Pakistan Culture

Pakistan Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Pakistan

According to DENTISTRYMYTH.COM, Pakistan is a country located in Asia. Although the daily circulation is low (30 newspaper excl. Per 1,000 inv., 2000), there are about 270 daily newspapers in Pakistan. Dominating is the Urdu-published Daily Jang (about 750,000 copies), which is published in Karachi. There are also several English-language newspapers, including Dawn (Karachi) and The Pakistan Times (Lahore), who despite a limited edition are considered to have great political influence. At the beginning of the 1980s, the news agency was state controlled, but since 1990 there has been in principle press freedom.

The state broadcasting company Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (founded in 1947) broadcasts over twenty major stations in over 20 different languages. A private radio station, Capital FM, started in 1995. Television is dominated by the state-owned Pakistan Television Corporation (founded in 1967). A private broadcasting company was founded in 1990. There are 105 radio and 131 TV receivers per 1,000 residents (2000).


According to ANIMALERTS, the culture in Pakistan has several layers: the ancient Indus culture, Buddhism and Islam. However, the vast majority of Pakistanis feel primarily like Punjabi, Sindhis, Pashtuns or Baluchs. Similarly, cultural heritage is regionally rooted, although there are some common features.

In the area that today constitutes Pakistan, one of the earliest high-ranking societies, the Indus or Harappa culture, was developed around 2500-1700 BC. From this time there are many ceramic objects depicting people and animals as well as sculptures of stone and bronze. Animals and plants are often depicted on seals, small stone plates that also contain text in a written language that science has not yet been able to interpret.

From the first centuries after the birth of Christ, there are many Buddhist art objects. This Gandhara art – named after the Gandhara kingdom around the city of Taxila near present-day Islamabad – shows clear influence from Roman and Late Hellenistic art. From Gandhara there are also many stupas – Buddhist cult buildings.

Islamic culture has created many magnificent buildings. A large part of them are in the city of Lahore, which reached a cultural peak between the 16th and 18th centuries. There are, among others, the Badshahi and Wazir Khan mosques, the Mughal emperor Jahangir’s tomb monument and the famous Shalimar Garden which is listed on the UN agency UNESCO World Heritage List.

Especially during Muhammad Zia ul-Haq’s military regime 1977–1988 (see Modern History), Islam was promoted as a national cultural expression. Religious music, such as qawwali songs with motifs from the conceptual world of Sufism (Islamic mysticism), is very popular, as is poetry. Muhammad Iqbal, who first put forward the idea of ​​a Muslim state in India, can be said to be the great national bald.

The Pashtun culture of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is characterized by the area’s warlike past and is permeated with ideals such as masculinity, honor, justice, hospitality and revenge.

Pakistan has an extensive film production and like in India, the film music has a large spread.

Pakistan’s most well-known author was for a long time Saadat Hassan Manto (1912–1955), who among other things published a large number of short story collections in Urdu. In recent years, writers who write in English have received the greatest international attention. Among them are Mohsin Hamid (best known to the reluctant fundamentalist) and Mohammed Hanif (Mangon who exploded).



The US resumes a military program

24 December

Pakistan is once again welcome to participate in a US military exercise program that the South Asian country was banned from two years ago when President Trump froze military support for Pakistan (see January 2018). The resumed program is only a small part of frozen military cooperation, but it is a sign that relations between the two countries are improving.

Musharraf is sentenced to death

December 17

Pakistan’s dictator general Pervez Musharraf is sentenced to death for treason in a Islamabad court. Musharraf is convicted of abolishing the constitution in 2007 and introducing a state of emergency in order to extend his own time in power. Musharraf thus becomes the first military leader in Pakistan to be held responsible for violating the constitution. He was the country’s highest military leader when he took power in a military coup in 1999 and was then president between 2001 and 2008. The lawsuit against Musharraf for high treason has been ongoing since 2013. He is currently in Dubai for medical treatment. Musharraf himself believes that the trial is politically motivated and emphasizes that the entire government was behind the decisions taken in 2007 (see Modern History).


Khan critics block off main roads

November 13

Conservative minister and Islamist opposition leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman ends his “march of freedom” in Islamabad against the Khan government. Instead, he chooses to start “Plan B”, which means that the protesters, many of whom are mattress students, block important key routes in the country. Among other things, the main road is blocked between the city of Quetta in the southwest and Chaman, a border crossing to Afghanistan used by NATO for transport of supplies. The main road in Sindh province is also blocked off.

Indian Sikhs make pilgrimage in Pakistan

November 10

Hundreds of Indian Sikhs make a pilgrimage four kilometers into Pakistan to the village of Kartapur, where Sikh founder Guru Nanak is believed to have died. The pilgrimage is possible thanks to a cooperation between India and Pakistan in the form of a secure temporary visa-free country corridor. The collaboration is seen by assessors as one of the few examples of collaboration between the two arch enemies in a time of severe tension.

Mass protest against Khan

November 1st

Tens of thousands of Pakistanis embark on a “march of liberty” in Islamabad in protest of the Khan government. The march is led by Khan’s political arch rival, the conservative preacher Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who is also the leader of the Islamist opposition party Jui-L. Rehman accuses Khan of having come to power with the help of the military, and not by the will of the people. The preacher calls on Khan to resign as prime minister within 48 hours, a claim that Khan has expected to ignore. The mass protest lasts for 13 days before protesters change tactics and begin to block some streets in the capital.


Khan mediates in the Middle East

October 13

Prime Minister Khan visits Iran and Saudi Arabia in the role of mediator, with the task of trying to reduce tensions between the two influential countries in the Middle East. In Tehran, Khan meets Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the country’s top leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Two days later (15/10), Khan visits Saudi Arabia and meets King Salman and Crown Prince Bin Salman. Pakistan has good relations with both Saudi Arabia, where over 2.5 million Pakistanis live and work, as well as with Iran. Pakistan sometimes represents Iran in its contacts with the United States.


Opposition politicians are killed in the blast

September 30th

Maulana Muhammad Hanif, who leads a religiously conservative party, is killed in a blast attack in southwestern Pakistan. Hanif is organizing a march against the Khan government when the attack is carried out. At least two other people are killed in the same act.


Khan leads mass protest against India

August 30th

Prime Minister Khan is leading a national mass demonstration against the Indian government’s actions in Kashmir. Thousands of Pakistanis in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, among others, follow him in protest against India’s decision to revoke the Indian-controlled Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy (see Conflicts: Kashmir).

The conflict over Kashmir is intensified

August 7th

Pakistan denies India’s decision on August 5 to revoke Jammu and Kashmir autonomy for “illegal” (see Conflicts: Kashmir). Islamabad announces that India’s High Commissioner in Pakistan should be sent home and Pakistan’s ambassador to New Delhi called home. Diplomatic and trade relations should be reduced. Pakistan calls on the international community to intervene, saying that the Pakistani government will turn to the UN Security Council.


One billion from the IMF

July 3

The IMF pays a billion dollars to the Pakistani government to “support its economic reform program” and make the country “less financially vulnerable”. The billion is part of the $ 8 billion rescue package granted by the loan agency (see April 2019). Pakistan’s economy suffers, among other things, from high inflation and large budget deficits. The Khan government has promised to freeze military spending and cut sharply in other government spending, as well as increase tax revenues.


Money from Qatar

June 24th

Qatar grants Pakistan an economic rescue package worth $ 3 billion. In the past year, China, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have also offered financial assistance to the crisis-hit Pakistan.

Courts are set up for female witnesses

June 20

The Supreme Court announces that more than 1,000 special courts will be set up around the country where women should be able to testify without fear of revenge attacks from, for example, perpetrators or relatives. A similar court was set up on trial in Punjab province 2017 with successful results.

Tight budget proposal

June 11

The government presents its budget for 2019/2020 to Parliament. Tax revenue should increase to the equivalent of $ 36 billion (only 1 percent of Pakistanis are expected to pay any tax). The draft budget also contains a number of savings, including the remuneration of all ministers by 10 percent. The civilian part of the budget is reduced by 5 percent in the proposal, while the military budget remains unchanged. Pakistan’s economic policy is closely followed by the IMF, which has granted the country a comprehensive rescue package (see April 2019).


Separatists attack hotels in Gwadar

May 10

A security guard is killed and several people are slightly injured when three perpetrators enter the luxury hotel Pearl Continental in the port city of Gwadar in Baluchistan and begin shooting. The separatist group Baluchistan’s Liberation Army (BLA) takes on the deed. The attack is believed to be a protest against the large Chinese presence in Gwadar, which is a culmination point in the so-called Sino-Pakistani Economic Corridor (CPEC), which in turn forms part of China’s major infrastructure investment New Silk Road (BRI). The Separatists believe that the big project will not benefit the Baluchian locals to the extent that it should. Construction work is mainly done by Chinese labor. BLA has attacked Chinese projects several times before, including the group behind the attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi (see November 2018).

Price increases and delayed tax deductions

May 9

The government agrees with the IMF to abolish a series of tax exemptions that cost the state around $ 2.5 billion a year, and raise electricity and gas prices to bring more money into the Treasury. Pakistan has difficulties in paying off government debt.


Rescue packages from the IMF and the World Bank

April 16

The government has agreed with the IMF on a rescue package of eight billion dollars over three years. Six billion come from the IMF and two to three billion dollars come from the World Bank. The money will be used to reduce the $ 12 billion deficit in the Pakistani state budget. The package concerns, among other things, energy prices, tax intakes and exchange rates.


Pakistan: “No connections to Kashmir council”

March 28

Pakistan has not been able to demonstrate any links between the suspected opponents that police and military seized at the request of India and the suicide attack in Indian-controlled Kashmir (see February 2019). Pakistani authorities have arrested 54 people since India handed over a list of 90 suspected assailants as well as 22 places in Pakistan where New Delhi believes terrorists have set up training camps. Pakistani Foreign Ministry says 54 of the 90 people have been investigated and none of them have links to the deed outside Srinagar that killed some 40 Indian soldiers. The mass arrests in Pakistan were under pressure since the US to increase Islamabad’s counter-terrorism efforts. Pakistani Foreign Ministry says that there are also no terrorist training camps in the 22 places in Pakistan that India claims. The sites have been investigated by Pakistani authorities and no terrorist attacks have been found, according to Pakistani Foreign Ministry. The Islamabad government says Indian investigators are welcome to visit the sites if New Delhi so requests.

Prohibited groups get frozen accounts

4th of March

Pakistan freezes accounts and assets of organizations that have been banned by the UN Security Council. After several weeks of pressure from the outside world, mainly from the United States, the decision in Islamabad will strike against militant groups in the country’s territory.


Mutual violations of the airspace over Kashmir

February 27th

According to the Indian news agency PTI, Pakistani fighter aircraft breach Indian airspace by flying over Jammu and Kashmir, but they are chased out by Indian flights. No people should have been injured according to Indian sources, despite the fact that Pakistani aircraft have dropped bombs on the way back. A little later, the Pakistani military announces that two Indian fighter aircraft have been shot down and that a pilot has been captured. One plane must have crashed in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, the other on the Indian side of the control line. A few days later, Pakistan releases the captured Indian pilot as a “peace gesture”.

Indian flight attack on Pakistani ground

February 26th

Indian warplanes bomb one of Jaish-e-Mohammad’s fortifications in Balakot inside Pakistan. According to an Indian minister, many of the group’s rebels are killed in the attack, which is carried out after India was notified that Jaish-e-Mohammad was preparing a new attack on India. However, Pakistan says that the attack was met by Pakistani flight and that no man was killed. On the same day, Indian flights shoot down an unmanned drone in the Kutch desert district of Gujarat near the Pakistan border, according to Indian police. In addition, Pakistani representatives say that Indian grenade fire across Kashmir’s control line kills two civilian Pakistani women, two children and injures ten other civilians in two different incidents. The United States, the EU and China call on both India and Pakistan to show restraint in the tense situation that occurred after the suicide bombing in Indian Kashmir on February 14.

Pakistan bans two Islamist groups

February 21st

Pakistan bans two Islamist groups, Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Falah-e-Insaniat, who are considered to go the banned terrorist-stamped Lashkar-e-Taiba cases. Both claim that they only work with charity, but the groups emerged after Lashkar-e-Taiba was banned after the group was designated as the Bombay deed in 2008, when 166 people were killed. The pressure from the US and India on Pakistan to act against terrorists in Pakistani territory is great following the Kashmir Council on February 14 when some 40 Indian soldiers were killed.

Three men behind Kashmir council are killed

February 19

A spokesman for the Indian Army announces that three men belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammad and who participated in the suicide attack in Indian-controlled Kashmir on February 14 were killed on February 18 in a firefight with government soldiers outside Srinagar. Two of the killed terrorists were Pakistanis, one of whom was one of the group’s top commanders. According to the army spokesman, the attack was planned and organized in Pakistan, especially by the ISI military intelligence service. Four Indian government soldiers, a police officer and a civilian were also killed in the fighting.

Saudi agreements are signed

February 17th

Pakistan is visited by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. During the visit, seven agreements are formally signed, which together means that Saudi Arabia invests approximately $ 20 billion in Pakistan’s economy and infrastructure (for details, see September 2018, October 2018 and December 2018).

Tense in Kashmir after terrorist act

February 14th

Relations with India reach a new bottom when the terrorist-stamped group Jaish-e-Mohammad performs the worst violence against Indian military since the 1980s. The group says it was behind the attack that was carried out by a suicide bomber running straight into a military column of 2,500 soldiers outside Srinagar in Indian-controlled Kashmir. More than 40 Indian soldiers were killed. The government in New Delhi designates Pakistan as guilty of what happened because Jaish-e-Mohammad is allowed to stay within the borders of the neighboring country. The Indian government will take “all possible diplomatic steps” to “completely isolate” Pakistan internationally. At the same time, India is abolishing the special trade privileges enjoyed by Pakistan since 1996 and introducing tariff duties of 200 percent for Pakistani goods.

HD warns the military

6th of February

In unusually clear terms, the Supreme Court upholds the military and the intelligence service by reminding them that the Constitution prohibits the military from acting politically. The statement from the court is a comment on suspicions that the military intelligence service acted in the background to support supporters of the mock laws during mass demonstrations 2017.


Asia Bibi may leave the country

January 28

Christian woman Asia Bibi, who was acquitted in October 2018 after serving ten years in prison for violating the mock laws, can now leave Pakistan after the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal of the acquittal. Bibi later moves to Canada later in the spring and reunites with her daughters who have been granted political asylum there (see October 2018).

The level of violence in the country is falling

January 22

In 2018, violent resistance groups conducted 264 attacks in Pakistan, according to the Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Center (JTIC). This is 28 percent less than in 2017. Overall (with the perpetrators included) 660 people were killed in these attacks, which is a 29 percent reduction compared to 2017 in terms of terrorist deaths. The attacks were largely targeted at police and military, as well as members of religious minorities. The most common approaches were suicide bombings by a single person and home-made explosive charges.

Construction of coal-fired power plants is postponed

January 14

The PTI government is halting a planned construction of a coal-fired power plant (Rahim Yar Khan) that is part of the comprehensive Sino-Pakistani infrastructure project CPEC. China agrees to do a new overhaul of the power plant, which the Pakistani government believes is overburdening the Treasury. A number of Chinese-backed energy projects have been launched since 2015. The Khan government is struggling to keep government debt in check and has recently been granted aid and loans from the Arab world. The contracts with China were concluded with the old PML-N government.

Pakistan Culture

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