Dear Pakistani Mothers and Fathers and Guardians of lovely marriageable female children,
First of all congratulations on having a daughter or two or five of them….regardless of what people tell you, God really loves you which is why he sent these angels to your house.Feel lucky and be grateful.
Now coming to your deeply felt wish of having a son-in-law from ‘abroad’ because it will (a) make your neighbours jealous (b) guarantee your settlement to a non-Pakistani location (c) bring you some type of esteem and respect …..or whatever your disillusions are (you can’t argue with the logic of a Pakistani parent can you?)
Now, I do not wish to offend anyone in the UK as an Asian Pakistani, and I also do not wish to say that Pakistani parents give preference to wealth and so called status over the true happiness of their kids.Written below is the sum of my observations which may be wrong in some cases.But the truth remains.British Pakistani parents and Local Pakistani parents have their priorities and expectations all wrong.
While my article may seem like a rant against the few ‘bad eggs’ in the British Pakistani society, it is true that I am enraged.Not at the monsters who treat other people’s daughters like this.But at the psychology of Pakistani parents.
Nothing is more frustrating than seeing a Pakistani daughter or sister return from the UK , with a broken marriage, abused and emotionally hurt.This morning I have heard from five women, all of whom were married off to Pakistani UK citizens, and their stories share the common theme of abuse, emotional damage and a bleak future ahead in Pakistan society.
Such is the false bling and shine of a UK passport for Pakistani parents that they automatically assume that their daughter will wallow in a palace full of luxury.This is where a battle of false and ‘great’ expectations begins.So the family of the girl decide to ‘fund’ a better life for their darling girl child while drowning in loans, hoping that their daughter will enable the rest of the siblings to ‘settle’ abroad too.
On the other side, cramped in tiny houses in suburbs or poor neighbourhoods in UK are British Pakistanis who have to live on a budget, and watch every pound they spend, facing economic adversity and basic survival in the ever inflating UK economy.As a young student who taught Math to support my degrees and living in the UK, I have walked those streets and I have talked to the people who have forever left Pakistan.The keep the traditions they took with them in the 50’s, 60’s and even the 80’s close to their heart.Modern Pakistan is possibly a culture shock for them.Some of these families cannot even afford the expense of traveling to the major tourist locations like the Oxford Street in London while still living in ‘London’.
I not only found those areas depressing, I found a particularly upsetting ‘high expectation’ and a ‘privileged behaviour’ within the people there who wished to ‘get’ a daughter-in-law from a ‘good family’ in Pakistan even when they were themselves living off social welfare in UK.
One old lady who I really had a good time talking to, had her hopes to marry her son to her affluent brother’s daughter in Pakistan.She lived in a typical tiny dollhouse we are so accustomed to seeing in British movies somewhere close to East London.When I asked her where the couple would stay after marriage she literally pinpointed to a tiny store room upstairs.There was only one toilet in the house.I wanted to ask her how she expected the rich niece accustomed to Pakistan’s dramatically large mansions to not suffocate there.The lady went on about how household work was so tiring and maids cost a lot of money in UK.I was a bit upset to hear her list of expectations.She even hoped her brother would replace her home furniture on account of the fact that she was allowing her daughter the privilege to marry her son who had a British Passport.Even though I lost touch with her later, I was not surprised when I heard of a lavish marriage in Pakistan, followed by a divorce within a few months.Not surprisingly, a few months later, the lady ‘arranged’ her poor sisters daughter to come and serve her as her daughter in law, a marriage which also ended badly with ugly allegations of abuse and one child disabled due to domestic violence by the son against his wife.
This gap of expectations is scary because each year it causes more depressed people and abandoned children from broken marriages.
The legal problems arise when the marriages are not registered in UK as civil marriages.I am actually disappointed to see that being a so-called champion of Human Rights, London or UK police goes completely oblivious to domestic violence, rape and other criminal activities in areas with Asian immigrants.Perhaps Britain lost the bottom line a long time ago while it was trying to be less biased and politically correct.Having a Pakistan registered marriage simply means that the whole procedure of nullification will occur in Pakistan, leaving the groom with no actionable or enforceable financial accountability.
Think about it, my dear Pakistani parents.You are sending your daughter alone to a place where you do not know the people.I literally mean it that you cannot know a person even if they are your brother or sister, because they live there and you live here.You do not know if your daughter will be exploited and if her whole potential will go to waste with the dowry money being used to pay off the greedy groom’s mortgage and loans.You do not even hire a servant without checking their background or buy land without checking its papers in Pakistan.Yet when you hear about a rishta or proposal from Britain your eyes are closed to any due diligence?
Next time a rishta aunty (local name of Marriage Agents) lets you know that a ‘software engineer’ in UK, USA or Australia is available for marriage, it is best you should preserve the funds for your daughters dowry and invest them in her education and happiness instead.Paying the groom will not bring happiness or stability for your daughter.It will only increase the societal greed for fleecing parents of girls by monsters in human skin.
Or….if you have to marry off your daughter abroad (because that foreign passport is so glittery and irresistible) please use the ‘dowry’ funds to fly to the UK before the marriage and ensuring that you see if the Groom’s so called settled life actually exists.You gave your daughter a flawless childhood.Do not throw her in Hell.Just because it says ‘British Passport Holder’ on the entrance.Give your child the life she desires, guided by the freedom allowed by Allah.
P.S I forgot to address the British Pakistani parents.A daughter in law is a daughter too.In fact you should respect her more for loving your son enough to overlook his basic flaws.She is not a house maid, or chattel or slave of your son.If you teach your son how to respect women now, your grand-daughters and daughters will also live a happy life.Before looking for a girl from a good family ask yourself about your current living conditions in UK.Then observe the atmosphere of the girl’s family.Then try to think if that girl was your biological daughter and someone wished for her to live in the same tight budgetary and emotionally depressing conditions.I hope this will bring a moment of revelation.
A Lawyer and a committed mother of two tiny gentlemen/sons and one gorgeous lady/daughter.