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Let’s try to get to know Africa a little better

Pakistani culture is very diverse

If there is a country whose culture is starkly contrasted by its international image, it has to be Pakistan. Pakistanis all over the world often face the dilemma of explaining what their culture really entails, thanks to years of news-media exaggeration and agenda setting. Beyond democratic and economic disappointment dwells a world of Pakistani civil society that works resiliently against all odds to keep what matters most intact: the country’s vibrant culture. Let’s try to get to know Pakistan a little better.

Thanks to its historical, geographical and ethnic diversity, Pakistan’s culture is a melting pot of Indian, Persian, Afghan, Central Asian, South Asian and Western Asian influences. There are over 15 major ethnic groups in Pakistan, which differ in physical features, historical bloodlines, customs, dress, food and music. Some of these include Punjabis, Sindhis, Baloch, Pashtuns, Kashmiris, Hazaras, Makranis and Baltis, coming from regions as close to home as the Indus Valley or as far as Africa or Tibet. Other than ancient ethnic elements, the religious influence of Islam has also strongly shaped Pakistani culture since it first came to the region in AD 700.

Many Different Languages are spoken in Pakistan

The official number of languages actively spoken in Pakistan is between 73 and 76. This means that within hours as you travel between the country’s districts, there are languages that other groups in different regions do not speak. The most popular languages, however, belong to the largest ethnic groups with their own modern and ancient literature. Most languages in Pakistan belong to the Indo-Iranian language group, including Urdu, the national language.

Pakistanis love listening to- and making music

Diverse culture has exposed Pakistani musicians to many different poetic forms and styles, along with languages and literature. Qawwali and Ghazal are the nation’s auditory treasures. Building on that, Pakistani TV shows, like Coke Studio, have amassed millions of fans internationally and locally, from non-Pakistanis to non-Urdu speakers. The nation has also produced legendary singers, like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and poets like Faiz Ahmed Faiz, who have left a tremendous influence on the culture and the collective conscience of the people. Contemporary musicians too play with modern styles and develop fusions in the Urdu language, of blues, funk, rock and jazz.

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