Built during the mid 1960s, the Mangla Dam was designed to strengthen Pakistan’s irrigation system. The cost for the neighbouring Mirpur District was the submergence of some 280 villages, leaving one hundred thousand people permanently displaced.

Encouraged by labour shortages in British mill towns advertised in Mirpur, many men used compensation to fund their passage to a new life; Mirpuris today account for 70% of British Pakistanis, with a much higher percentage in cities like Bradford.

50 years on, with controversial plans for a Mangla Dam extension in place, our panel consider its sociological impact now and then. Join University of Bradford sociologist Parveen Akhtar; Imran Hussain MP whose family hails from Mirpur; Tim Smith, co-author of ‘Home from Home: British Pakistanis in Mirpur’ and novelist Tariq Mehmood, founder of the Pothohari-Pahari language movement (spoken in Mirpur and environs). Journalist Yasir Mirza chairs.


Parveen Akhtar

Parveen Akhtar has published widely on political participation, Islam, migration and social change, and her monograph, ‘British Muslim Politics’, was published by Palgrave in 2013. Dr Akhtar’s work has an international audience and she has presented her research to over 40 conferences in 15 countries. She makes regular contributions to public and media debates.

Imran Hussain

Imran Hussain is the Member of Parliament for Bradford East and recently assumed the office of Shadow Minister of State for International Development. Born and raised in Bradford, he attended local state funded schools and as a teenager worked sweeping floors and stacking shelves. He was the first in his family to attend university and went on to qualify as a barrister.

Tariq Mehmood

Tariq Mehmood’s novels include:Hand On the Sun, Penguin 1983; While There Is light, Comma;You’re Not Proper, HopeRoad, 2015 and Song Of Gulzarina, Daraja 2017. He was a central defendant in a case known as the Bradford 12. He was acquitted. He co-directed the multiple award-winning documentary Injustice.

Tim Smith

Tim Smith is a photographer, film-maker and writer. He’s based in Yorkshire where the region and its diverse communities have provided the inspiration and the impetus for his many national and international projects. Many of these explore relationships between Britain and people overseas, surveying issues of migration, culture and identity. He is the author (with Irna Imran) of ‘Home from Home: British Pakistanis in Mirpur’.

Yasir Mirza

Yasir is former head of diversity & inclusion and journalist at The Guardian, where he devised and ran citizen reporting/journalism training programmes with marginalised communities in Australia, India, South Africa, Brazil, USA, and Algeria.  He has presented for the UN, World Forum for Democracy, BBC, taught at Westminster University, and is currently a senior consultant at the Media Diversity Institute. Yasir is also an actor.