Many of the most advanced and culturally diverse communities can be found in Pakistan. But, the taboos in Pakistan that still prevail in the nation clash with their way of thinking. Despite progress, it still lags behind other countries in terms of global development. A few concepts related to marriage, sexuality, and equality are out of date. Yet the problem is that nobody challenges these ideas. In the same way, those who openly disagree with these principles risk retaliation from particular communities and occasionally from the authorities. It’s critical to first recognize the persistent taboos. Second, it’s crucial to recognize that some of these stereotypes apply to both men and women.
1. Mental Health
There have been widespread initiatives promoting the value of mental health and assistance in contemporary society. Yet, it is not accorded the same emphasis in Pakistan as other domestic issues.
People with mental health issues may hide their symptoms out of fear of being mocked or shamed.
Maheen Nisar, a scientist, said in a 2019 study: Only 400 psychiatrists and five psychiatric hospitals are found in the entire nation, which has a population of more than 180 million, according to the WHO (World Health Organization) This highlights the paucity of knowledge about mental health and downplays the importance of the issue. Nisar emphasized this later by disclosing: In Pakistan, those with mental diseases are openly derided, and patients are frequently called “pagal” (crazy). However, why should those in need have to endure this judgment? More people should have the right to seek the appropriate treatment as they become more aware of their sickness. These emotions might originate in a variety of places as well. For instance, males who are unable to work, women who are subjected to forced marriages, and underprivileged children. Contrary to what Pakistan may believe, mental health is far more common.
2. Domestic Violence
Although it is not a taboo subject in Pakistani society, domestic abuse is nonetheless rarely spoken up in public. Domestic abuse affects people of all sexes, but women seem to bear the burden of it the most. Particularly given that practically every reported instance of this is quickly disregarded. When it comes to domestic violence, female victims frequently lack a voice and have their rights violated.
He claims that raising his voice in front of my husband, who also happens to be his father-in-law, would wreck his marriage. In certain cases, this despicable behavior is excused by the need to “keep the women in line”. These circumstances, however, are not unique; they occur frequently.
Those who come out are viewed as disrespectful or attention-seekers, which is one of Pakistan’s most damaging taboos.
3. Forced Marriages
In Pakistani society, “arranged marriages” or forced unions still have a strong negative stigma.
Although “arranged marriages” are popular in South Asian society, some of them are planned with little regard for the people involved. A little girl is typically “arranged” to marry someone as soon as she is born. She thus loses control of the situation as she ages. This protects the family’s “honor” and shields them from criticism from the communities around them.
In certain cases, women marry young, so the prospective spouse’s family won’t demand a sizable dowry.
But because of how a woman will be regarded in her married life, the idea is so stigmatized. Some will suffer abuse, while others will be coerced into remaining submissive while being treated with contempt. Nonetheless, there are instances where men face the same repercussions for refusing to wed someone, they feel compelled to. Although love weddings are uncommon in Pakistan, those who choose this route are seen with disgrace.
While divorce rates have increased in western nations, it is still seen as a bad thing in most of South Asia. Marriages should always uphold strong family values, according to social expectations and traditional conventions. Separation is therefore viewed as disobedience. But, between mid-2019 to mid-2020, more than 2000 women in Karachi alone filed for divorce, according to Aizbah Khan, a journalist for Bol News. Although though it demonstrates a progressive society and the increasing independence of women, it remains a major taboo in Pakistan. This is due to outdated narratives that suggest men and women should play different roles in relationships. one in which the guy works outside the home while the lady stays at home.
The groom and his family customarily ask the bride and her family for gifts, such as cash or china, as part of the dowry custom. This practice, which targets young, unmarried girls whose attributes rely on their market worth, is referred to as a “grave evil” by the Pakistan Daily Times. Similar to this, if a woman and her family are from the white-collar class, they may face criticism and their parents may be deterred by the request for a dowry. The exchange of dowries during a marriage between a bride and groom was outlawed in 2020, according to numerous publications.
However shortly after this choice, Soch Fact Check, a business that exposes potentially misleading news, made the following statement: “Soch Factcheck determined that these news reports were deceptive and untrue. The National Assembly must enact any new laws that affect the entire nation (NA). On the NA’s website, there are no such records of a new law, nevertheless.
LGBTQ communities have seen ups and downs in their efforts to modernize ideas, philosophies, and acceptance as well as to get rid of the stigma associated with them. In Pakistan, sexual identity is strictly limited to that of a man and a woman. This makes it one of the nation’s most contentious taboos. LGBTQ encompasses a sexuality spectrum unlike any other, and most of Pakistani society does not understand it.
So, the majority of LGBTQ people in Pakistan have established a space for themselves where they may live and defend one another. But this community is compelled to maintain its isolation. Others and families judge LGBTQ people harshly, and they are seen as rebellious and “ambiguous” by others.
According to a 2013 Pew Research study, 90% of Pakistan’s population thought homosexuality was ethically wrong, while only 1% thought it was acceptable. This pejorative story has become prevalent in most societies.
7. Sexual Education
While many Pakistani groups might use improvements in education and access, sexual education is by far one of the most taboo subjects in the nation. Teaching kids about sex is frowned upon due to the prevalence of sexual crimes, even against minors. Many people around the world believe that public campaigns or some type of sex education is required in order to safeguard young people. They think it aids in educating young people about STIs, preventable pregnancies, and acceptable sexual behavior. But, in Pakistan, this kind of conversation is all but outlawed. Due to misunderstandings, especially when discussing sexual protection, the majority of communities in the nation criticize these types of discussions.
In an interview with DW News in 2019, a local community health worker in Sindh emphasized this, saying:” Family planning is becoming increasingly popular these days. Nonetheless, individuals frequently hesitate because of the falsehoods and misconceptions around the usage of contraception.
Some ladies worry that it would render them permanently infertile. In addition, a 2018 investigation by Asim Shaikh and Rohan Ochani into men’s beliefs of sexual practices discovered: “An overwhelming 94% of respondents admitted to masturbating, but 31.4% of them thought it caused bodily problems, and its relationship with guilt was common (76%) among them.
8. Child Abuse
Child abuse is one of Pakistan’s most contentious and hotly debated taboos. Children are sexually molested often and all across the country. Unfortunately, some of these children are so young that they cannot understand what is happening. In other cases, victims frequently withhold reporting any abuse due to shame, fear, and negative reactions. Abuse can sometimes be so severe that it results in death.
The statute establishes the first-ever life-improvement sentence for child abuse. Other taboos in Pakistan aren’t being effectively addressed, even though this one is. To protect those who are most vulnerable, the nation’s rules and regulations need to be completely revised. But, the most important shift must be made in cultural perception. The majority of these taboos and the history around them are the result of years of false stories and misunderstandings.