Peoples and Ethnic Groups: Tribal Society - Organization

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Various tribal groups can be found throughout Pakistan, such as the Muslim Pashtun and Baluch or the Pagan Kalash. These tribal societies are located along the border regions of Pakistan, and in isolated areas like the deserts or mountains. Each tribal or ethnic group can be broken down into smaller sub-tribes. For example, the Pashtun people consist of twelve major tribes. The Baluch people consist of the three major groups, the Makrani, the Brahuis, and the Sulemani [8]. Although these tribes make-up an appreciable portion of the population, they do not constitute the majority of Pakistan's population.

Tribal societies are usually small, isolated groups that are self-sufficient and are affiliated within a geographic region. They are fairly cooperative and have little job specialization between individuals of the same sex. Tribal societies are ruled by tribal leaders and rely on extended familial relationships and loyalty for survival. A tribal group is tied together by a common language and culture and the belief in a distant ancestor to which every individual in the tribe is related [9].

Most tribal societies tend to believe in equality of all persons more than state societies; however the Pashtun and Baluch have a male dominated hierarchy within the family and a hierachy of senior over junior members of the family. Individual family groups and individuals between groups are considered equals.

In many societies the tribe forms the basis for political stability and for the promotion of political interests. The tribe is tied through mutual bonds of loyalty and can often function as a cohesive group in situations of war, as well as in peaceful negotiations over marriage, payments or trade. In this kind of society marriage does not take place between individuals, but between groups. Marriage creates alliances outside the family and the tribe or can serve to strengthen ties already present within the family or tribe.

Within the tribe there is usually one recognized leader, usually the oldest man of the family at each level, and the tribe as a whole has a chief at a higher level.

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