Exploring Transnational Marriages among Afghan Refugees in Quetta, Balochistan – Social Forces and Cultural Dynamics

  • Syed Kaleem Ullah Department of Anthropology, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad
  • Inam Ullah Leghari Department of Anthropology, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad
Keywords: Transnational Marriages, Cultural Determinants, Afghan Diaspora, Quetta Baluchistan


Building on ethnographic fieldwork and qualitative techniques, this paper attempts to explore the mechanisms through which refugee populations maintain distinct identities through marriages as a cultural process. An examination of the cultural factors determining marriage choices among Afghan refugees in Quetta reveals how the Afghan diaspora maintains social links between the host and the home country. The cultural practices specific to Afghan refugees describe how cultural forces negotiate the demands of assimilation from the host country while maintaining distinct identities as a diaspora. These practices are framed in the debate about the place of refugees in studies on transnationalism. It comments on how social and cultural factors are equally important in determining the behavior of and towards refugees, contrasting the economic and political focus of most work done on the subject. The current study of Afghan refugees' marriage preference highlights the dynamic nature of notions about migration, imagined Diasporas, and continued connection to homeland even after generations of exile in the host country which is Pakistan.