Pakistan was formed in 1947, when Indian independence from Great Britain was gained. At this time the Punjab was divided between Pakistan and India. The majority of the population are Muslims, with a number of Sikhs in the Punjab region to the southeast. Approximately 3,500 Pakistani people reside in the Republic of Ireland.
The national language is Urdu, but for most it is a second language spoken in addition to their own regional language, such as Mirpuri, Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Balochi. Most Pakistanis speak fluent English.
Almost all Pakistanis are Muslims. Islam is central to their lifestyle and governs almost every aspect of life.
Lifestyle, Customs and Practices
Under strict Muslim law, it is common, that all females must keep their arms and legs covered after the onset of puberty when in the company of males, other than their father or husband. It is also customary for them to decorate their hands with henna during religious festivals or when they go to weddings. Pakistani women traditionally wear the sari over a short blouse and an underskirt. Many also wear 'salwar kames' (loose trousers and a long tunic). Some women wear traditional long dresses and cover their heads with a scarf (hijab). Family ties are very important to the community and families tend to be extended with the male considered to be the head of it. The majority of Pakistani Muslims in the country who are married will have had their marriages arranged in the traditional manner. Marriage to cousins is very common.