Pakistan - International Development Committee Contents

7  UK Pakistani diaspora

97. There are around 1.07 million people in the Pakistani ethnic group living in the UK. The last figures available on the amount of money being sent back to Pakistan specifically from the UK are from 2010 at £627million[127]—this represented 10% of the total amount of money flowing back into Pakistan from its worldwide diaspora that year.

98. During the inquiry the Committee visited Derby to meet members of the diaspora. We heard about the community's involvement with charity in Pakistan, including raising funds for schools and flood victims. We were also informed of the diaspora's distrust of the Government of Pakistan and public officials due to the corruption and bribery they experience on their visits there. They have therefore tended to finance small individual projects that they worked on in a personal capacity making sure the money they gave was managed by friends or family or even by themselves on visits. The diaspora were very keen to work with DFID to ensure funds were spent wisely through their connections or by volunteering their own time to DFID.

99. According to Anwar Akhtar about 4,000-5,000 British Pakistanis fly out to Pakistan every summer.[128] He said there was a professional class who now wanted to engage with DFID. He wanted to see:

    a small sum of money in the scheme of things, four, five or six million, over a two to three year period, for specific peer to peer engagement between the institutions Pakistan needs to grow, and diaspora organisations who can also talk some blunt truths to power.[129]

He added:

    the potential leverage is huge, and it is game changing, for multiple reasons—cultural, political, strength of voice, level of access, level of engagement, the authority the diaspora has.[130]

He said he found it 'stunning' that DFID did not have an information stall at Manchester airport, saying, "These are our projects; go and have a look whilst you are in Pakistan," to raise awareness.

    The British Pakistani community wants to engage. [...] People trust Human Rights Commission Pakistan; they will send their money. People trust the Edhi Foundation; they will send their money. People trust The Citizens Foundation; people trust Islamic Relief. People are engaging. Bluntly, those organisations are not enough to stabilise Pakistan. What I am trying to say is that you need to work with that channel of activity, and engage DFID.[131]

100. We were interested in how the diaspora could be involved. Michael Green suggested a comparison with the USA and Mexican diaspora:

    The kind of work that has happened in Mexico with the hometown development associations can be a way of saying to the diaspora, "Actually, you get more bang for your buck if you work through these structures to help and get some collective action." [132]

He saw a lot of potential for DFID to use remittances[133] as a pool of development financing and a way of engaging the diaspora in Pakistan's development.[134] He also suggested the use of match funding by DFID.[135]

101. The Secretary of State told us:

    I have the Department working on a piece of work to look at some of these key diaspora groups and how we can engage and work with them in a more, as you say, structured way. Britain is now a very diverse country, and we need to use that diversity and turn it to our advantage.[136]

102. We recommend that DFID explore innovative ways of working with the UK Pakistani diaspora:

  to improve the effectiveness of the development assistance programme, in particular by involving the diaspora in monitoring projects; and

  to align, where appropriate, diaspora funding and remittance flows to Pakistan with DFID supported programmes.

127   State Bank of Pakistan data Back

128   Q81 Back

129   Q81 Back

130   Q81 Back

131   Q82 Back

132   Q44 Back

133   A remittance is a transfer of money by a foreign worker to his or her home country. Back

134   Q44 Back

135   Q44 Back

136   Q146 Back

previous page contents next page

© Parliamentary copyright 2013
Prepared 4 April 2013