Culture of Pakistan

From Academic Kids

Pakistan has a rich and unique cultural heritage, and has actively preserved its established traditions throughout history. Many cultural practices and monuments have been inherited from the rule of Mughal emperors.

Pakistani society is largely multilingual and multicultural. Religious practices of various faiths are an integral part of everyday life in society. Education is highly regarded by members of every socio-economic stratum. The traditional family values are highly respected and considered sacred, although urban families have grown into a nuclear family system, owing to the socio-economic constraints imposed by the traditional joint family system. Past few decades have seen emergence of a middle class in cities such as Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Hyderabad, Faislabad, Sukkur, Peshawar, Gujarat, Attobabad, Multan, etc. The North-western part of Pakistan, bordering with Afghanistan, is highly conservative and dominated by regional tribal customs dating back to hundreds of years.



Pakistan has a very rich cultural and traditional background going back to Indus Valley Civilization, 2800 BC1800 BC. The region that is now Pakistan has in the past been invaded and occupied by many different peoples, including Greeks, White Huns, Persians, Arabs, Turks, Mongols and various Eurasian groups. There are differences in culture among the different ethnic groups in matters such as dress, food, and religion, especially where pre-Islamic customs differ from Islamic practices.

The pleasures of Pakistan are ancient: Buddhist monuments, Hindu temples, Palaces and Monuments built by Emperors, tombs, pleasure grounds and Anglo-Mogul mansions - some in a state of dereliction which makes their former grandeur more emphatic. Scuplture is dominated by Graeco-Buddhist friezes, and crafts by ceramics, jewellery, silk goods and engraved woodwork and metalwork.

Film and television

Traditionally, the government-owned Pakistan Television (PTV) has been the dominant media player in Pakistan. However past decade has seen emergence of several private TV channels (news , entertainment) such as the GEO TV and the ARY channel. Traditionally the bulk of TV shows have been plays or soap operas---some of them critically acclaimed. Various American, European, Asian and Indian TV channels and movies are available to a majority of the population via Cable TV.

Pakistani music is represented by a wide variety of forms. It ranges from traditional styles (such as Qawwali) to more modern forms that try to fuse traditional Pakistani music with western music. A famous Pakistani musician, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is internationally renowned for creating a form of music which synchronized Qawwali with western music. Popular forms of music also prevail, the most notable being Film music. In addition to this are the diverse traditions of folk music

An indigenous movie industry exists in Pakistan, and is known as Lollywood as it is based in Lahore, producing over forty feature-length films a year. In contrast, Indian Cinema Bollywood is very popular in Pakistan despite a ban on the screening of Hindi films since the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965.


Increasing globalization has increased the influence of "Western culture" in Pakistan. Pakistan ranks 46th in the world on the Kearney/FP Globalization index (http:/.com/issue_marapr_2004/countrydetail.php). Many Western restaurant chains have established themselves in Pakistan, and are found in the major cities.

A large Pakistani diaspora exists in the West. Whereas Pakistanis in the United States, Canada and Australia tend to be professionals, the majority of them in the United Kingdom, Germany and the Scandinavian nations comes from a rural background and belongs to the working class. A large number of Pakistani expatriates are also living in the Middle East. These emigrants and their children influence Pakistan culturally and economically, keeping close ties with their roots by travelling to Pakistan and especially by returning or investing there.


The most popular sport, followed religiously in Pakistan, is Cricket. Pakistan has historically produced several multi-talented players who have been among the best batsmen and bowlers in the world. Almost every district and neighborhood in Pakistan has its cricket team and most people start playing from a young age. Pakistan has won several important international Cricket events, including the pinnacle of Cricket, the World Cup in 1992.

Hockey is also among the popular sport in Pakistan. Pakistan has won the gold medal at the Olympics and the Hockey World Cup a few times.

Squash is another sport that has a large following. Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan are considered as legends of the sport and have won several World Squash Championships and other tournaments.

Football or Soccer is played in Pakistan as well, though mostly on a local level.

Polo is believed to have originated in the Northern parts of Pakistan, and continues to be an important sport there with large competitions throughout the year.

Tennis is also very popular and Pakistanis compete in various international events.

Athletics Pakistanis compete in various athletic events including Swimming.

Other popular sports followed on TV include Formula-One motor racing, Basketball (NBA), Rugby, Table-Tennis, Chess, Badminton.

Mercantile culture

Pakistan's service sector accounts for 53% of the country's GDP. Wholesale and retail trade is 30% of this sector. Shopping is a popular pastime for many Pakistanis, especially among the well-to-do and the thirty-million strong middle class. The cities of Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Islamabad, Faisalabad and Quetta are especially known for the great contrast in shopping experiences - from burgeoning bazaars to modern multi-story shopping malls. In particular, Lahore and Karachi are peppered with colourful shopping plazas.


Pakistani food is good and similar that of northern India, with a dollop of Persian, Turkish and Middle Eastern influence thrown in for good measure. This means menus peppered with baked and deep-fried breads (roti, chapattis, puri, halwa and nan), vegetables, meat curries, lentil mush (dhal), spicy spinach, cabbage, peas and rice, and of course that staple of hippies, the sturdy Hunza pie. Vegetarian food is preferred diet among the majority. Street snacks are popular in cities - samosas and tikkas (spiced and barbecued beef, mutton or chicken) - are delicious, while a range of desserts will satisfy any sweet tooth. The most common sweet is barfi (it pays to overlook the name), which is made of dried milk solids and comes in a variety of flavours. Though Pakistan is officially 'dry', it does brew its own beer and spirits which can be bought (as well as imported alcohol) from designated bars and hotels.


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