Etiquette in Pakistan

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In Pakistan, Islamic culture is predominant but Pakistan also has cultural etiquette based mainly on South Asian influence.

Introduction and greeting[edit]

Hand Shake
  • Combined-family system is usually liked but in these modern times, unit-family system prevails more than the former. Elders are respected heartily and get love and honour from youngsters, even if they are strangers and meeting each other for the very first time in any consequence.
  • Guests are honoured delightfully and treated with love and respect, as it is a Pakistani quote that," Guest is a blessing of God". So, relatives, colleagues, friends and people from neighbourhood feel happy and cheerful to meet and stay connected with each other. Usually, in educated families, guests inform the host before their arrival so that someone's routine is not disturbed.
  • Relatives, co-workers, neighbours,friends and mates stay united in every joy and sorrow and compete with each other in helping their friend in problem.
  • Friendships are very strong and friends love each other without a reason and can do anything to make them laugh.
  • Pakistan is so stranger-friendly that everyone feels free communicating with others.
  • It is considered rude to introduce yourself to strangers, it is generally advisable to ask some mutual acquaintance to introduce you. Strangers will speak with each other in the "formal" register of Urdu, and using the familiar register will be seen as very rude.[1]
  • People of opposite sex do not usually shake hands when they greet each other but a change in this rule is being seen everywhere and friends of the opposite gender may shake hands on seeing each other. It is frequent among men to put their right hand on their chest (heart) after shaking hands but friends and relatives hug each other when they meet. It is also frequent among female friends to kiss each other on the cheeks on meeting but that is reserved for very intimate friends.
  • The Province of the Punjab is more advanced whereas NWFP and Balochistan are a bit conservative and prefer to keep up with traditions wholeheartedly. The literacy rate is higher in the Punjab than the other provinces in Pakistan.

In urban Sindh and in other parts of the country, men and women usually lower their head and lift their hand to their forehead to make the "adab" gesture when greeting each other.[2]

  • When being introduced to elders or strangers while seated it is customary to get up as sign of respect.[2]
  • It is advisable to ask a person how they wish to be addressed.[1]

Business meeting[edit]

  • English is widely spoken and understood in major cities.[3] The local dialect is called Pakistani English.
  • If at all possible, try not to schedule meetings during Ramadan. The workday is shortened, and since Muslims fast, they will not be able to offer you tea, which is a sign of hospitality.[1]
  • Meetings are not scheduled at namaz time.[1]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Karin Mittmann; Zafar Ihsan. Culture shock! Pakistan – a guide to customs and etiquette. 

References[edit]