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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Family Life in Pakistan

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The family is at the heart of Pakistani life. Most of the families in Pakistan live together from three to four generations especially those who live in countryside. In this society, family roots have came together since the creation of this country. The family foundation and the roots are made so strong so the incoming generation would be able to build their family and as well as their descendent. There is a strong relationship between family members. Members in the family earn money except for those who are too young and those who are too old to manage their self. Usually in Islamic society woman is not allowed to work outside the house especially if the woman is married. She has a responsibility to take care of her family, kids, and house management. Besides she has to deal with neighborhood society. Respect is always accorded to those older in years, and the ones who are younger are taught to obey their parents and everyone else in the family. Including, they have to do their school work on time and pray to Allah five times a day. Besides children have other responsibilities to deal with in the house. For instance, do what their parents ask them to do. Speak to them respectfully. Even when brother and sisters are speaking to each other, they have to respect and cooperate, no matter if they are older or younger. And soon they are introduced to the role which will outline their future behavior. Men in the house (father/ husband/ brother) have to take care of all the outside work. He usually doesn’t participate in the household duties. He will leave for work each day and return in evening expecting his meal to be ready. And this is accepted by everyone in the household.

The Rich and The Poor

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  • Poor: In Pakistan the lowest class communities or groups are mostly made of those people who earn their livings as cleaners. No matter if they work in a private house or on the public streets, they are consider beneath the dignity of a Pakistani Muslims. Mostly Hindu’s and christens are the ones, who do this kind of jobs. There is no cast system in Pakistan. The cleaners are careful not to break anything during the time they are cleaning the house, because otherwise it would be end of their job in that particular house, which they obviously don’t want because they want to earn money. On the streets the covering of their face, stops them from being recognized. They do it because a cleaner is not very much respected. So that’s why regular people wouldn’t hangout or marry a cleaner except another cleaner. This separates them from a normal community of people and makes them live in a certain part of the city/town, where everybody else is also cleaner or poor.
  • Rich: At the other end of the spectrum, there are the millionaires and near billionaires. Their wealth often develops from the huge area of farming lands they own. The Bhutto family is one example of this class. The way of life of the very wealthy people has little in common with the rest of the population. Children of such families go to private, English schools often completing their education from private boarding schools or Universities in the United States or the United Kingdom. Just as poor people live in a certain place with other poor people around them, rich people have the same in common. They make their houses in rich, organized, and clean environment, which shows their superior-ness over poor.

The Burquah:

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Burquah is one of the most common thing (similar to cloak) which is worn by Pakistani woman. Some people, who are more religious, wear these burqahs. There are two types of burqahs. First, it has two parts. Upper part is to cover face and shoulder, and lower part is to cover the body and feet. Usually upper part is made of black material. It is made with three thin veils to be able to look outside. Other part of the burqah is to cover head and shoulder, which is made of thick cloth. Second the other type of burquah is more common is small towns and rural villages. It is similar to the above one. Which consists two parts, part that covers body is made up of thick cotton and the other part that cover the head is made tightly fitting head piece. The face is covered by close fitted netting that allows the wearer to see through it. Burqah is mostly worn in rural areas. They are more religious than urban areas. But some women who don’t like to wear burqah they wear loose scarf, which covers head and shoulders. In urban areas burqah is regarded as old-fashioned. So the women don’t like wearing it. They have their hair cut short and wear no duppata. But in Islam every woman have to wear burquah and should be purdah from outside surroundings. For women, who stays at home and doesn’t go outside they wear shalwar-qameez. This is the national dress for all women to wear if they are at home. They are called shalwar-qameez and dupatta. Shalwar is similar to pant. Qameez is similar to shirt but it is long and duppata is similar to scarf to cover the head.

Position of Women:

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Most women in Pakistan are not seen as independent, which tells the traditional preference for boys over girls. In this society the birth of a son represents potential source of income in future matters, But the birth of a girl doesn’t represents potential source of income because, every baby girl who is born, one day she have to get marry and leave her parents house. But if the woman doesn’t marry, she remains a Burden on the family’s income. Than she have to face the shame in the society of not being married. Mostly woman is not involved in a company of men except for her husband and close relatives. First she doesn’t leave the house but for some reason she have to go some where she always wears burquah, a full length type of cloak which covers the body and face. Even in cities and towns the percentage of girls to boys, minor education is very low. School is not seen necessary for girls. In rural areas only 10% of the females attend school. In this society, woman doesn’t have any kind of upper value. She doesn’t have any kind of freedom. Her family, kids, and her house is everything for her. Woman in the family have to wear burquah, especially if she is married, so the other outside surroundings including men won’t be able to see her. Woman in burquah are more likely to come from the urban, middle-class families because it is seen as a good reflection of the family’s social status if the woman do not need to work. A position of woman is very complex and different from other cultures of the world. Pakistan was on of the first countries to appoint woman ambassador, for instance Pakistan international airline employs more female pilot than any other airlines in the world.