Dress code and etiquettes in Pakistan.
One way or the other, in Pakistan there is no dress code and those who wear proper dress do not stick to its etiquettes hence we as a nation must stick to certain principles which are long established and reckoned and the beauty is that it does not cost in any case. Before I touch as to what is being exercised in Pakistan, I must make a public announcement that I am not targeting any person or community so please do not paint it otherwise though I know that the practice will not be shunned by bulk majority of my countrymen but yet I thought it fit enough to touch the subject.
The most glaring example is that of shalwar-kameez worn by my male compatriots and at the very outset let me pose few direct, blunt and baffling questions to both males and females of my beloved country. Which gender comes to our mind when we talk of shalwar? To the best of my knowledge and belief it refers to female and I have my doubts if anyone can refute it. Isn’t it primarily worn by female and if the answer is yes then how come Pakistani men have chosen it to wear whereas payjama is basically for male. Who stops our men to wear payjama? In 1st instance, who introduced shalwar for men, when and why? What could be the advantage for a male to wear shalwar or put it that way as to how it could be harmful for a male if he selects to wear payjama? I to corroborate my statement will say that we put one male shalwar and one female shalwar then how one can recognize as to which is which? Which male does not wear kurta/qameez shalwar in Pakistan? How many males wear pyjama in Pakistan?
When I was school going boy I very well still remember that I was wearing kameez/kurta pyjama and perhaps till graduation (1964) it continued alike. However as the trend to wear shalwar in men has set in so much that it was a bit difficult to find readymade pyjama suit wheras kameez/kurta shalwar was available at all the places and since people do not much free time so none bothered to hunt for pyjama and gradually it died its own death. Over here it must be mentioned that Urdu speaking men were wearing pyjama and it has been the practice for a long time but then they started to shun pyajama and preferred shalwar instead. Moreover, impact of migration from India to Pakistan has played very significant role for the very simple reason that Urdu speaking males who migrated to Pakistan from India after independence were wearing pyjama but since they have seen the locals wearing shalwar they also switched over to shalwar. Interestingly, in the earlier years after the partition, Urdu speaking migrants wearing pyjama were taken as coward and named as bhayya so it was an admitted fact at that point of time that Urdu speaking must be wearing payjama and not shalwar but now it is nothing more than a part of history.
As per the etiquettes, all buttons of a shirt / kurta must be buttoned up except the top one but regretfully many times quite good number of people who are certainly many respectable, nicely educated and highly placed men is found keeping the second button, some even third button, open which is nothing but contravention of moral principles. This is more practiced in summer than winter but I do not find any rationale as to how it eases up even during summer. Vague argument is that more air can pass through open button to the body and hence the person feels cooler but I doubt it justifies keeping the button open. Amongst Pakistanis, quite a big number of people keep their 2nd button open and though most of them who do alike are either uneducated or marginally employed but I very much regret to pen that quite surprisingly one can find such men in our intelligentsia as well and that too right from top to bottom and I can even name some of them who fall in this category. Mian Nawaz Sharif twice had been our PM and even now trying hard to become PM for 3rd time as well is mostly in kurta-shalwar and you can yourself see that his second button is open. Tariq Aziz, based in Lahore is undoubtedly one of the leading figures on our tv screens who earlier conducted ‘Neelam Ghar’ and now conducts ‘Tariq Show’ is yet another person whose 2nd button of kameez or kurta is not buttoned up. I have posted 2 letters to him pointing it out and though I am not sure if he received them or not but later on I did see him when he was properly buttoned up and quite naturally I was too happy to see him alike but alas he did not change as he was found again with open button.
Incidentally one can find some who do not button up their shirt sleeves and or turn their sleeves in between the wrist and elbow which again is a sign of indecency. Codified practice, if at all necessary, is that sleeves be rolled up to elbow and not before by everyone whether in khaki or otherwise. It reminds me of the day when I saw Gen Pervez Musharraf, President and COAS clad in army uniform and had turned his sleeves half way while addressing a public gathering. I was with my friend when I noticed it and straight away I wrote a letter to Gen about it but no response was ever received from President House. I wish that all those who want to roll up their sleeves should preferably use half-sleeve shirt so that the question of rolling up sleeves does not arise but this will be the approach if those who know the principles of morality and etiquettes and not otherwise.
Who didn’t see well educated, highly placed and belonging to our upper strata putting pen, and occasionally pens, in coat upper pocket? Again a commoner and less educated do it alike. As a matter of fact, this pocket on the left hand side is meant to insert coat handkerchief which is also called pocket handkerchief. You must have seen those, who are very few in numbers in any case, using tie-set wherein tie neck and pocket hanky is of the same material, design and color. Our former Foreign Minister Raza Kasuri has been seen by me on tv wearing the set though I have seen some more gentlemen also alike though their names are not striking to me at this point of time.
Any one on my side or for that matter anyone who opposes me?
Iqbal Hadi Zaidi / Kuwait