Society and Norms: Class Differences

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Socioeconomic class differences in Pakistan run along the lines of ethnicity and religion. The Baluchis, Pashtuns, and Shi'a Muslims are more likely to be in poverty due to religious discrimination and lack of resources. They have less fresh water, sanitation, health care providers, and education. These groups, who make up the largest socioeconomic class in Pakistan, tend to be discriminated against and sometimes targets of violence from the wealthier classes.

Sunni Muslims, the Punjabi, and Muhajir ethnic groups are more likely to be wealthy and powerful [30]. The middle and upper classes are smaller in size and sometimes extremely wealthy, able to employ cooks, cleaners, and drivers. Like in the United States, people of the same religious, ethnic, and socioeconomic background are more likely to interact and marry.

Gender is another class difference to consider. Women are often sheltered for their protection and do not have the same freedom and rights as men (though they are allowed to vote). In many cases, women do not receive the same education, career opportunities, wages, or health care.

In all social classes, the elderly hold high status and are respected for their wisdom and ability to make good decisions. They are introduced first in social situations, listened to intently, and served first at meals receiving the best cuts of meat. Unfortunately, in some urban areas where the nuclear family model is starting to take hold, the elderly are no longer treated with the same respect and care as they used to be.

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