Sandwiched between India to the right and Iran and Afghanistan to the west, Pakistan consists of a wide swathe of land running from the Arabian Sea in the south to Kashmir and the Himalayas in the north, where it borders China. But not so long ago, there were two Pakistans.
- In 1947 when India gained independence from Great Britain, the areas of the country with large Muslim populations became East and West Pakistan, one on either side of the Indian subcontinent. It was at this time that the world’s largest mass migration took place, with roughly 6.5 million Muslims moving from India to West Pakistan, and around 4.5 million Hindus and Sikhs moving out of West Pakistan into India.
- East Pakistan became the independent country of Bangladesh in 1971. Officially known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the country was created as a home for the Muslims of South Asia, and its laws strictly follow the tenets of the Islamic religion.
- The Indus region which, broadly speaking, includes most of the country, has been the centre of civilisation from the Neolithic period and the later Bronze Age era, which began almost 5,000 years ago.
The capital, Islamabad (population 800,000), is situated in the north of the country, close to the border of the north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, while the nation’s most populated city, Karachi (population 25,000,000), is situated on the south coast, approximately 200 kilometres from the border with India. Pakistan’s other major cities include Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and Hyderabad. The country’s population of approximately 200 million is 5% short of being completely Muslim, with just a handful of minority religions including Hindi, Buddhist and Christian. Featuring mountains in the north, including K2 (the world’s second tallest), beaches in the south, deserts and the mighty Indus River, Pakistan is widely diversified geographically and most of its inhabitants live in rural areas, an estimated 30% living in towns and cities. Straddling the tectonic plates of Eurasia and India, the country experiences more earthquakes than any other state in the Himalayan region. Pakistan’s climate varies from tropical to temperate, although the southern coastal area is dry and suffers from desertification. Although the country is often flooded in the monsoon season, there are also alternating periods of devastating drought. While the country’s official language is Urdu, most Pakistanis are fluent in English, therefore communication should not be of concern.
While just over 40% of the employed labour force is directly or indirectly tied up with agricultural production, industry accounts for perhaps 13% of total employment and 20% of the country’s gross domestic product. Although in the 1960s and 1970s, the country was hugely popular with tourists, mainly on account of the Hippie Trail, Pakistan currently receives only around half-a-million visitors annually. Today, Pakistan has more than 35 million users of the Internet, so there are enormous possibilities of being able to contact some of the beautiful people of this amazing country.
Food, food, glorious food!
Similar to the cuisine found in neighbouring India, the food in Pakistan tends to be well-seasoned, spicy and very tasty. Most dishes will contain varying amounts of garlic, chilli, ginger, turmeric and garam masala, and will be served with chapatis – flatbread – or rice, both of which form part of the nation’s staple diet.
Status of Women and Men, and gender roles within Pakistan
As with most nationalities within the Asian region, the inhabitants of Pakistan are friendly and very polite. With a long history of feminine activism, women’s social status has somewhat improved since 1947, when females were seen as being subordinate to the male. In the urban areas especially, greater numbers of women are attaining better paid jobs and are thus able to help when it comes to supporting the family. Although the state officially recognises equality between the genders, Pakistan is one of the world’s most dangerous places for women, with high levels of domestic abuse, child marriages and forced marriages. While education is fairly equal between males and females in the larger cities, girls are usually segregated into their own schools in order to prevent distractive attention from boys. In rural and tribal areas, education for women is much rarer than that for men, resulting in lower literacy rates. Under Islam, women are seen as lesser citizens in comparison to men, and therefore often paid less than the minimum wage. Generally marrying young, around the age of 21 – although girls as young as 15 are often forced into marriage – the wife usually has several babies, hardly ever leaves the house, and is normally allowed to socialise only with female relatives. With the majority of females being married at such a young age, women who are unmarried in their late twenties are socially outcast, while women who become divorced are not accepted back within the community.
Because of the country’s traditional patriarchal society, men are customarily seen as figures of unquestionable authority, while women are held in subordination and merely available to provide children and look after the home. Though they are, to some extent, protected and viewed as the central pivot of family honour, this respect varies from state to state and depends on class and ethnicity. In areas held by the Taliban, Sharia law does not permit women to receive education – it doesn’t even allow them to go shopping on their own!
This is a country where women are stoned if they step out of line. More than 1,000 women suffered this astonishingly cruel form of mediaeval murder, on account of so-called ‘honour crimes’, in the last year alone.
What is the typical stereotype or character of Pakistani women?
- Typically, blessed with genuine feminine qualities of kindness, gentleness and warmth, the single females of this amazing nation are quite different to their peers from the West.
- Humble and family oriented, and coming from a country that values its ancient traditions, they generally follow the accepted principles of love and marriage, seeking foreigners who will love, cherish and protect them.
- Well-organised when it comes to the daily routines of looking after the household and doing most of the cooking, a small minority of city girls will also enjoy some form of employment.
- Smart and fairly well-educated, they are fond of studying and will undertake further education in order to earn more money and gain independence.
However, even when their lifestyle is hectic at work and occupied in daily chores, they are still very adept at knowing what pleases their men; there are few nationalities whose women are as expert at looking after their partners. It’s a quality they grow up with, absorbing it from family and social roots that stretch back thousands of years. These women are family oriented, and most look forward to getting married, even though their husband is nearly always chosen for them. Pakistani ladies are looking for a serious partner and look forward to becoming a member of a nice family. Most of these gorgeous females love children and are adept at taking care of them, perhaps having more in the future.
Because of strong traditions, Pakistan is somewhat different to other countries when it comes to love, sex and marriage, the so-called "arranged marriage" still being practised in almost every community, except perhaps within the urban middle classes. Most marriages occur between boys and girls who have seldom met and who have little or no knowledge of one another before their wedding, each and every detail having been organised by their parents. In order to win the heart and the love of a fabulous Pakistani single woman, you will need to respect and understand her culture and her upbringing. You’ll need to go with the flow and accept the fact that the Pakistani concept of marriage still applies in almost every community.
How to date a Pakistani woman
Recent changes, such as advances in communication and social websites (see above), have brought about a new era of freedom for Pakistanis. So, while it may be quite simple to find an easy-going, well-educated, happy soulmate, it’s necessary to remember that free and single girls from this beautiful, yet harsh country are looking for more than just a casual date – she’ll be looking at what lies ahead.
Most commonly, meetings are left to the control of parents who, through wide circles of social contacts of the "right sort", organise and cultivate their sons and daughters into arranged marriages. However, meetings also occur as a result of community get togethers or through religious events, social occasions that are geared to garner friendships which, at some point in the future, could become a reason for dating. Today, however, and depending on the modernity of the family, Pakistanis are becoming more and more familiar with online dating, a form of social contact which is slowly but surely taking over from the more traditional methods of meeting someone.
Texting via SMS messages is also very popular, and year-on-year becoming more widespread. While texting may not always lead to a date, who knows what the future might hold? Rapid advances in technology and encroaching Western attitudes could lead to a totally different way of social networking. Like everyone else in the world, Pakistani women are proficient at using Google, posting videos and using social networks in order to form new contacts. Different to the typical Western woman, Pakistani ladies don’t rush into relationships, prefering to communicate via cool, calm conversation while searching for a serious life-partner. When they find what they’re looking for, they’re not usually too worried about the colour of skin.
However, when people from West, or anywhere else, would like to date a female from such an interesting country, they should understand that, although slightly more liberal than they were several years ago, Pakistani women are still not as free and open as typical single women from Europe or America. Having strong family roots and traditions, their culture is quite different from the rest of the world, and one should take care when meeting a lady from this country. Do not be in a hurry to rush into a lascivious relationship, rather, take time to get to know the lady you’re interested in because she certainly will need time before even hinting that she might be interested. However, when she is interested, she’ll more than likely be looking for and expecting a full time relationship, not just a casual fling. And you can be sure that your woman won’t sleep around, she won’t drink too much and she more than likely won’t smoke. Remember and try to understand the cultural differences, preferably before going out on your first date. Patience is a virtue, an especially important one when meeting someone from another ethnic group. Be open, be aware, be considerate and be happy; and, when you find your special dream girl, she will love you and stay with you and bring you all the pleasures that it’s possible to receive.
Your Pakistani date will be great fun and you’ll share lots of happiness, smiles, good conversation and precious moments with her, all the while knowing that she will be hoping for a strong, close relationship and the building of a close-knit family.
Quick guide for a successful date with an Pakistani girl
Males in charge! In Pakistan, there‘s no equality between the sexes, it‘s still a male dominated society and women are not treated with the same dignity as in the Western world. More often than not, a woman still has no choice as to whom she may date or to whom she will eventually be married. In fact, it’s possible that she’ll never be allowed to make decisions of any kind without prior approval from the man of the family. Before asking a Pakistani lady out, there‘s a high probability that you’ll have to seek permission from the family before you have any chance of dating the daughter.
Be polite and don‘t rush. As has been said, there’s a traditional view that a girl from a "good" family should be a virgin before she gets married. There’s no need to hurry if you’re thinking about a long-term relationship. When she says "Yes," it’s yes forever; not just for one night. Another reason why you should take your time is that Western couples have a much higher percentage of divorce than Pakistanis, who have a percentage rate of around one. Think about this, it’s important, because if you leave her at a later stage, it will bring shame on her and her family, and make for a hard life in their home town or village.
When you understand and acknowledge that there will certainly be some significant cultural differences, you’ll be able to decide whether or not you want to give it a shot before going out on a date. If you decide to go for it, keep an open mind.
How to go about meeting a girl from Pakistan