Americans in Pakistan

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Americans in Pakistan
Total population
52,486 (2015)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Karachi · Lahore · Islamabad · Peshawar
American English · Urdu · Punjabi
Protestantism · Roman Catholicism · Islam
Related ethnic groups

Americans in Pakistan (Urdu: امریکی ) form a sizeable expatriate community. According to Pakistan's Ministry of Interior, there were 52,486 American citizens residing in Pakistan as of 2015.[1] Some of them are Pakistani Americans who have returned to Pakistan.[2] Many Pakistani Americans returned during the unstable conditions post-September 11 attacks and the global financial crisis.[3]

According to early statistics of 1999 based on registrations with the local American embassy and consulates, there were over 4,200 Americans in the country, with 2,100 in Pakistan's financial capital Karachi, about 1,250 in Lahore, 506 in Islamabad and 375 in Peshawar.[4]

Employment and social life[edit]

Most American expatriates in Pakistan tend to be professionals in white collar jobs.[citation needed] America also maintains a large diplomatic and military contingent in the country; media reports claim that as of 2009, in addition to 275 diplomats, there are more than a thousand US Marines providing security to diplomatic personnel, and hundreds more unregistered officials living in private houses. This represents significant growth over 1999, when the American diplomatic contingent in the country barely exceeded one hundred people. However, Pakistani officials deny the reports of more than a thousand US Marines in the country.[5]

For the American community in Karachi, the American Club once was the centre of their social life.[6] There is also an American School of Karachi, but as of 2013 it had only a handful of American students and teachers.[7]

In late 2009, Pakistan held up many visas for U.S. diplomats, military service members and others, because of hostility inside Pakistan toward the expansion of U.S. operations in the country,[8] while many suspected Americans living in Pakistan were detained following five American terrorists linked to Al-Qaeda arrested in Sargodha.[9][10][11]

Relations with Pakistani society[edit]

In the latter half of 2009, many media organizations reported about the possible presence in Pakistan of personnel from the American private military corporation Xe (formerly Blackwater).[citation needed] Several American suspects were arrested in Pakistan.[12] The presence of these American personnel has been a controversial issue in Pakistani media and has caused uproar in the general public, with people questioning their activities in the country and viewing them as spies.

Pakistani newspapers claim that American diplomats in Pakistan carried automatic weapons without a license, attacked local citizens, and cursed at local policemen.[13][14] They have also allegedly dodged law enforcement personnel and security screenings on motorways,[15] airports and elsewhere on multiple occasions. In January 2011, an American national and CIA contractor Raymond Davis was involved in a shootout that killed three Pakistanis in Lahore, resulting in a diplomatic rift between Pakistan and the United States.[16] Davis was later freed by the Pakistani government and the families of the victims were paid compensation, in spite of large public opposition to his acquittal. In February 2011, American citizen Aaron Mark DeHaven was arrested in Peshawar after he was found allegedly overstaying his visa illegally. He was later deported. In May 2011, an American national Mathew Greg Bennett was tailed and arrested by law enforcement agencies in Rawalpindi on claims of involvement in suspicious activities.[17] In June 2011, an American citizen living in Pakistan with his Pakistani wife and family, Mathew Craig Barret, was arrested in Islamabad. Barret was suspected to be spying on the country's nuclear facilities and was blacklisted by the interior ministry after he had dodged an earlier arrest allegedly after being found doing "suspicious activities." Following a police raid in his house, he was put in lock-up jail[18] and was to be deported and prevented from entering the country.[19] On 12 June 2011, yet another American national was arrested, this time in Sukkur; David Sat, who was working for an NGO, was detained by authorities after he was found to have overstayed his visa by two months. A case was registered against him.[20][21] Pakistani security and defence expert Shireen Mazari, who is also known for being a vocal critic of American policies, once had a verbal brawl in an Islamabad restaurant with an American man whom she later referred to as a "bloody CIA agent"; Mazari said that suspicious looking Americans are prevalent in large numbers in Islamabad, operating under the cover of diplomacy, and that they are "running loose in Islamabad intimidating whomever they choose."[22]

Pakistan has blacklisted many American non-governmental organizations and media personalities and denied visas to US nationals.[23][24]

In 2011, after continuous scrutiny and following the death of Osama bin Laden in his compound in Abbottabad which caused a diplomatic controversy between Pakistan and the United States, the Pakistani government and the military establishment ordered the reduction of the number of American personnel present in Pakistan. Consequently, many American security personnel were dumped and forced to leave the country.[25]

In 2003, the American actor Erik Audé was arrested and imprisoned for seven years in Pakistan on charges of drug trafficking.

In 1997, four American oil workers and their driver were shot by multiple gunmen while they sat in their car on a crowded street.[6] Two men, both members of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, were sentenced to death in 1999 for the shootings.[26] In 2002, there were further terrorist attacks against Americans and expatriates of other nationalities, including a bombing at the US consulate. In November 2008, foreign aid worker Stephen Vance was ambushed and killed on his way to work in Peshawar.[27] In 2003, The New York Times named Karachi "one of the most dangerous spots on the planet for an American".[7] In 2015, an American medical professor was shot and injured in Karachi.[28]


American international schools in Pakistan include:

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Gishkori, Zahid (30 July 2015). "Karachi has witnessed 43% decrease in target killing: Nisar". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 3 August 2017. As many as 116,308 Afghan nationals are living as immigrants in the country, higher than any other country,” Nisar told the House. Besides Afghans, 52,486 Americans, 79,447 British citizens and 17,320 Canadians are residing in the country, the interior minister added.
  2. ^ Maher, Sanam (13 November 2016). "Expatriate Americans in Pakistan on Donald Trump's win". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  3. ^ Khan, Talha; Zaheer, Farhan (5 February 2017). "Trump's executive order adding to interest in Pakistan's property market". Express Tribune. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  4. ^ Private American Citizens Residing Abroad, Bureau of Consular Affairs, 1999, archived from the original on 26 March 2010, retrieved 2009-09-17
  5. ^ Jamal, Akhtar (9 September 2009), "Foreign diplomatic presence: US, UK, Canada increase presence in Pakistan", Pakistan Observer, archived from the original on 13 September 2009, retrieved 2009-09-29
  6. ^ a b Filkins, Dexter (14 November 1997), "After Slayings, Americans in Karachi Weigh Choices", Los Angeles Times, retrieved 17 September 2009
  7. ^ a b Perlez, Jane (19 February 2003), "Threats and Responses: Out in the World; Americans Abroad Cope With Anger at U.S.", The New York Times, retrieved 17 September 2009
  8. ^ "Diplomat: Pakistan holding up some US visas". GEO News. Archived from the original on 20 December 2009. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  9. ^ "US men face court in Pakistan". BBC News. 31 December 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
  10. ^ "Pakistan court bars deportation of US suspects". AFP. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 December 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-11.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Another US national arrested in Pakistan". PressTV. 12 November 2010. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
  13. ^ Shaheen, Sikander (5 September 2009), "A law unto themselves", The Nation, retrieved 20 September 2009
  14. ^ Jafar, Mansoor (5 July 2009), "Americans carry arms in defiance of diplomatic law: US diplomats in Islamabad carry arms for safety", Al-Arabiya News Channel, retrieved 29 September 2009
  15. ^ "US men dodge Motorway police to enter Peshawar". The Express Tribune. 22 August 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  16. ^ Walsh, Declan (27 January 2011). "US foreign policy,World news,US news,Pakistan (News)". The Guardian. London.
  17. ^ "American citizen arrested in Rawalpindi". The Express Tribune. 14 May 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  18. ^ "American arrested in Pakistan for overstaying". Zee News. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  19. ^ "Serious allegations: Detained US citizen faces deportation in a few days". The Express Tribune. 12 June 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  20. ^ Another American held
  21. ^ "Sukkur police arrests another illegal American". Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  22. ^ "Account Suspended". Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  23. ^ "Harassing Americans will hurt Pakistan: Haqqani", Pakistan Daily Times, 13 September 2009, archived from the original on 22 September 2009, retrieved 29 September 2009
  24. ^ "Visa denial to US citizens earns Pak bad name: Haqqani", Geo Television Network, 13 September 2009, archived from the original on 15 September 2009, retrieved 29 September 2009
  25. ^ "US military presence reduced in Pakistan: Embassy". The Express Tribune. 10 June 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  26. ^ "2 to Die for Killing Americans in Pakistan", The New York Times, 22 August 1999, retrieved 17 September 2009
  27. ^ Perlez, Jane (12 November 2008). "U.S. Aid Worker Slain in Pakistan". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  28. ^ "Islamic State leaflets found at shooting site of 'US national' in Karachi". The Express Tribune. 16 April 2015. Retrieved 20 April 2016.

Further reading[edit]