Pakistan has a rich and unique culture that has preserved established traditions throughout history. Many cultural practices, foods, monuments, and shrines were inherited from the rule of Muslim Mughal and Afghan emperors including the national dress of Shalwar Qameez. Women wear brightly coloured shalwar qameez, while men often wear solid-coloured ones, usually with a sherwani or achkan (long coat) that is worn over the garment.
The variety of Pakistani music ranges from diverse provincial folk music and traditional styles such as Qawwali and Ghazal Gayaki to modern forms fusing traditional and western music, such as the synchronisation of Qawwali and western music by the renowned Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Other major Ghazal singers include Mehdi Hassan, Ghulam Ali, Farida Khanum, Tahira Syed, Abida Parveen and Iqbal Bano. The arrival of Afghan refugees in the western provinces has rekindled Pashto and Persian music and established Peshawar as a hub for Afghan musicians and a distribution centre for Afghan music abroad. Until the 1990s, the state-owned Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) and Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation were the dominant media outlets, but there are now numerous private television channels such as Geo TV, Indus TV, Hum,ARY, KTN, Sindh TV and Kashish. Various American, European, and Asian television channels and movies are available to the majority of the Pakistani population via cable and satellite television. There are also small indigenous movie industries based in Lahore and Peshawar (often referred to as Lollywood and Pollywood). Although Bollywood movies are banned, Indian film stars are generally popular in Pakistan.
Pakistani society is largely multilingual and predominantly Muslim, with high regard for traditional family values, although urban families have grown into a nuclear family system due to the socio-economic constraints imposed by the traditional joint family system. Recent decades have seen the emergence of a middle class in cities like Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Hyderabad, Faisalabad, Sukkur and Peshawar that wish to move in a more liberal direction, as opposed to the northwestern regions bordering Afghanistan that remain highly conservative and dominated by centuries-old regional tribal customs. Increasing globalization has increased the influence of “Western culture” with Pakistan ranking 46th on the Kearney/FP Globalization Index. There are an approximated four million Pakistanis living abroad, with close to a half-million expatriates living in the United States and around a million living in Saudi Arabia.As well as nearly one million people of Pakistani descent in the United Kingdom, there are burgeoning cultural connections.
Tourism is a growing industry in Pakistan, based on its diverse cultures, peoples and landscapes. Ancient civilization ruins such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Taxila, to the Himalayan hill stations attract those interested in field and winter sports. Pakistan is home to several mountain peaks over 7000m, which attracts adventurers and mountaineers from around the world, especially K2. The northern parts of Pakistan have many old fortresses, towers and other architecture as well as the Hunza and Chitral valleys, the latter being home to the small pre-Islamic Animist Kalasha community who claim descent from the army of Alexander the Great. Punjab is the site of Alexander’s battle on the Jhelum River and the historic city Lahore, Pakistan’s cultural capital with many examples of Mughal architecture such as the Badshahi Masjid, Shalimar Gardens, Tomb of Jahangir and the Lahore Fort.