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Research Paper on Pakistan

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22 November 2004


I chose to do my research on the customs and lifestyles of Pakistan and their people. It took me quite a while to get in contact with someone who lives there, but once I finally did, I made a friend for life! I was very curious how the Pakistani's felt about Americans, and if I could get an honest answer from someone there. My friend "Hussain" assured me that although there are extremists, just as there are everywhere, who take their hatred for America, and for any other country that they feel "threatened" by, and use it to destroy innocent peoples lives. For instance, like the suicide bombers that we hear of so often, they would be considered "extremists". As far as the "common people" as Hussain put it, they understand that our government (meaning President Bush and his administration) is doing what must be done in order to protect the citizens and/or the "common people" of America.

I didn't have as much time to correspond with Hussain before this research paper was due, as I would have liked too, I look forward to continue learning about the lifestyles and customs there. It's amazing to learn how different people's lives are depending on what culture they live in. I had so many questions for Hussain, but I was also afraid that I would overstep my boundaries by asking certain questions, therefore I tried to be very careful in the way I worded things. It's very easy to tell even through an e-mail that he has a very distinct accent, however, he does speak good English. He told me that he was married and had 3 children. He was born in Sindh, Pakistan, which I later found out that Sindh is a "State" like "Oklahoma". He got his education and graduated in 1991. (He did not say whether or not that meant high school, or college) He was married in 1994, through an arranged marriage. His parents picked out this young lady for him, and he said that through time, he did learn to love her very much, and that he was grateful to have a "success story". He did say, however, that his wife was NOT educated, and therefore it was difficult for her to do anything, as far as working, outside the home. She stays home with the children. His oldest son is in the 3rd grade, and the younger two have not yet started school. Something that struck me was when he told me that he and his family lived in a "Joint Family System". His parents and brothers/sisters and their spouses if they are married, also live with him. He said that living in a joint family system is the most common style of living in their Country. Wanting to learn more about "Joint families", I started researching, I was absolutely amazed to find how common it is, even in the United States. Dr. Sushma Mehrotra, Psychologist talks about the pro's and con's of living in a Joint Family. (1) According to Dr. Mehhrotra, "Not every family is a happy family." "Atmosphere is the most important issue in a joint family. If the family members are congenial, and respectful to one another, it can be virtuous. However, if there is tension and conflict, constant "back-stabbing", undermining one another, it makes life miserable for all involved. On Dr. Mehrotra's website, she had a link where you could post a comment or a message. I was amazed to find that most of the posts were from women who live in joint families here in the USA. The general consensus was that of bitterness. There were a very few that was happy living in their joint families. They enjoyed the camaraderie, they never had to "hire a babysitter". They had people that lived in the home, that loved their children as much as the parents do. But for the most part, the other women were absolutely miserable. The biggest complaint was no privacy. In most situations, the family home was that of the parents. (Grandparents) Actually, to be more specific, when a couple gets married, they move in with the husbands family. Many women complained that their mother in law's treated them horribly. They undermine them as mothers. They treat them as if they are "guests in the home" instead of "housemates". Ultimately, according to most of the women, the ones who are affected the most are the children. When you have 5-10 children living in a home together, and they are not siblings, but cousins, sometimes the children are treated very differently which causes unhealthy competition and feelings of envy.

Hussain, made it very clear that in his situation, it is very good. He quotes " I love my family and work, we are living in a joint family system, my parents and brothers/sisters also live with me, this is most common living style of our country. We live together with love and smiles, we always share our joys and sadness."

Pakistan is a part of Southern Asia. It borders the Arabian Sea. India is on the east, Iran and Afghanistan is on the west and China in the north. (2) The area of Pakistan compares to slightly less than twice the size of California.(2) The climate is mostly hot, dry desert; temperate in northwest; arctic in north. (2) As of July 2004, the estimated population was 159,196,336.(2)

97% of the people in Pakistan are Muslim. Christian, Hindu and other 3%.(2) The Capital of Pakistan is Islamabad. Their government type is "Federal Republic". They gained independence from the UK on August 14th, 1947. They have a national holiday known as Republic Day on March 23rd (1956).(2) The population that lives below the poverty line is more than 35%.(2)

Pakistan's fiscal year is from July 1st to June 30th .(2)

Pakistan suffers from"agriculturual runoff exacerbated by ongoing deforestation and industrial runoff have polluted water supplies, factory and vehicle emissions have degraded air quality in the urban centers." (3) In 1987 only about 6 % of rural residents and 51 % of urban residents had access to sanitary facilities. In 1990 a total of 97.6 million Pakistani's, or approximately 80% of the population, had no access to flush toilets. (6) Potable water was brought in within reach of nearly half the population, they enjoyed such access by 1990. Medical researchers from Pakistan Medical Research Council recognized that a large proportion of diseases in Pakistan is caused by the consumption of polluted water. (6) Air pollution is another huge problem in Pakistan, as it is in most cities. There are no controls on vehicle emissions, which are responsible for 90% of pollutants. "The National



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