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Pakistani culture

Initial migration from the Indian subcontinent to Britain began in the 17th century and Pakistanis are now the third largest ethnic minority group in Britain.

Pakistani society is traditionally multilingual and multicultural. As a result, cultures differ in various regions of Pakistan. This diverse culture has been transmitted to Britain although, after over 50 years of integration, a British Pakistani culture has developed particularly in urban areas such as Bury. Approximately one fifth of people from Pakistani backgrounds are self-employed which is more than any other ethnic group.

Values and tradition

Many cultural practices, foods, monuments and shrines were inherited by Pakistan from the rule of Muslim Mughal and Afghan emperors. The national dress is Shalwar Kameez which is worn by many Pakistani men and women in Bury as well as western clothing. Shalwar (loose trousers) and Kameez (a long shirt) can also be accompanied with a Karakuli hat by men or a Hijab head scarf by women.

Religious practices are an integral part of everyday life for many and 96% of people of Pakistani origin are Muslims. Education is also highly regarded and traditional family values are highly respected and considered sacred. In extended families, the network of relatives acts as a close-knit community and can include cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.


Urdu is the official language of Pakistan with regional language variations also spoken such as Punjabi, Sinhdi, Pushto and Kashmiri. English is also widely spoken by most Pakistanis in Bury, especially the younger generations and it is also common for Pakistani children in Britain to learn Arabic (the sacred language of Islam).


Pakistani music is represented by a wide variety of forms. It ranges from traditional styles (such as Qawwali which dates back more than 700 years) to more modern forms that fuse traditional Pakistani music with western music. The 'Lollywood' film industry has seen recent expansion and the production of Urdu films exported to Britain from Lahore has grown extensively.


Pakistani food is similar to that of northern India, with an influence of Persian, Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisines. Dishes such as chapattis, dhal, samosas and tikkas form the basis of many Pakistani restaurant menus in the UK and the cuisine has had a major impact on British culture. Balti (meaning bucket) is a Pakistani dish that was introduced in Birmingham by the Kashmiri population in the 1980s and is now considered a favourite with all communities in the UK.

In your area

Position of Bury in the North West
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