By Parveen Akhtar (auth.)
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Extra info for British Muslim Politics: Examining Pakistani Biraderi Networks
Accommodation and employment were secured through kith and kin: living together and working together helped build and deepen such bonds. And yet, biraderi also constrained the experiences of individuals and groups in their dealings with society by restricting the migrants’ opportunities in terms of access to knowledge, social skills and opportunities (Saifullah Khan, 1982: 208–209). This was because individuals could rely on biraderi members for help with any arising issues and as such their contacts could remain limited to biraderi members without the need to venture beyond such networks.
Pioneer’ migrants helped and encouraged others to follow (Anwar, 1994: 4). They were the links in the chain who helped to find jobs, lend air fares and provide temporary sleeping accommodation. This was mainly done along the biraderi lines, that is, through kinship networks. Whilst occasionally brothers would sponsor brothers, usually it was cousins sponsoring cousins and wider biraderi members since men were also required to stay at home and take care of households in Pakistan. Nevertheless, significant numbers from specific regions, districts and villages came to England.
Interestingly, however, in retrospective interviews with this generation of migrants, narratives of migration focus less on the bewilderment of life immediately after migration and more on the networks of kinship which helped them to get settled in work and home. Ali Nobil Ahmad writes that his informants ‘preferred to talk about the rewards they reaped […] than dwell on what they had endured in the factory’ (2008: 158). The ‘Homeland’ Mirpur district in Azad Kashmir is situated in the north-west of Pakistan.