largest overseas Pakistani community, behind the Pakistani diaspora in Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. The population is diverse and consists of people from all over Pakistan, including Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA, Balochistan, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan. The majority of Pakistanis are Muslim, with significant minorities of Christians, Hindus and other religions. The majority are found in Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively, while a significant population is spread out in Sharjah and the remaining Northern Emirates. Dubai alone accounts for a Pakistani population of 400,000. [8]


A Pakistan vs. India cricket match at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi

From the time when heavy Pakistani migration occurred to the Middle East, a number of Pakistanis went to the United Arab Emirates. While many tend to be skilled and semi-skilled professionals, [9] most are unskilled migrant workers. [10] Pakistanis outnumber Emirati nationals in three of UAE's emirates: Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman. [11]


Pakistani ethnic groups with significant populations include Punjabis, Pashtuns, Sindhis, Baloch, Muhajirs and smaller populations of Saraikis, Kashmiris, Hindkowans and other ethnic groups. There are also smaller populations of Pakistani expatriates from other countries who live and work in the UAE, such as British Pakistanis [12] and Pakistani Canadians. [13]

Economic contribution

Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates maintain strong economic relations with each other, with the UAE being the second biggest trading partner of Pakistan in terms of bilateral trade. [14] A large skilled and semi-skilled Pakistani workforce contributes to the UAE economy. Around 20% of Pakistanis are white-collar professions, and the remaining 80% are involved in the blue-collar industry. [15] The ratio of blue-collar Pakistani labour migrating to the UAE has dropped since 2008, although the volume of remittances has increased. [16] Pakistan ranks among the top five sources of migrant professionals in the UAE. [17] The United Arab Emirates is a major investment destination for Pakistan. Pakistanis are among the top ten investors in the UAE property market, ranking as the second largest nationality that bought most property in Dubai. [18] Many wealthy Pakistanis have bought expensive properties in Dubai and have second homes there. [19] [20] Pakistani expatriates in the UAE are actively involved in the country's business, investment and services sectors. The UAE is the second largest source of remittances to Pakistan; in 2012, remittances from the UAE amounted to $2.9 billion. [14]

Pakistani Professionals

Pakistanis in UAE dominate the transport sector i.e. from logistics to crane operators and up to taxi drivers. There are many Pakistani bankers working in various local and multinational banks. It is not uncommon to find Pakistani Professionals working in various Multinationals in UAE. There are many Pakistani restaurants in UAE owned and run by these expatriate Pakistanis.

Community Representation

There are number of organisations which represent Pakistanis in UAE. Some of them are as follows:

  1. Pakistan Business Council (PBC)
  2. Pakistan Association of Dubai (PAD)
  3. Pakistan Professional Wing (PPW)
  4. Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP)- UAE Chapter Wing
  5. Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Alumni - UAE Chapter


The Pakistani community in the UAE celebrates Independence Day with much fervour. [21] Urdu, being the national language of Pakistan, is a principal language of the community. [22]

See also


  1. ^ Also known as Lashkari (لشکری) [4]


  1. ^ [ bare URL PDF]
  2. ^ "UAE´s population – by nationality". BQ Magazine. 12 April 2015. Archived from the original on 11 July 2015. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  3. ^ a b "United Arab Emirates: Demography" (PDF). Encyclopædia Britannica World Data. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 15 March 2008.
  4. ^ Mingo, Ariadna Saiz. "Pantallosos: mantenimiento de la lengua de herencia en la diáspora." Lenguas Modernas 58 (2021): 219-242.
  5. ^ Teller, Matthew (12 July 2015). "Free to pray - but don't try to convert anyone". BBC. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  6. ^ Christian community in UAE remembers victims of Lahore attacks
  7. ^ "Hindu temple a symbol of UAE's culture of tolerance". Yahoo Maktoob. 30 August 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Pakistan asks expatriates for aid - the National". Archived from the original on 2011-02-04. Retrieved 2010-11-16.
  9. ^ "Thirty-seven years in UAE and looking forward to more". 2 December 2012.
  10. ^ "UAE bidoon celebrate National Day as Emiratis | the National". Archived from the original on 2013-11-26. Retrieved 2015-04-04.
  11. ^ "Pakistanis outnumber Emiratis in three UAE states". The Express Tribune. 2015-08-07. Retrieved 2021-10-11.
  12. ^ Roy, Ananya; Ong, Aihwa (2011). Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments and the Art of Being Global. John Wiley & Sons. p. 170. ISBN  9781444346770. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  13. ^ Aulakh, Raveena (28 May 2011). "'Colony of wives' thrives in Mississauga". The Star. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  14. ^ a b Ahmed, Ashfaq (23 September 2013). "UAE delegation to participate in Pakistan Expo". Gulf News. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  15. ^ Pakistan’s poor handling brings UAE, India closer
  16. ^ Sun, Yan; Kock, Udo (1 August 2011). Remittances in Pakistan: Why have they gone up, and why Aren't they coming down?. International Monetary Fund. p. 10. ISBN  9781463901622.
  17. ^ UAE is the global leader in attracting migrating professionals, study finds
  18. ^ "Pakistanis bought property worth 16bn dirhams in Dubai". 17 February 2015.
  19. ^ Zaheer, Farhan (28 June 2013). "DAMAC Properties: Dubai-based developer to tour Pakistan this week". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  20. ^ "Revealed: Which nationalities bought most property in Dubai". Emirates 24/7. 27 October 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  21. ^ "Pakistanis in UAE to celebrate I-Day with fervour". Yahoo Maktoob. 11 August 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  22. ^ Bridging gaps, Indo-Pak poets share the stage