Pakistanis in Thailand
Total population
~250,000 (2020)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Bangkok · Chiang Mai · Chiang Rai · Ayutthaya · Saraburi · Lopburi · Hat Yai
Pashto · Urdu · Punjabi · English · Thai
Predominantly Islam
Minority Christianity,[2] Hinduism and Buddhism
Related ethnic groups
Overseas Pakistani

The history of Pakistanis in Thailand is based much before the independence when hundreds of people from regions of current-day Pakistan left for Thailand, then known as Siam.[3]

Most are concentrated in and around areas of Bangkok. Along with Indians, they are part of the much larger South Asian community in the country.


The occupations of Pakistani expatriates vary from white-collar to blue-collar labour. Pakistanis form one of the larger communities of Muslims in Thailand.

There are several hundred Pakistani international students at the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok;[4] after Thai and Vietnamese students, they consist the third largest group in the university.[5] The movement of Pakistanis throughout the country is common; in 2018, as many as 84,981 Pakistanis visited Thailand.[6]

Organisations and politics

The Thai-Pakistani Friendship Association (TPFA), a government recognised body, based both in Thailand and in Pakistan, represents people of Pakistani origin, whether Thai or Pakistani nationals, throughout Thailand.[7]

In March 2010, Pakistanis living in Thailand protested a conference chaired in Bangkok allegedly focusing on the support of Baloch separatism, a conflict which has gripped one of Pakistani's western provinces. The meeting, known as the "Baloch Voice Foundation", provided a podium for foreign-based Baluch activists and separatists from Pakistan to speak on various agendas. The Thai government additionally came under criticism by the community for allowing such a forum to be held.[8]

There are currently four MPs and two senators in the Thai parliament who have ancestry from Pakistan.[9]


In 2010, there were about 102 Pakistanis in Thai jails; the prisoners could not be transferred back to Pakistan because of delay in paperwork by the government. Members of the Pakistani community in Thailand had promised to bear the expenses for the return of the prisoners to the country.[10]

It is alleged that there are various Pakistani passport-forging gangs based in Bangkok, some of whom have been cracked down before. According to Thai police, overseas Pakistanis with some of the best techniques in the trade use Thailand as a base for the business.[11] However, the Pakistani embassy in Bangkok has dismissed the claims, alluding the involvement of Indian, Burmese and Nepalese agents in the country.

Popular culture

The Pakistani community of Bangkok is briefly mentioned in the novel Fragrance Beyond Borders by Indian author Amarendra Naryan. The book focuses on the lives of Indians and Pakistanis in Thailand and the relations between the two countries in general.[12]

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Pakistanis celebrate heritage". Bangkok Post.
  2. ^ Faruqi, Sama; Aqeel, Asif (26 February 2018). "Caste away: The ongoing struggle of Punjabi Christians". Dawn. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  3. ^ Cheema, Umar (12 July 2012). "Where expatriates who reach the top come from". The News. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  4. ^ "Pakistan reaches out to Buddhists: Bangkok Post". Bangkok Post.
  5. ^ "Pakistani students graduate in Bangkok: Karachi Friends". Archived from the original on July 13, 2011.
  6. ^ "จำนวนนักท่องเที่ยวชาวต่างชาติที่เข้ามาประเทศไทย จำแนกตามสัญชาติ พ.ศ. 2553 - 2562". Archived from the original on 2022-06-19. Retrieved 2021-03-08.
  7. ^ "Home".
  8. ^ Akhtar Jamal (March 3, 2010). "Bangkok bid to malign Pakistan". Pakistan Observer.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ Charuvastra, Teeranai; Chief, News (October 25, 2019). "Come Visit for Buddhism and Snow, Pakistani Amb. Invites Thai Tourists". ((cite web)): |first2= has generic name (help)
  10. ^ "102 Pakistanis in Thai jails - Dawn News".
  11. ^ "Thais pursue Pakistani connection in fake passport business (Feature) - Monsters and Critics". Archived from the original on 29 January 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  12. ^ "'Fragrance Beyond Borders' by Amarendra Narayan: MeriNews".