Last updated on June 6th, 2018
Pakistan is a country with a very big and diverse population. There are several ethnic groups in the Pakistani society. Here are the main ones:
– North: Wakhi, Shinaki, Dards, Burusho, and Baltis;
– South: Muhajirs and Makrani;
– East: Kashmiris, Punjabis, Sindhis, and Potwaris;
– West: Pashtuns, Hazaras, and Baloch.
In such a diverse country, honor, pride, and shame are all common values which influence people’s behavior. In order to avoid social ostracism, the Pakistani protect their reputation — both their personal reputation as well as the reputation of family members.
20 facts about Pakistani family customs, traditions, and hospitality
1. The Pakistani have a sense of extended family, which goes beyond the nuclear family and includes immediate and distant relatives, friends, fellow tribe members, and even neighbors. Loyalty to family is above any and all other relationships — even business.
2. So, hiring relatives is a common practice which has a positive spin in Pakistani culture, due to this high sense of loyalty.
3. Forming new relationships is very important in Pakistan, and asking friends and colleagues to make business introductions is a normal thing to do.
4. One important observation to be made here is that it is very inappropriate when someone asks questions to a Pakistani about any of their female relatives, especially their wives.
5. Casual dating is disapproved and many marriages are arranged by the family elders even today.
6. When there is no arrangement, parent approval is still necessary — in Pakistan, marriage is seen as a responsibility of the parents, especially due to the need of protecting the family’s honor.
7. Women stay in the home and men go to work. When a woman works, they are usually involved in fields such as nursing or teaching.
8. Women have the same rights as men, including voting and being educated, a woman has been a prime minister in the past, there are many female judges as well.
9. The reason for the women stay at home is that Pakistani families are larger — 6 children is considered normal — and the woman is responsible for raising the children, along with the extended family as well.
10. Living closely to extended family also emphasizes the transmission of Pakistani customs and traditions across generations, as well as the respect for their elders and the traditional Pakistani gender roles too.
11. When entering a Pakistani home, usually you will need to remove your shoes. The best way to make sure is to look at your host’s feet and follow suit.
12. Greet the elders first; the greetings exchange is usually made between members of the same sex. Men will shake hands and, when closer in relationship, might as well hug each other. Women will hug and kiss.
13. You will notice that Pakistani do not use first names, unless among close friends.
14. Titles denote respect: use them.
15. Also, bring a small gift to the hostess — good chocolates are the best option for men, while women may also gift flowers (non-white, which are only for weddings).
16. Give your gift with both hands; do not give alcohol; your host will not open your gift when receiving it.
17. You will probably be served tea, since it is considered a sign of hospitality.
18. Taboo subjects are sex, dating, homosexuality, alcohol, and questioning Islamic beliefs.
19. Eating utensils are used only by Westernized families, so you have to eat with your right hand.
20. Although guests are served first, you should only start eating after the oldest person starts.
Pakistani cuisine, given the variety of ethnicities and geography, is very diverse. However, you can be assured of two things:
1. Red meat is halal and slaughtered according to the Islam; and
2. Pork is forbidden and virtually impossible to find. Here is what the average Pakistani home-made meals look like:
– Breakfast: tea, bread, eggs, honey, nuts, and fruits.
– Lunch: meat-based curry and rice
– Dinner: this is the big family meal with meat kebab, spicy lentils with gravy, naan flat bread, among others.
10 other food-related facts
1. Curry and spices are used very often in Pakistani cuisine, which leads us to #2;
2. As a consequence, plain white rice is the most common side dish.
3. Lentils are also very common.
4. Meats — beef, lamb, chicken, and fish — are often marinated in yogurt.
5. Southern Pakistani food is much spicier.
6. Northern Pakistani cuisine is centered around plain barbecued meat.
7. As a rule of thumb, seafood is usually curried.
8. Food is often fried in ghee, a type of butter.
9. The Pakistani also eat many pickles, preserved foods, and chutneys.
10. Pakistani drink green tea throughout the day.
As for Pakistani dresses, you will find that Pakistani are very formal, and also respectful of the Islamic code. Women clothes are also conservative, covering the skin and very loose. Pakistani men are required to cover their bodies between the navel and the knee, so make sure your clothing covers these areas too.
Pakistan – country at a glance
|Independence||14 August 1947 (from British India)|
|Capital City||Islamabad (33°40′N 73°10′E)|
|Largest City||Karachi (24°51′36″N 67°00′36″E)|
|Total area||796,095 sq km|
|Population||212,742,631 (2017 estimate)|
|Suffrage||18 years of age; universal; note - there are joint electorates and reserved parliamentary seats for women and non-Muslims|
|National anthem||"Qaumi Tarana" (National Anthem)|
|National symbol||star and crescent, jasmine|
|National colors||green, white|
|National holiday||Pakistan Day, 23 March|
|Prime Minister||Nasirul Mulk|
|Borders||Afghanistan 2,670 km, China 438 km, India 3,190 km, Iran 959 km|
|Currency||Pakistani rupee (₨) (PKR)|
|Life expectancy at birth||68.1 years (2017 estimate)|
|Climate||mostly hot, dry desert; temperate in northwest; arctic in north|
|Terrain||divided into three major geographic areas: the northern highlands, the Indus River plain in the center and east, and the Balochistan Plateau in the south and west|
|Natural resources||arable land, extensive natural gas reserves, limited petroleum, poor quality coal, iron ore, copper, salt, limestone|
|Birth rate||21.9 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)|
|Death rate||6.3 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)|
|Sex ratio||1.05 male(s)/female (2017 est.)|
|GDP - per capita (PPP)||$5,400 (2017 est.)|
|Industries||textiles and apparel, food processing, pharmaceuticals, construction materials, paper products, fertilizer, shrimp|
|Exports||$21.7 billion (2017 est.)|
textiles (garments, bed linen, cotton cloth, yarn), rice, leather goods, sporting goods, chemicals, manufactures, carpets and rugs
|Imports||$48.21 billion (2017 est.)|
petroleum, petroleum products, machinery, plastics, transportation equipment, edible oils, paper and paperboard, iron and steel, tea
|Internet country code||.pk|
|Time Zone||PKT (UTC+5)|
|Drives on the||Left|
|Data sources||CIA, Wikipedia|
|Table last updated||June 6, 2018|