Formed in 1947, an independent state within the British Commonwealth. The first immigrants to Canada from Pakistan included students, professionals, and trained workers who arrived in the 1960s. Because English is the official language of Pakistan, many already spoke it in addition to their national language, Urdu. In the late 1970s more than 20,000 Pakistanis were living in Canada, with major communities in Edmonton, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. According to the 1986 census, there were more than 30,000 people of Pakistani origin in Canada.
Although the scriptures of the Koran are chanted in the mosque, instrumental and other vocal music occur outside the religious framework. Historically, musical forms and instruments have been part of the bond between India and Pakistan; however, after the 1947 partition Pakistan encouraged a national recording and film industry distinct from that of India. Public concerts by well-known Pakistanis have been sponsored by the communities in Canada; Mesdi Hassan, who specializes in the vocal form Ghazal, performed in Edmonton, Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver in June of 1977. Amateurs usually provide music at weddings and especially at the dinners following the two religious Eide Festivals. The seven- or eight-member ensembles include sitar or sarod, tabla, sarangi, and harmonium. Musical events are publicized in radio broadcasts and newspaper announcements, eg, in the Montreal Jung and the Toronto Crescent, which publish articles in English and Urdu.