7 types of Pakistani immigrants you’re likely to come across in Canada

Published: September 10, 2014

Once a Pakistani, always a Pakistani. Oh but they forget so easily. PHOTO: FILE

It’s been a little over a year since my immigrant status got confirmed in Canada and I have met some interesting kinds of Pakistanis. Immigrants who tend to fall in a certain ‘type’. Even I fit in there somewhere.

This is based solely on my observation and interaction. At the risk of over-generalisation, here goes:

1. Perpetual Complainers Inc. (PCI):

‘I complained in Pakistan. I’ll complain here. Stop me if you can.’

In Pakistan, they complained about the skin-sizzling heat. In Canada, they complain about the mind-numbing cold. Back home the hoard of house helpers was too much to handle. Now, they whine about doing all the work themselves. Back home it was the terrorists. Around here it’s the serial killers and the sociopaths. Trust them to come up with the worst possible scenario in the worst possible situation.

Source: Tumblr

2. The Un-settlers: 

‘Oh we are leaving as soon as we get our passports!’

They never fully unpack, be it their material assets or minds. They never buy a house; if it were up to them, they’d live in a motel until their passport mission finished. They don’t travel. They don’t spend unnecessary money. Immigrant gypsies, as I like to call them.

All this trouble, for what? For starters, they understand the power of their blue passports. Their children may come back to Canada for a higher education or they may even use the passports for better employment opportunities back home. But like a troop on a mission, they make little to none human connection.

Source: Tumblr

3. Thou shalt compare relentlessly: 

‘There’s no place like Canada. Back home we never…’

Oh these are true lovers of Canada. Everything from the weather, to the people, to the infrastructure and welfare; their hearts sing for their new home. But they never stop comparing everything with Pakistan. Standing at a bank, they can be caught thinking:

‘Oh if this were Pakistan, I’d have high blood pressure by now, considering the lack of queues and a proper system.’

Or when a police car passes by:

‘Look at those responsible, honest policemen. Back home police is the most despised profession.’

Source: Tumblr

They’d be discussing Canadian politics at someone’s dinner party and suddenly talks about corrupt Pakistani politicians would pop up. Canada is their utopia, so they wouldn’t be caught dead saying anything bad about the country. Like an over-competitive parent, maybe it is their inborn love for Pakistan that compels this insane criticism. Or maybe they just love finding faults. For them, it’s never greener on the other side.

4. The Opportunistic Clan: 

‘I will never mingle with these goras (but I will eat up their welfare.)’

These are people who might look at their surroundings with contempt. From their clothes to their actions, they make sure everyone knows how serious they are about their identity and more specifically, their religion. They won’t let their children mingle with the locals nor will they let them enrol in any activities that could lead to too much exposure of the new culture. They will hardly ever be seen in parks, theatres, or cultural events. Oh but they will find all possible methods to show eligibility for benefit options, like employment, health, children education, old age etcetera.

Source: Tumblr

5. The Forgetful: 

‘Pakistani? No no, I am Canadian! See I love Tim Horton and I have an accent and all.’

They buried their Pakistani passports the minute they landed in Canada. And if they were born and bred here, they don’t have much to forget about Pakistan in the first place. From their clothes to their beliefs, everything is Canadian. Their children have as much knowledge of Pakistan, as Arabs do about poverty. But that doesn’t change the reality. Once a Pakistani, always a Pakistani. Oh but they forget so easily…

Source: Tumblr

6. The Homesick: 

Converting the price of a $5 toothbrush and saying, ‘Oh Rs500 for a tooth brush?!’

These immigrants are stuck in a time warp and can’t make peace with the fact that they are no longer in Pakistan. Grocery shopping with them can be excruciating. Mental math conversions, fantasies of Pakistani tailors, lawn designer exhibitions and hand-made roti (flat bread) are only some of their homesick remedies that make them feel better.

Source: Pandawhale

7. The Assimilators: 

‘I will make the most of it.’

These people understand that they chose to immigrate, for a better future, for better education or for whatever reason; no one forced them to come. So they try and make the most of it. A stark opposite of the ‘un-settlers’, these immigrants tend to assimilate in their environment without much trouble.

Source: Imgur

They hold on to the important values, which they grew up with, but are always open to new customs and ideas. They make new friends, travel and encourage relatives and friends back home to immigrate too! Yet their love for Pakistan doesn’t die. If anything, it gets stronger.

nida.shahzeb

Nida Shahzeb

A Canada-based writer who strives to give meaning to life and its quirks. Also suffering from delusions involving a mutant alphabet bite. She blogs at: www.inkriched.com.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Moiz Omar

    As a Pakistani Canadian I approve this article. And I really miss Tim Hortons. Wish it was also available in Pakistan. I really miss the French Vanilla.Recommend

  • sylmarkhan

    I like your post! Recommend

  • Nomad1412

    Yep, No 4 is Qadri.
    Recommend

  • Shez

    I did not expect such columns in a news publication like ET. Come on ET, you can do better than to entertain such articles.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    Such a waste of time… Recommend

  • raw is war

    You forgot the eight type. The ones who want to convert Canada to Pakistan.Recommend

  • Khan

    you forgot to mention another type. People like tahir ul qadriRecommend

  • نائلہ

    Lol half my family is a number 6Recommend

  • NS

    Which one are you ?Recommend

  • ahmad

    hahahahah…very rightly saidRecommend

  • I am a Khan

    I honestly think I am a mixture of all 7. There are parts of each of these 7 charactertistics in me. But I love Canada, expecially Toronto. For me Toronto is Canada! but Pakistan (actually Karachi) is my identity. Many a times I have secretly wished if Karachi was made a separate country, I would get rid of the bad name associated with Pakistan and be a Canadian of Karachian origin. :) wishful thinking.Recommend

  • sidneysaad

    i can bet you are type 7 ..Recommend

  • Moiz Omar

    Always. There always has to be that one person which has to be negative.Recommend

  • zikri

    There are more little India’s in Canada than little Pakistans, just travel to surrey or Brampton, heck ask any Canadian about Indian gangs in southern B.C,they’ll give you an earful.Recommend

  • Bilal_K

    This is not a column. Its a blog. Don’t like it? Move on.Recommend

  • Bilal_K

    So you don’t have mullahs who want to implement shariah in Canada?Recommend

  • Parvez

    Although this was fun, it read like something one has read many a time…….and being a writer you could have come up an original twist, so as to really interest the reader.Recommend

  • نائلہ

    Listen bro, no need to bring another country in this. Recommend

  • LS

    Right on the dot buddy, thank you! Always reminding others what they should or should not do and forgetting to apply common sense.Recommend

  • Humza

    In general Arab countries are perceived more negatively than other Muslim countries . I live in North America and most people I come across understand that your average Pakistani is against extremism but a small minority of people, often with foreign funding are behind terrorism and violence. You should explain this too.
    As a native Pakistan, I identify will all regions of the country and I would never wish our identity to be associated with my city only. That’s the majority view and this is why you see so many proud Pakistani associations across North America.Recommend

  • Guest

    Good on you for reminding us of another type.Recommend

  • umer anwer niagara falls ontar

    Quite amusing but very true as an immigrant I felt as I had all these features and now have found closure as being the assimilator type.Recommend

  • Mehak Iqbal

    ” once a Pakistani always a Pakistani ” I wish more people try and be proud of this fact.Recommend

  • S Hashmi

    I live in Vancouver, British Columbia. Having lived in Pakistan, Europe, Toronto, Middle East and USA, Vancouver is by far the best place to live. The scenery – mountains, ocean, evergreen trees, then the weather. The weather in Vancouver is the most moderate in Canada. In winter, we do get close to 0 C, but there is no wind chill. So you don’t really feel it. We do get the occasional snow. In the summer, its a bearable 25 – 30 C and a light breeze is always there. Vancouver has consistently been amongst the top livable cities in the world. Here in Vancouver, there are not as many Pakistanis as there are in Toronto. But in my opinion, the Pakistanis living here in Vancouver fall mostly in category 3.Recommend

  • Roshaan

    Your observations are so subjective. everyone has their own reason for emigration and subsequently their own experience.Recommend

  • Grace

    You also have people like Tahirul Qadri who came here as refugees and don’t work but live on state khayrat or so called welfare. What I can’t understand is why so many “religious people” in North America and UK prefer to live on welfare and pay no taxes but still curse Western society. Recommend

  • Canadian

    Another type who love Pakistan and Pakistanis and always compare bad things in Canada to bad things in Pakistan and say so whats bad if Pakistan also have it…Recommend

  • Adil Uddin

    I am also an Overseas Pakistani living in Canada but Pakistaniyat is something that has left neither me nor my parents or brothers, even though I never lived in Pakistan but was raised in Oman till the age of 17. But even there we used to visit Pakistan during Summers.

    In Toronto suburbs too there’s a huge population of Pakistanis who celebrate different national, cultural and religious festivals every year. We continue to follow up with Pakistani sports and athletes, and whatever happens back home. Yes, there are problems and issues over there but what’s wrong in being hopeful? Honestly , there are many Pakistanis over here including youngsters who sometimes dream about moving back to Pakistan when situation there gets better.
    Canada has got a lot of chances in terms of education and other factors, but still Pakistan is Pakistan, and the feeling of living in your land amongst people of your own race, background and culture……in others your ‘Apne loug’ is way different and unique.
    I have interacted with all the 7 types and would classify myself as a hybrid of all except Number 5 and 6.Recommend

  • Lol

    Lighten up…its funny.
    Don’t take everything personally…all just good humour.Recommend

  • Akbar

    You can be either Pakistani or Canadian, Not both .Recommend

  • saswath

    really…where do you live actually..on mars?Recommend

  • Moiz Omar

    Why can’t I? I love both countries and I hold the citizenship of both countries. And what if somebody was born to one Pakistani parent and one Canadian parent? What then? Couldn’t the child embrace both of his/her heritage then? He/she could only embrace one part of his/her heritage?Recommend

  • Moiz Omar

    What is wrong with it?Recommend

  • Moiz Omar

    Vancouver is a really nice city. And it was so patriotic when it held the 2010 Winter Olympics.Recommend

  • Moiz Omar

    Can’t you also embrace the identity of the country you immigrate too? Can’t you be that and a Pakistani together?Recommend

  • Malveros

    Well done to the Author.Recommend

  • Gp65

    Wonderful blog. I think the exact same categories probably apply to Indians in US also. Though the unsetler phenomenon is perhaps specific to Canada.

    There is one more category of atleast Indian immigrants in African countries. The preservers. After living for many many generations in Kenya/ tanzania etc – they still eat the same food, observe the same fesivals, speak the same language as when they left India which may even be 150 years back. India has changed in the last 150 years but they haven’t.Recommend

  • Gp65

    India does not even allow dual citizenship but does that stop me from loving India? And both my parents are Indian and live in India, so I do not even belong to situation of one parent from each culture. So my only reason for dscribing myself as Indian American is that I love both countries. Was born and raised in one and live and work in the other.

    This is no different from when girl gets married and goes to sasural she does not stop being part of her parents’ family though now she lives with her in laws and probably has a different last name.

    So i totally agree that you CAN be part of both. In fact the group described as assiminlators would probably fall in that category.Recommend

  • Gp65

    You said it.Recommend

  • Sana

    This article is quite stupid and not very funny! Secondly, welfare doesn’t belong to goras, it belongs to everyone and hence it’s called welfare! There might be hints of truth here and there but these types of immigrants all over the world, nothing unique about them being in Canada as well.Recommend

  • Hameedullah

    Bad name associated with pakistan?! How would you get rid of the bad name associated with Karachi?Recommend

  • Adeel

    That’s not just for Canada it is where ever migration is going on. And also not restricted to Pakistani migrants. I live in New Zealand and in my community we have all of these different type of immigrants. Good writing though. Recommend

  • keaga

    lolzzz….great blog amusingly written….had a nice chuckle…thanksRecommend

  • Syed Irfan Haider

    Hi Sir!
    I want to study in Vancouver because i Love its weather and I hate cold weather. I lived in South Dakato for 4 months it was really cold. Can u plz give me ur contact. I need some guidance.
    Thank u.Recommend

  • Alan Faqeer

    Par Excellence!! sweet article.Recommend

  • Johnny

    OH CRAP!! I’m No.3… I don’t want to be No.3… I want to be no.5…Please make me no.5…. see i dont even know who’s Tim Horton…more work for me…Recommend

  • Usman Akhtar
  • Omer

    Good post…due to these gifs I was unable to read it properly.Recommend