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Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
Eric: Hi and welcome back to UrduPod101.com. This is All About, lesson 8. The Top Five Things You Need to Know About Pakistani Society. I’m Eric.
Afrah: Assalam u Alaikum dosto. Mera naam Afrah hai. Hi everybody, my name is Afrah.
Eric: In this lesson, we’re going to tell you more about life in Pakistan.
Afrah: There are so many aspects to Pakistani society. It’s just hard to know where to begin.
Eric: Well, since the title of this lesson is the top five things you need to know about Pakistani society, I picked five topics.
Afrah: And what are they?
Eric: Pakistan’s city life, family life, work culture, politics, and general trends.
Afrah: Wow! We’re all set then, right?
Eric: Let’s get into the topic of city life.
Afrah: Pakistan is divided into 4 provinces and 4 federally administered areas. Islamabad is the capital city.
Eric: According to a recent census of Pakistan, there were an estimated 1.67 million people living in the city of Islamabad. That’s not a huge number, so the city isn’t as crowded as others in the country.
Afrah: But over the years, Islamabad’s population has expanded very quickly because of the success of education, work, infrastructure, services, its moderate weather, and tourism. So people from all parts of the country want to work and live in this beautiful city.
Eric: Oh, I see! Because of the migration of people from across the country, Islamabad has grown to be a multicultural cosmopolitan metropolis.
Afrah: That’s right.
Eric: Afrah, can you tell us more about the climate in Islamabad?
Afrah: Islamabad has a humid subtropical climate with long, hot summers and brief, mild winters. It experiences a monsoon season of heavy rains in summer.
Eric: How about transportation in Islamabad?
Afrah: The Islamabad Metro Bus is a mass rapid transit system built that is operated by the Islamabad Metro Bus Authority.
Eric: It serves many parts of Islamabad as well as the neighboring city of Rawalpindi.
Afrah: Also, in Islamabad, auto rickshaws are not allowed by the government. Yellow cabs are used for public transportation.
Eric: And naturally, cabs are more expensive than Metro Buses.
Afrah: Now, Pakistan’s next major city is Karachi.
Eric: Since it’s the home of the top industries, it’s known as the financial capital of Pakistan. It’s also the second most populous city in the world.
Afrah: That’s right. Another major city is Lahore.
Eric:There’s a famous saying about this city, right?
Afrah: Right! Jinnay Lahore ni waikhaya oo jamiya ii nai, meaning “One who has not seen Lahore is not born yet.” This saying is famous because the city has a lot to offer when it comes to old cultural buildings, forts, mosques, and shopping streets.
Eric: And, the variety of foods offered by Lahori restaurants attract people from all over the world. Can you tell us about family life in a big city like Islamabad?
Afrah: Well, there are a few interesting things to note. One is that you won’t see as many big families in Islamabad as compared to other cities.
Eric: It’s very common in most parts of Pakistan for three generations, so the children, parents and their grandparents, to live together in the same household. However, a trend toward nuclear families can be seen in Islamabad.
Afrah: Also something that is kind of surprising is how long children live with their parents. They live at home well into their adult years, sometimes even until they get married.
Eric: That’s quite a big difference compared to the US, I think.
Afrah: Right. Speaking of marriage, marriage is thought to be for life and the divorce rate is extremely low.
Eric: People used to think that if you weren’t married by 25, it would be too late, right?
Afrah: Yeah, some people still think like that, but things are changing, especially in big cities.
Eric: Why is that?
Afrah: Well, there are a lot of different factors that contribute to it. People are less willing to settle and are choosier about their partners. A lot of young women these days value their careers and in some cases getting married will hinder advances in their career. So there are a lot of things to consider.
Eric: But it looks like parents still encourage their children to marry once they reach a certain age.
Afrah: That’s true. Some parents might even have a matchmaking service help with the search for a partner.
Eric: That’s interesting. Well, now let’s talk about Pakistani work culture. Are there any unique facets of Pakistani culture?
Afrah: Yes. Dress codes are a unique thing about the working culture of Pakistan. Pakistani people normally dress in traditional clothes while they’re working. For men, this is shalwar kameez. For women, this is western or Pakistani dress.
Eric: I see. Anything else that you would like to mention with regards to the uniqueness of working culture?
Afrah: Yes, one more thing. Pakistan’s “stretchable time” has been known to drive some people up the wall.
Eric: Ah yes, a business meeting beginning half an hour after the scheduled time is not uncommon.
Afrah: Exactly. Coming in late, while not encouraged, is not really punished either.
Eric: How about work-life balance? Do you have very long working hours?
Afrah: Well, luckily for those with Pakistani white-collar jobs, the work-life balance is quite good.
Eric: That’s important. What about meals at the workplace?
Afrah: We have the tiffin system, which means wives prepare food, package it, and send it to the workplace. It’s very popular.
Eric: That’s really great. The system allows you to savor a home cooked meal at work, and it saves money.
Afrah: Yeah, that’s true, but multinational companies often have cafeterias that offer vegetarian and non-vegetarian food at a subsidized rate.
Eric: Sounds great! Now let’s get into politics for a moment. The president of Pakistan is the head of state.
Afrah: That’s correct.
Eric: But what’s the role of the prime minister?
Afrah: Well, that’s a good question. The prime minister is the head of government and exercises most executive powers.
Eric: How old do people have to be in Pakistan to vote?
Afrah: 18 is the voting age.
Eric: So that’s similar to other countries. Finally, let’s talk about general trends in Pakistan.
Afrah: There are some generational trends that I want to talk about. Pakistani society is changing quickly in a lot of ways.
Eric: So a lot of people probably aren’t doing things the way their grandparents or even their parents did before them.
Afrah: Yes, like the lifetime employment system, for example. The older generation was really loyal to the company they worked for. They would work a lot of overtime, most of which was unpaid and just for the good of the company.
Eric: The younger generation, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to really have the same mindset.
Afrah: That’s right – I think attitudes are changing.
Eric: These days, it doesn’t seem like changing jobs is really a big deal anymore. If there is something that someone is not satisfied with, they will find a new company to work for.
Afrah: That’s right. You might be able to say that they have more of their own interest in mind.
Eric: Members of the older generation might see this as being selfish, but it will be interesting to see how the generations continue to change.
Afrah: Well, that’s a glimpse into the Pakistani society of today. We hope you enjoyed it, listeners!

Outro

Eric: Okay, that’s all for this lesson. Thank you for listening, everyone, and we’ll see you next time!
Afrah: Phr milenge!

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Libby
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From my experience it is very common for Pakistani families to go around town by car if they have one, even for extremely short ways. On the one hand this is kind of a negative attitude because like this you miss the chance of excercising yourself by a walk. On the other hand it’s understandable because in many cities it is complicated to walk around a lot because you have dense traffic which can sometimes be dangerous for pedestrians in some areas, as well as construction places within cities that might occasionally block your way