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What Is It to Be a Dad in Pakistan?

22 June 2009 No Comment

Naeem Harry

Naeem Harry


Pakistani dads are confused. They have a strict tribal living model that brings primitive living to their families, and very especially to the female members of the family, but they feel forced to live according to the tribal values.

The electronic media play an important role in the life of a Pakistani dad. Here he comes to know the other cultures, very especially the western culture. This culture he finds too free and modern, which he thinks does not match with his Pakistani culture. How he should bring up his children, and very especially daughters, is not still clear to him.

Pakistani dads or fathers go through the following stages:

1-Before marriage: He dreams of having a beautiful bride who will take care of him, his future children, and his household in a joint family. He dreams that he will have children, mostly two boys and two girls. He dreams and plans to educate his kids without any discrimination.

2-After marriage: The father begins his life with his wife and children both male and female. He loves the male and female children equally. He tries to provide equal opportunities to his sons and daughters.

3-Dad with grown-up children: Now the children are 16, the girls act like adults and they want to use their adulthood, and in this stage the father starts discriminating against the daughters. They are forbidden to go out of the house, they are forbidden to be familiar and have fun with males outside the family. The father who is the head of the house makes decision for his daughters (marriage, studies, jobs). Now the girls make silent agitation without any hope.

4-Lifelong dependency: The father in Pakistan loves the children; he puts his heart and soul into bringing up the children; but he never teaches the children to be independent. He might teach some independent living to his male children, but would not encourage independent living for his daughters. Therefore, as a result he has to take the responsibility of his daughters until they are wed. In order to marry his daughters he has to arrange for a dowry, which is most of the time beyond his financial means. He even takes the responsibility of his grandkids forever. The dad is always overburdened and has never has the opportunity to enjoy, which naturally affects his physical and psychological health.

THE HOPE: Pakistani dads have a hope that one day there will be peace and harmony where their daughters will be able to live a life of dignity and human respect. While I share their hope, only education can bring change into the lives of these dads. I see some change already, but a lot still has to change.

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