The culture and festivals in Pakistan display a curious amalgamation of influences that betray the country’s history. Islamic references dominate, of course, but they are spiced with a liberal sprinkling of Greco-Buddhist, Hindu, and Persian influences. This is witnessed not just in the physical monuments that the country prizes as part of its national heritage but also in the intangible points of heritage, such as the local attitudes and religious inclinations.
The first thing to understand about Pakistan is that it is a generally modest country. This should not be taken to indicate that the people are backward or overly sensitive, as many mistakenly understand the phrase “modest” in this usage to mean nowadays, but rather to signify that there are forces that operate upon people here to make them more predisposed to what Westerners would call conservatism. Pakistanis are a rather friendly people, to be sure, and they are not unaccustomed to seeing foreigners in their lands. That having been said, they expect the same courtesies of travellers as most others would expect of travellers in their own lands: a sense of respect for their culture and ways. This means that you should do your utmost to behave and attire yourself in a manner that does not clash with that which they consider decent. [Read more…]