Barcelona has the largest Pakistani community in Spain with officially more than 13,000 residents, 90% of whom are men. Outside Britain, Barcelona is the city with the most concentrated population of Pakistanis in Europe. Here are a couple of interesting links on I came across.
It was one of those early evenings, when my mind was wondering and revealing the epiphanies of La Rambla. I was enjoying my coffee in a cafe, watching the mimes entertaining the passersby when a somewhat familiar figure stood in front of me. He was selling flowers and was familiar because he looked like as if he belonged to my part of the world. The words that were coming out of his mouth were Spanish, so I gave it a shot. I asked him in Urdu, where was he from? His eyes lit up when he realized that I too was from his part of the world.
“Jhelum”, he said. In the ensuing conversation, he revealed that he was living there illegally. He had hitched a boat ride to Almeira and in eight months had finally made it to Barcelona. He had applied for a work permit and while that was in the process, he had found a job in a fast-food place. To supplement his income he sold flowers at night. He said he made about 400 to 500 euros a month. He lived with eight other people in a house. His expenses were for the bare minimum. Whatever amount he could save he would send it home. This was my first meeting with a trakhero, meaning foreigner.
After living here a bit I began to sense that Barcelona probably had the highest concentration of Pakistani immigrants in all of Spain, consisting mostly of men, many of whom seemed to come from the Punjab. Recently I discovered a couple of interesting reports that actually confirm these perceptions: Multiculturalism and Health and Immigration, Education and the Labour Market. For example, the first one states that 95% of Pakistanis in Barcelona are male and are not only from the Punjab but from a particular city there – Gujrat. The second report claims that 69% of Pakistanis living in Spain live in the province of Barcelona.
La discreta comunidad pakistaní de Barcelona crece sin cesar (La Vanguardia)
- Wikipedia Pakistanis began settling in Spain, mainly in the city centre of Barcelona, as early as the 1970s, and most Pakistanis in Spain still reside there…Punjabi is the most common first language among Pakistanis in Spain, reported by 63.6% of one survey group in Barcelona….In Barcelona, the two mosques most frequented by Pakistanis are the Tariq ben Zyad Mosque and the Minhaj ul-Quran Mosque. The Tariq ben Zyad Mosque, on the calle Elisabets, was founded in 1981. It is named for Tariq ibn Ziyad, the general who led the Muslim conquest of Spain beginning in 711, and belongs to the Tablighi Jamaat movement. The Minhaj ul-Quran Mosque, founded in 1997, is, as its name indicates, part of the Minhaj-ul-Quran International movement.
- Video on Pakistanis in Barcelona (8 minutes) A look at Pakistan’s recent mass imigration to Barcelona, Spain…focusing on the communities, connections and underground work opportunities for recent immigrants to Spain.
- The problems of Radio Pakcelona
- Islamic Barcelona (Barcelona Metropolitan)