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Peggy Farooqi
Mum of 3 (1994, 1995, 1998)- born in East Germany --lived in UK/ Kent since 1993 -- studied criminology -- love reading / writing / travelling / needlecraft 
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17 May 2015

Pakistan - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture
Safia Haleem
Publication Date
May 2013
Travel Guide

Pakistan is a land with a unique history, formed by migrating peoples who have left their footprint in its diverse cultures, languages, literature, food, dress, and folklore. The country is besieged by bad news, but despite the political turmoil the everyday life of its people is more stable, rich, and rewarding than the media headlines would lead you to believe. A myriad local festivals and celebrations and a vibrant cultural life go unremarked. Pakistan has the eighth-largest standing army in the world and is the only Muslim-majority nation to possess nuclear weapons, but few know that it is also the home of two unique schools of art.

This complex nation consists of various ethnic groups, each with its own individual cultures and subcultures, but which are unified by the common values of hospitality, honor, and respect for elders. Pakistani society has extremes of wealth and poverty, and daily life for most people is full of difficulties, yet everyone knows how to cope with crises. Creative and adaptable, Pakistanis are among the most self-reliant people in the world, bouncing back after major catastrophes.

Culture Smart! Pakistan takes you behind the headlines and introduces you to many of the country’s little-known traditions. It describes the vitally important cultural and historical background, shows you how modern Pakistanis live today, and offers crucial advice on what to expect and how to behave in different circumstances. This is an extraordinary country of enterprising, tough, and passionate people. Earn their trust and you will be rewarded many times over.

My review

If you are intending to travel to Pakistan, and have never been there and/or have no further connection to Pakistan, I would say this book is almost an essential reading, and this applies to the tourist, the business person and someone visiting family there. But not only for the traveller, but also if you are interested in different cultures this makes a very interesting read.

Understandably maybe, Pakistan has a very bad press and is not associated with a country to go on holiday to, which is a shame really as it has so much to offer. The book is keeping neutral whilst getting the right balance in introducing us to this amazing country, really waiting to be discovered. But, at the same time, it is important to know about cultural differences (not necessarily to do with religion) and also simple security measures. 

Living in a European country, Pakistan couldn't be further different from my current surroundings. I have a Pakistani husband who left his home country many years ago and even he found many interesting facts he didn't know. I have been to Pakistan before I read the book and often thought 'Yes, exactly' but also still found facts where I'd wish I'd known it on my previous journeys.
Short enough, this is the ideal book to download on your E-reader and browse before you travel and re-read on the plane. 

One of the issues with travel guides like this is that the situation in the country can change quickly, so one of my concerns was also to find the most current travel book on Pakistan, and this one from 2013 is the newest one I could find. 
The book covers following: land and people; values and attitudes; customs and traditions; making friends; private and family life; time out; travel, health and safety; business briefing; communicating. 

I am very much looking forward to my next trip to Pakistan. 

About the author (from Amazon)
SAFIA HALEEM was born and grew up in Peshawar, northwestern Pakistan, and graduated from Peshawar University with an M.A. in English Literature. She worked as a teacher trainer in all the main cities of Pakistan before winning a British Council scholarship to study in Scotland. After gaining a post-graduate degree in Linguistics from the University of Edinburgh, she returned to Pakistan and co-authored the book "Visuals for Language Teachers." In 1987 she moved to London and joined the BBC. Her work as a journalist has taken her to India, Iran, China, Afghanistan, and all over Pakistan. In 2004, she was project director for the BBC World Service Trust in Afghanistan. She is currently developing educational material for the Afghan Medical Association, whose work benefits people on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border. Safia is an established writer in Pashto, her first language, and has published several novels and short stories in the language.