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Pakistan travel guide - Travel S helper

Pakistan

travel guide

Pakistan, formally known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a federal parliamentary republic situated at the crossroads of South and West Asia. It is the sixth-most populated nation in the world, with a population of more than 200 million people. It is the world’s 36th biggest nation in terms of land area, having a size of 881,913 km2 (340,509 sq mi). Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometer (650-mile) coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south, and is bounded to the east by India, to the west by Afghanistan, to the southwest by Iran, and to the far northeast by China. It is divided from Tajikistan in the north by Afghanistan’s narrow Wakhan Corridor, and it also has a sea border with Oman.

The territory that is now Pakistan is regarded as a cradle of civilization, having previously been home to several ancient cultures, including the Neolithic Mehrgarh and the Bronze Age Indus Valley Civilisation, and later being home to kingdoms ruled by people of various faiths and cultures, including Hindus, Indo-Greeks, Muslims, Turco-Mongols, Afghans, and Sikhs. The Indian Mauryan Empire, the Persian Achaemenid Empire, Alexander of Macedonia, the Arab Umayyad Caliphate, the Delhi Sultanate, the Mongol Empire, the Mughal Empire, the Durrani Empire, the Sikh Empire, and the British Empire have all reigned over the region.

Pakistan is unusual among Muslim nations in that it is the only one that was founded in the name of Islam. Pakistan was established in 1947 as an independent country for Muslims from the Subcontinent’s east and west, where there was a Muslim majority, as a consequence of the Pakistan Movement headed by Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the subcontinent’s fight for independence. Pakistan, which was formerly a dominion, adopted a new constitution in 1956, establishing an Islamic republic. A civil war in 1971 culminated in East Pakistan seceding to form the new nation of Bangladesh.

Pakistan is a federal parliamentary republic that is divided into four provinces and four federal areas. It is a nation with a varied ethnic and linguistic population, as well as a diverse landscape and fauna. Pakistan is a regional and medium power with the world’s seventh biggest standing military forces. It is also a nuclear power and a proclaimed nuclear-weapons state, the only one in the Muslim world and the second in South Asia. It has a semi-industrialized economy with a well-integrated agricultural sector; its economy is the world’s 26th biggest in terms of buying power and 45th largest in terms of nominal GDP; and it is also classified as one of the world’s rising and growth-leading countries.

Pakistan’s post-independence history has been marked by periods of military dictatorship, political instability, and wars with neighboring India. The nation is still dealing with difficult issues like as overpopulation, terrorism, poverty, illiteracy, and corruption. Despite these constraints, Pakistan has strategic assets and development potential, and it has achieved significant progress in decreasing poverty, ranking second in South Asia in terms of headcount poverty. The country’s affluent middle class, which is now the 18th biggest in the world, has lately expanded rapidly. Pakistan’s stock exchange is Asia’s best-performing stock market, and it is included in the MSCI’s developing markets index as of 2016. It is a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Next Eleven Economies, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, ECO, UfC, D8, Cairns Group, Kyoto Protocol, ICCPR, RCD, UNCHR, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Group of Eleven, CPFTA, Group of 24, the G20 developing nations, ECOSOC, SAARC, and CERN.

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Pakistan - Info Card

Population

242,923,845

Currency

Pakistani rupee (₨) (PKR)

Time zone

UTC+05:00 (PKT)

Area

881,913 km2 (340,509 sq mi)

Calling code

+92

Official language

Urdu - English

Pakistan | Introduction

Tourism in Pakistan

In 2011 and 2012, 1.1 million international visitors visited Pakistan, providing $351 million and $369 million to the country’s GDP, respectively. Since the 1970s, when the nation attracted record numbers of foreign visitors thanks to the famous Hippie path, there has been a substantial decrease. Thousands of Europeans and Americans flocked to the route in the 1960s and 1970s, traveling by land via Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan to India. The Khyber Pass, Peshawar, Karachi, Lahore, Swat, and Rawalpindi were the most popular tourist attractions. After the Iranian Revolution and the Soviet–Afghan War, however, the path faded.

The nation, on the other hand, continues to draw an estimated half-million foreign visitors. The attractions of Pakistan vary from ancient civilisation ruins such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa, and Taxila to Himalayan hill stations. Pakistan has a number of mountain summits that rise over 7000 meters. The Hunza and Chitral valleys, home to a tiny pre-Islamic AnimistKalashacommunity claiming lineage from Alexander the Great, are located in Pakistan’s northwestern region. The Badshahi Masjid, Shalimar Gardens, Tomb of Jahangir, and the Lahore Fort are all examples of Mughal architecture in Pakistan’s cultural capital, Lahore.

The Guardian published “The top five tourist attractions in Pakistan” in October 2006, only one year after the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, in attempt to aid the country’s tourism sector. Taxila, Lahore, The Karakoram Highway, Karimabad, and Lake Saiful Muluk were among the five locations. To raise awareness of Pakistan’s diverse cultural heritage. Pakistan was rated in the top 25% of tourism destinations in the World Economic Forum’s Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report in 2009 for its World Heritage sites. From mangroves in the south to the 5,000-year-old towns of the Indus Valley Civilization, such as Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, tourist attractions abound.

Geography Of Pakistan

Pakistan is bordered on three sides by the Arabian Sea: Afghanistan to the northwest, Iran to the southwest, India to the east, and China to the northeast. Pakistan has its own distinct personality, although it shares many characteristics with its neighbors, particularly Afghanistan and India.

Pakistan is one of the few nations on the planet with every geological formation imaginable. The sea, desert (Sindh & Punjab), green mountains (North West Province), arid mountains (Balochistan), snow-capped mountains, rivers, fertile land (Punjab & Sindh), water resources, waterfalls, and forests are all present. The Himalayan, Karakoram, and Hindu Kush mountain ranges are all found in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan. The highest point in Pakistan is K2, which is the world’s second highest mountain at 8,611 meters. Punjab is a flat, alluvial plain with rivers that ultimately join the Indus and travel south to the Arabian Sea. Sindh is bordered on the east by the Thar Desert and the Rann of Kutch, and on the west by the Kirthar range. The Balochistan Plateau is arid, with dry mountains around it. Pakistan is prone to earthquakes, which may be strong at times, particularly in the north and west.

Climate In Pakistan

Desert climate; moderate in the northwest; arctic in the north. Flooding along the Indus River as a result of severe rainfall (July and August). The Punjab area is fertile and has a sub-humid climate. The climate ranges from tropical to moderate, with dry conditions in the southernmost regions. There is a monsoon season, which is characterized by high rainfall and frequent floods, and a dry season, which has considerably less rainfall or none at all. A cold, dry winter lasts from December to February; a hot, dry spring lasts from March to May; the summer rainy season, or southwest monsoon period, lasts from June to September; and the retreating monsoon period lasts from October to November. Rainfall fluctuates dramatically from year to year, and alternating flood and drought cycles are frequent.

Demographics Of Pakistan

According to the United States Census Bureau, the country’s population was 199,085,847 (199.1 million) in 2015, accounting for 2.57 percent of the global population. It is the world’s sixth most populous country, with a growth rate of 2.03 percent, the highest among the SAARC countries, and an annual increase of 3.6 million people. By 2020, the population is expected to reach 210.13 million, and by 2045, it will have doubled.

Pakistan had a population of 32.5 million at the time of division in 1947, however between 1990 and 2009, the population grew by 57.2 percent. It is projected to overtake Indonesia as the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation by 2030. Pakistan is a “young country,” with a median age of around 22 and 104 million inhabitants under 30 in 2010. Pakistan’s fertility rate is 3.07, which is greater than India’s (2.57). Around 35% of the population is under the age of 15. The vast majority of people in Southern Pakistan reside along the Indus River, with Karachi serving as the country’s most populated commercial hub. The cities of Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Sargodha, Islamabad, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Gujrat, Jhelum, Sheikhupura, Nowshera, Mardan, and Peshawar form an arc in the eastern, western, and northern parts of Pakistan. Between 1990 and 2008, city residents accounted for 36% of Pakistan’s population, making it the most urbanized country in South Asia. By 2013, that figure had risen to 38%. Furthermore, half of Pakistanis reside in towns with populations of 5,000 or more individuals.

In 2013, healthcare spending accounted for 2.8 percent of GDP. In 2013, females had a life expectancy of 67 years and men had a life expectancy of 65 years. Outpatient appointments in the private sector account for about 80% of all visits. Malnutrition affects about 19% of the population and 30% of children under the age of five. In 2012, the mortality rate for children under the age of five was 86 per 1,000 live births.

Social groups

Punjabis, Pashtuns (Pathans), Sindhis, and Balochs comprise the majority of the population. According to 2009 estimates, the Punjabis have a population of 78.7 million (45 percent), whereas the Pashtuns have a population of 29.3 million (15.42 percent ). The Sindhis are believed to number 24.8 million (14.1%), with the Seraikis, a sub-group of Punjabis, numbering 14.8 million (8.4 percent ). The Urdu-speaking Muhajirs (Indian immigrants) number 13.3 million (7.57%), whereas the Balochs number 6.3 million (3.57%), making them the lowest group in terms of population. The remaining 11.1 million (4.66 percent) are Hazaras and other ethnic minorities. There is also a sizable Pakistani diaspora, with over seven million people living in other countries.

Religion

After Indonesia, Pakistan has the world’s second-largest Muslim population. Pakistanis are mostly Muslim, accounting for 97.0 percent of the population. Sunni Muslims make up the majority, with Shia Muslims accounting for 10–25% of the population. With a Shia population of about 42.5 million, Pakistan is believed to have the world’s third biggest Shia population after Iran and India. However, according to a PEW study from 2012, just 6% of Pakistani Muslims are Shia. The Ahmadis are a minority sect in Pakistan, although one with a considerably smaller population, who are legally classified as non-Muslims according to a constitutional amendment. There are a number of Quraniyoon communities as well. Sectarian violence among Muslim denominations has risen after the 9/11 attacks in the United States, with systematic targeted murders of both Sunnis and Shias. Both Shias and Sunnis protested throughout the nation in 2013, asking for an end to sectarian violence, a toughening of the law and order, and a call for Shia-Sunni unification. The Ahmadis have been oppressed in particular since 1974, when they were forbidden to call themselves Muslims. The term “mosque” was prohibited for Ahmadiyya houses of worship in 1984. Non-denominational Muslims account for 12 percent of Pakistani Muslims as of 2012.

According to the 1998 Census, Hinduism is Pakistan’s second most popular religion after Islam. Pakistan has the world’s fifth-largest Hindu population in 2010, and PEW estimates that by 2050, Pakistan would have the fourth-largest Hindu population. The Hindu (jati) population was 2,111,271 in the 1998 Census, while the Hindu (scheduled castes) population was 332.343. Hindus may be found in all of Pakistan’s provinces, although Sindh has the highest concentration. Sindhi, Seraiki, Aer, Dhatki, Gera, Goaria, Gurgula, Jandavra, Kabutra, Koli, Loarki, Marwari, Sansi, and Vaghri are some of the languages they speak.

According to the 1998 Census, Christians were the second-largest religious minority after Hindus, with a population of 2,092,902. They were followed by the Bahá’ Faith, which had 30,000 followers, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Zoroastrianism, all of which had 20,000 adherents at the time, and a tiny group of Jains. When Karachi’s infrastructure was being built by the British under colonial rule between World War I and World War II, a Roman Catholiccommunity was formed by Goan and Tamil migrants. Atheism has a little impact, with just 1.0 percent of the population identifying as atheist in 2005. According to Gallup, the percentage increased to 2.0 percent in 2012.

Islam, Pakistan’s primary religion, has absorbed pre-Islamic elements to some degree, resulting in a religion with certain traditions different from those of the Arab world. Ali Hajweri in Lahore (about 12th century) and Shahbaz Qalander in Sehwan, Sindh, are two Sufis whose shrines attract a lot of national attention (c. 12th century). Sufism, a mystical Islamic discipline, has a long history in Pakistan and a sizable following. Thursday night gatherings at shrines and yearly festivals featuring Sufi music and dance are central to popular Sufi culture. Contemporary Islamic fundamentalists criticize its popular nature, which they believe does not properly represent the Prophet’s and his companions’ teachings and practices.

Language In Pakistan

Urdu is the native and official language of Pakistan, and it is widely used as a lingua franca across the country. Most Pakistanis speak regional languages or dialects in addition to Urdu, including as Punjabi, Pothohari, Sindhi, Pashto (Pushtun), Balochi, Saraiki, Shina, Burushaski, Khowar, Wakhi, Hindko, and others.

English is also an official language in the country (British control began in the 1840s and did not end until 1947). In large cities, English is widely spoken and understood, and many individuals across the nation speak it at various degrees of proficiency. It is extensively utilized in government, educational institutions, and the commercial and corporate sectors, particularly in banking and trade.

Pakistani English is the local dialect of English.

Internet & Communications in Pakistan

If you are calling Pakistan from outside the nation, the country code is +92. In bigger districts, phone numbers are seven digits long with a two-digit city code, and in smaller districts, six digits long with a three-digit city code, for a total of nine digits (except for Azad Kashmir). Mobile phone numbers, on the other hand, are all seven digits long and begin with the four-digit network code “03XX,” where XX denotes the cellular operator. As a result, unlike in North America, Pakistani mobile numbers are tied to a single cellular carrier rather than a specific location. As a result, dialing the city prefix in addition to the cellular prefix is not recommended. When dialing a city or cell number from outside Pakistan, remove the first zero and prefix the ’92’ country code after dialing your country’s international access code, like in many other nations. Thus, dialing TelenorTM mobile number 765 4321 from the United States or Canada would result in 011 92 345 765 4321, while dialing Peshawar landline 234-5678 from France or the United Kingdom would result in 00 92 91 234-5678.

00 is the international access code for calls made from Pakistan.

PTCL provides both fixed and mobile phone services.

There are Public Call Offices all throughout the nation. A PCO may be found in almost half of all general shops, where someone is typically on hand to answer the phone and fax. Fees will be calculated based on the amount of time you spend on the phone, and you will be charged after you have completed your call.

The fact that all Pakistani cellular carriers utilize the GSM platform means that cellular phones may be easily swapped between providers throughout the country.

A few years ago, cell phones were considered a status symbol, but the telecoms sector has seen a bit of a boom since 2002. Nowadays, there isn’t a single individual in the nation who does not own a personal mobile phone. There are a number of service providers that provide a wide range of plans. Mobilink, Warid Telecom, Telenor, Ufone, and Zong are among them (China Mobile). Purchasing a mobile phone and using a prepaid plan to stay connected while in the country is a good option. Mobile phones and prepaid contracts are both inexpensive; a new cell phone costs about Rs 2,000, while a prepaid connection costs around Rs 150-400.

Due to security concerns, you will be required to submit official documentation such as visas, residence permits, and a written statement that you will not use the given phone number for any unlawful activity in order to buy a SIM card. Possession of an unconfirmed SIM card will be regarded a severe and punishable offense beginning in March 2015.

Internet

Cybercafés may be found on almost every street corner, with hourly prices as low as Rs 15-20. Don’t be too impatient since they generally don’t have a fast operating system. Typically, they utilize 14-inch monitors with Windows 2000, Windows 98, or Windows XP loaded. The majority of the cafés offer an adequate internet connection.

Internet access on notebook computers is simple with the assistance of GPRS-enabled mobile connections, which are supported by almost all of the five mobile carriers. Mobilink offers EDGE service in a few parts of Karachi, although Telenor’s EDGE coverage is much broader. GPRS/EDGE use costs between Rs 10 and Rs 18 every MB of data transmitted, while Zong charges Rs 15 per hour. If you want to download a lot more, you may choose for limitless packages, which are currently only available from Warid, Mobilink, and Telenor. USB Modem is also available from World Call and Ufone. All mobile service providers provide 3G and 4G connections, at rates that are virtually identical to EDGE.

GPRS/EDGE packages are also available, bringing the price down even more.

WiMax internet service providers include Wateen, Mobilink Infinity, WiTribe, and Qubee. A USB EVo gadget is available from PTCL, a national telecommunications provider, for very fast internet connections.

There are Wi-Fi hotspots in hotels, malls, and cafes/restaurants all across Pakistan.

Economy Of Pakistan

According to economists, Pakistan has been part of the world’s richest area since the first millennium CE, with the biggest economy by GDP. In the 18th century, this advantage was lost as other areas, such as China and Western Europe, gained ground. Pakistan is a developing nation and one of the Next Eleven, a group of eleven countries that, like the BRICs, have a strong chance of becoming the world’s biggest economy in the twenty-first century. However, as of 2013, significant inadequacies in macromanagement and imbalanced macroeconomics have emerged in fundamental services like as rail transportation and electrical energy production, after decades of societal instability. The economy is classified as semi-industrial, with growth centers around the Indus River. Karachi’s and Punjab’s diverse economies coexist alongside less developed regions in other parts of the nation, especially in Balochistan. According to the Economic Complexity Index, Pakistan has the world’s 70th biggest export economy and the 89th most complicated economy (ECI). Pakistan exported $28.2 billion in 2013 and imported $44.8 billion, resulting in a $16.6 billion trade deficit.

Pakistan’s nominal GDP was projected to be US$271 billion in 2016, ranking it 41st in the world and second in South Asia, accounting for approximately 15.0 percent of regional GDP. PPP GDP is $838,164 million dollars. The nominal GDP per capita is projected to be US$1,197, GDP (PPP)/capita is US$4,602 (international dollars), and the debt-to-GDP ratio is 55.5 percent. [282] [283] Pakistan, according to the World Bank, has significant strategic assets and growth potential. Pakistan’s growing young population offers both a demographic dividend and a problem in terms of providing sufficient services and jobs. 21.04 percent of the population lives on less than US$1.25 per day, the international poverty level. The unemployment rate among those aged 15 and above is 5.5 percent. Pakistan has a middle-class population of 40 million people, which is expected to grow to 100 million by 2050. Pakistan’s economy was ranked 24th in the world by purchasing power parity and 45th in absolute dollars by the World Bank in a 2013 study. It is the second biggest economy in South Asia, accounting for approximately 15.0 percent of regional GDP.

Pakistan’s economic development has been uneven from its beginning. Although the basis for sustained and fair development was not established during times of democratic transition, it was good throughout the three years of martial rule. The early to mid-2000s were a time of fast economic changes, with the government increasing development expenditure, which resulted in a 10% reduction in poverty and a 3% rise in GDP. Since 2007, the economy has slowed again. In 2008, Pakistan’s inflation reached 25.0 percent, forcing the country to rely on a fiscal strategy supported by the International Monetary Fund to escape bankruptcy. The Asian Development Bank stated a year later that Pakistan’s economic crisis was subsiding. For the fiscal year 2010–11, the inflation rate was 14.1 percent. Pakistan’s economic development has accelerated since 2013, thanks to a program run by the International Monetary Fund. In 2014, Goldman Sachs projected that Pakistan’s economy will expand 15 times in the following 35 years, to become the world’s 18th biggest by 2050. Ruchir Sharma, in his 2016 book The Rise and Fall of Nations, described Pakistan’s economy as being in the ‘take-off’ stage, with a ‘Very Good’ future prognosis until 2020. Pakistan may be transformed from a “low-income to a middle-income nation” in the next five years, according to Sharma.

Pakistan is one of the world’s biggest producers of natural resources, with the tenth largest labor market. In 2014–15, Pakistan’s 7-million-strong diaspora contributed an estimated US$15 billion to the economy. The UAE, the United Nations, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman), Australia, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, Norway, and Switzerland are the main sources of remittances to Pakistan. Pakistan’s proportion of global exports is decreasing, according to the World Trade Organization; in 2007, it contributed just 0.128 percent. In fiscal year 2010–11, the trade imbalance was US$11.217 billion.

Entry Requirements For Pakistan

Visa & Passport

Visa restrictions:
Entry will be refused to citizens of Israel with an Israeli passport. However, other passports containing Israeli stamps or visas are not problematic for entry.

Citizens of 24 “Tourist Friendly Countries” (TFC) are eligible for one-month visas on arrival provided they travel with a designated/authorized tour operator who will take care of them while they are in the country. This kind of visa must be extended via the trip operator as well. Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America are among them.

Most other nationals (including those who do not wish to go with a tour operator and group) must apply for a visa in advance, which is typically granted for 30-90 days depending on nationality and application location. Double-entries are sometimes granted, but you must state clearly and persistently that you need this when applying. Visas for Pakistan are generally simpler to acquire in your home country since diplomatic posts across the globe have been granted greater power to issue visas without consulting Islamabad, which should speed up the processing of applications.

Only a few countries grant visas on arrival: Iceland and the Maldives for three months, Hong Kong, Nepal, and Samoa for one month, while Tonga and Trinidad & Tobago citizens are allowed to remain indefinitely.

Because Israel is not recognized as a country by Pakistan (and most other Muslim countries), Israeli citizens are not permitted to enter, but Jews with passports from other countries are not. Despite popular belief, Israeli stamps and visas are generally not an issue for entrance into Pakistan, but you may be subjected to more thorough interrogation by immigration officials. While Israeli passport holders cannot normally get visas, there have been instances in which Israeli citizens have been allowed to Pakistan after receiving a NOC from the Ministry of Interior in Islamabad, which they subsequently presented with their application for a Pakistani visa.

Indian citizens may apply for 30-day tourist visas, but they must go in a group with a licensed tour operator. Visitor visas, which are easier to acquire and come with certain limitations, are more common for visiting family or friends. Religious visas are given for 15 days to groups of ten or more. The Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi provides visas of various degrees of difficulty, which take at least one day (and often many) to complete. Only in the mornings, between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m., are applications accepted. Expect the procedure to take a few hours and perhaps many visits if you arrive early. Foreign tourist and business visas are processed via Window 5. (under the big white sign).

If their passports or tickets reveal proof of transit or boarding in India, Afghan nationals will be denied admission.

Taiwan passport holders are denied admission except for transit via airports.

Citizens of certain countries may acquire Business visas on arrival at major airports in Pakistan (Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, or Karachi) provided their local host business obtains immigration clearance or arranges an invitation letter properly approved by the relevant trade associations. A letter of recommendation from a chamber of business and industry is also acceptable.

Visas are not issued by the Pakistan Consulate in Istanbul unless you are a Turkish citizen, but it may be feasible in Ankara.

Visas are no longer issued by the consulate in Zahedan, Iran; instead, go to the embassy in Tehran.

Pakistani nationals residing abroad are given 5-year multiple entry visas (together with their spouses) that allow them to remain for up to one year. If they have a Pakistan Origin Card (POC) or a National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis, visas are not needed (NICOP).

How To Travel To Pakistan

Get In - By plane

The major aviation gateways to Pakistan are Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad. Quetta, Gawadar, Peshawar, Sialkot, Multan, Rahim Yar Khan, Faisalabad, and Dera Ghazi Khan all have international airports. Many international airlines fly to Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad, which are all directly linked to cities in Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.

Pakistan International Airlines, the country’s official airline, offers excellent connectivity both inside Pakistan and to key centers across the globe. PIA was formerly a prominent and well-known airline in the globe, but it is currently in financial trouble owing to poor management. It is still the country’s biggest airline, serving the greatest number of domestic and foreign destinations.

Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Birmingham, Barcelona, Bangkok, Beijing, Copenhagen, Dubai, Doha, Dammam, Delhi, Dhaka, Istanbul, Jeddah, Kabul, Istanbul, Kuwait, Kathmandu, Kuala Lumpur, London, Oslo, Paris, and Riyadh are all served by PIA. Sharjah, Singapore, Manchester, Medinah, Mumbai, Milan, Muscat, New York, Riyadh, Tokyo, Toronto-Pearson, and Zahedan are among the cities with international airports.

The majority of flights and airlines originate in the Gulf nations, where the majority of Pakistanis working abroad reside, and are therefore often affordable. Private airlines like as Airblue and Shaheen Airlines, in addition to the flag carrier PIA, fly to a variety of Arab locations.

Get In - By train

Pakistan has rail connections to India and Iran, but none of these are the fastest or most practical ways to enter Pakistan. If speed is a top concern, take the bus or, if you’re truly in a hurry, fly; nevertheless, trains are beautiful in their own right.

From India:

The Samjhauta Express connects Delhi and Lahore on Tuesdays and Fridays through the Attari/Wagah border crossing. This is the most popular option among travelers; however, tourists should be aware that, in light of recent terrorist attacks on trains that resulted in numerous casualties and strained relations between the two neighbors, it is strongly recommended that you take taxis or buses to and from the border.

The Thar Express connects Bhagat ki Kothi in Rajasthan, India, with Karachi, Pakistan’s Sindh region. After 40 years of inactivity, this path was reopened in February 2006, although it is presently closed to international visitors.

From Iran:

From Zahedan to Quetta, there is just one connection.

Get In - By car

People have traveled through Pakistan on the Grand Trunk Road and the Silk Road, which extend through Pakistan and into the Indian subcontinent, since ancient times. It’s a wonderful yet time-consuming method to travel across this area of the globe. New roads have been built, and the country’s transportation network is scheduled for growth. The cities of Peshawar, Islamabad, Lahore, and Faisalabad are connected by a world-class highway, yet drivers’ behavior is still terrible and policed arbitrarily.

From China: Pakistan is linked to China via the Karakoram Highway, a contemporary technical marvel that travels through the Karakoram and Himalayan mountains on a breathtakingly beautiful path. As a consequence of the increased commercial traffic caused by the opening of the Gwader port, plans are in place to widen this roadway from its present width of 10 meters to 30 meters.

From Afghanistan:

The Khyber Pass links Peshawar with Jalalabad and Kabul, and passage across the tribal areas between Peshawar and the border needs an armed escort and a permission. Traveling forward from the border to Kabul is risky; verify the current situation locally.

The Bolan Pass, which links Quetta and Kandahar, is very hazardous. This path is presently closed to international visitors, and only locals and humanitarian workers are permitted to use it.

Get In - By bus

From India: While there is an international flight from Delhi to Lahore, it is just as quick, much more flexible, and considerably less expensive to use local transportation and cross the border on foot. The bus cost Rs 1,500 in October 2009.  You won’t be able to purchase a ticket on the spot; instead, you’ll need to arrive at Delhi Gate a few days ahead of time with photocopies of your Pakistani and Indian visas. The bus departs at 6:00 a.m., but you must check in at Delhi Gate by 4:00 a.m.

From China, take a bus to Pakistan along the Karakoram Highway from Kashgar.

Via the Mijva border crossing in Iran, which is about a half-hour drive from Zahedan. Taftan, Pakistan’s border town, includes immigration, customs, and hotel services, among other things.

How To Travel Around Pakistan

With the construction of certain highways and a rise in private aircraft, getting across Pakistan has gotten considerably simpler in recent years. While cities are adequately covered, rural regions are not, with many smaller roads missing. Google Maps, in particular, has a worrisome tendency of labeling dried up river beds as minor roads, so if you’re wandering out in the woods, it’s a good idea to double check your route using Google Earth.

Get Around - By plane

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is the sole airline that services the three airports in the north that are of importance to trekkers and climbers: Chitral, Gilgit, and Skardu. There are typically two flights each day from Islamabad to these locations, although they are often postponed due to inclement weather and are frequently over-booked – arrive early to ensure a seat.

Shaheen Air International and Airblue are two more domestic airlines.

Get Around - By train

Passenger train service is provided by Pakistan Railways. Although most stations do not offer English-language schedules, sales employees can generally explain everything to you. Depending on the facilities, there are many different levels of rates.

The Air-Conditioned Sleeper class is the most costly, with prices that are almost equal to air tickets. The price includes bedding, and this air-conditioned coach only runs on major routes between Karachi and Lahore. The carriages are carpeted, and the sleeping berths are very broad and roomy.

Get Around - By bus

Buses transport a significant percentage of Pakistani citizens between cities. Bus travel is often the cheapest and most convenient option. Daewoo has a frequent bus service connecting many major cities, including air-conditioned buses and seats that may be reserved up to one day in advance. Even though they are relatively affordable, they are almost five times as costly as the cheap and simple trips provided by minibuses or bigger buses between the city’s main bus terminals.

On normal bus routes, tickets are often (but not always) paid directly on the bus, there is no air conditioning, and there is sometimes very little knee room, but you still reach where you need to go. On many journeys, you’ll likely benefit from pleasant discussion and genuine curiosity. Buses depart nearly continuously from all of the main bus terminals for all of the major cities, as well as many smaller towns, thus booking ahead is not feasible nor required for the basic buses. Smaller buses should be favored over bigger buses when traveling between major cities, since larger buses are more likely to pick up passengers along the route and therefore move more slowly.

Local transportation is in a similar position. While local transportation may range in appearance from city to city, there is generally an active bus service operating throughout each city, with various degrees of government control.

Destinations in Pakistan

Regions in Pakistan

Pakistan is divided into four provinces: Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan, as well as a federal region in the northwest known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The Pakistani government has de facto control over the western portions of the disputed Kashmir area, which are divided into two political entities: Azad Kashmir and Gilgit–Baltistan (formerly Northern Areas).

  • Gilgit-Baltistan
    It has some of the world’s highest mountains, as well as breathtakingly beautiful scenery, and can easily rival with Nepal in terms of trekking possibilities.
  • Northwest Pakistan(Khyber Pakhtunkhwaand Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA))
    For some, the mountainous Pashtuns’ homeland seems intimidating and mysterious… yet underneath the surface lie some of the country’s most welcoming people. Northern Pakhtunkhwa (including Swat, Abbottabad, and other areas) is regarded as Pakistan’s most beautiful region.
  • Azad Kashmir
    Because of its natural splendor, the Pakistan-administered part of the disputed Kashmir area is often referred to as “Heaven on Earth.”
  • Punjab
    The country’s most populated and agriculturally productive area, including numerous ancient sites and mosques.
  • Sindh
    Most tourists come to see Karachi or the historic Mohenjo-daro ruins, but the area has a much more to offer.
  • Balochistan
    The province’s lack of infrastructure, which makes it the biggest and most isolated, may make travel difficult. The majority of international tourists are transiting via Quetta on their way to or from Iran.

Cities in Pakistan

  • Islamabad, the federal capital, is a relatively new planned metropolis with a considerably more “laid back” atmosphere than the other cities.
  • Faisalabad is a large Punjabi city known for its textile industry.
  • Karachi is the country’s financial capital and biggest metropolis, as well as an industrial port city and Sindh’s provincial capital.
  • Lahore, the Mughal capital, is a busy and historically significant city in Punjab that should not be overlooked.
  • Multan is known for its blue ceramics, decorative glasswork, and Khussa – a kind of footwear.
  • Muzaffarabad is the capital of Azad Kashmir and a beautiful city.
  • Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has an outlaw vibe to it and serves as the entrance to the Khyber Pass.
  • Quetta is a big, attractive, and somewhat turbulent city in the southern Pakistani province of Balochistan that you’ll travel through on your way to or from Iran.
  • Sialkot, the city of sports goods, is well-known for its export sector and is one of the region’s oldest towns.

Other destinations in Pakistan

  • The Karakoram Highway is a section of the ancient Silk Road that runs north to China.
  • Murree is a famous Himalayan hill station located one hour north of Islamabad.
  • Khewra Salt Mine is the world’s second biggest salt mine. The highway takes almost two hours to go from Islamabad to the south.
  • Mohenjo-daro is an Indus Valley Civilisation archaeological site that dates back to about 2000 BCE.
  • Taxila is a Gandharan era archaeological site (1st millennium BCE and 1st CE)

Accommodation & Hotels in Pakistan

As a medium-income nation with a sizable middle class and a thriving domestic tourist sector, Pakistan offers a good selection of hotels to suit all budgets. International visitors are often disappointed by the cleanliness of Pakistani hotels; although the linen is usually clean, the toilets may be a little shabby. Pakistan is now seeing a substantial drop in foreign tourist numbers; you may find yourself the lone visitor in the northern regions in particular.

Budget The most affordable hotels are typically located near major transportation hubs such as bus and railway terminals. Don’t be misled by a beautiful lobby; before checking in, request to view the room and inspect the mattresses, bathrooms, lighting, and other amenities. In this class, hot water and air conditioning will be considered extras.

The term “mid-range” refers to a broad range of hotels that are often featured in guidebooks or on the internet. All mid-range accommodations will have air conditioning and hot water; however, check to see whether they have a functioning generator; air conditioning is useless without power! Always inspect the room before paying – request a non-smoking room away from the street if possible – and negotiate for a better cost. PTDC (government-run) hotels are in the mid-range category and deserve particular note since they are often the town’s oldest hotel, in a great position, but the amenities will be showing their age. However, they are still a viable alternative, and reductions may be negotiated. The mid-range pricing ranges between Rs2,000 and Rs6,000 each night.

The Serenas, Pearl Continentals, and Marriotts are at the top of the scale. The Serena hotels are nearly always great, while the Pearl Continental hotels are more inconsistent (for example, the one in Rawalpindi is a little grungy, while the one in Muzaffarabad is quite beautiful). Security is highly apparent in high-end locations, with small armies of security personnel stationed around the perimeter. The cost of a night at a premium hotel in a major city ranges from Rs 6,000 to Rs 10,000.

Many tour books mention government rest houses, which are situated in remote and hilly regions and were constructed pre-independence and exude a charming English charm for local public employees to utilize on their trips. Previously, daring tourists could rent these locations for the night for about Rs1,000 and have a great time. However, because of the tourist slump, the forestry departments that run these places aren’t as concerned as they once were – phones will go unanswered, tourist information offices won’t have any information, and so on, so consider yourself lucky if you can get a reservation at a Government rest house.

When it comes to hotels, solo female travelers are at a disadvantage. In especially in cities, all cheap and many mid-range lodgings will be exclusively reserved for males, and hotel owners may be uneasy with the notion of an unaccompanied woman staying at their establishment. As a result, you may be compelled to stay in upper-midrange and high-end locations, which may eat into your budget even faster.

Note that in certain areas of Pakistan, the word “hotel” refers to smaller businesses, while “Guest House” refers to medium-sized establishments with a better quality. Also, eateries are often referred to as “hotels,” which may cause some misunderstanding.

Things To See in Pakistan

Pakistan’s attractions include the remains of ancient civilisations such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa, and Taxila, as well as Himalayan hill stations that draw tourists from all over the globe who are interested in winter sports and natural beauty. Pakistan has many mountain peaks above 7,000 meters, including K2, and is a popular destination for mountaineers and explorers. In addition to natural splendor, the northern portion of the nation has historical buildings such as fortifications.

Small pre-Islamic Animist Kalasha groups claim ancestry from Alexander the Great in the Hunza and Chitral valleys, while the romanticism of the ancient Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region is timeless and mythical. The ancient city of Lahore is located in Punjab province, which includes the location of Alexander’s fight on the Jhelum River. The Badshahi Masjid, Shalimar Gardens, the Tomb of Jahangir, and the Lahore Fort are all examples of Mughal architecture in Pakistan’s cultural capital. Pakistan’s cultural and physical variety should have made it a popular tourist destination for foreigners, but owing to security concerns and poor service and cleanliness standards, visitor numbers have declined in this century.

Post-independence Pakistan has preserved its history by erecting numerous monuments to celebrate its independence, which include a variety of styles and influences from the past.

World Heritage Sites

Six significant cultural sites in Pakistan have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These are some of them:

  • Moenjodaro has archeological remains from the Indus Valley Civilization.
  • Buddhist ruins from the first century at Takht-i-Bahi and nearby city ruins at Sahr-i-Bahlol.
  • Taxila remains from the Gandhara Civilization.
  • Lahore’s Lahore Fort and Shalimar Gardens.
  • The ancient city of Thatta’s historic monuments.
  • Rohtas Fort, an old fort.

Natural attractions

Pakistan has a diverse environment with plains, deserts, forests, hills, and plateaus spanning from the Arabian Sea’s coastal regions in the south to the Karakoram range’s mountains in the north. Parts of the Hindu Kush, the Karakoram Range, and the Himalayas may be found in Pakistan’s northern regions, particularly in Gilgit-Baltistan and the northern side of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This region has some of the world’s tallest mountains, including K2 and other well-known summits (Mount Godwin Austen, at 8,611 m, the second highest mountain in the world).

Five peaks above 8,000 meters, several over 7,000 meters, and the world’s biggest glaciers. More than half of the peaks are higher than 4,500 meters, while more than fifty peaks are higher than 6,500 meters. Azad Kashmir, which is governed by Pakistan, is rich in natural beauty. Its snow-capped peaks, woods, rivers, streams, valleys, velvet green plateaus, and temperature that ranges from Arctic to tropical combine to make it a fantastic tourist destination. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is a popular tourism destination for explorers and adventurers. The scenery of the province is diverse, with steep mountains, valleys, hills, and thick agricultural fields. There are 29 national parks in Pakistan.

Museums and galleries

Almost every major city in Pakistan has a museum worth visiting, ranging from archaeology and historical to biographical, heritage to military, natural history to transportation. The biggest cities have the greatest densities of these museums, but none compare to Lahore, which is home to the Lahore Museum. The National Museum of Pakistan, the Pakistan Air Force Museum, and the Pakistan Maritime Museum are among the city’s many excellent museums. The Pakistan Railways Heritage Museum in Islamabad is a must-see for anybody searching for a transportation museum.

Things To Do in Pakistan

Pakistan is a world-class trekking and hiking destination. Mountaineers, hikers, and visitors will find Gilgit-Baltistan to be a “mountain paradise.” The area is home to some of the world’s highest peaks, including five summits over 8,000 meters, many peaks over 7,000 meters, and the world’s biggest glaciers outside of the polar zone.

Horseback riding is also extremely inexpensive. There are many possibilities for cycling.

Karachi is the only location in the nation where water-based activities are popular. Snorkeling, scuba diving, boating, fishing, and even cruise dining are just a few of the activities available.

You may also shop to your heart’s content at a vast array of marketplaces and bazaars without worrying about your budget, since Karachi was recently voted the world’s cheapest city in a study.

Food & Drinks in Pakistan

Food in Pakistan

Pakistani cuisine is a sophisticated fusion of South Asian ethnic culinary traditions. Pakistani cuisine is renowned for its richness, with fragrant and occasionally spicy tastes, and some dishes use a lot of oil, which adds to the richness and fullness of the mouthfeel and flavor. It is quite similar to Indian cuisine but has some Afghan, Central Asian, and Persian elements; you are likely to have had it in your country since Indian and Pakistani cuisine are often offered together in restaurants. Pakistani cuisine differs significantly from area to region. Many so-called Pakistani or Indian restaurants in the Western hemisphere serve “Pakistani food” inspired by Mughlai cuisine, a style developed by the royal kitchens of the historical Mughal Empire, and Punjabi regional cuisine, though the degree of authenticity in relation to authentic Mughlai or Punjabi cooking is sometimes variable at best and dubious at worst.

The ethnic and cultural variety of Pakistan is reflected in the country’s cuisine, which differs significantly from area to region. Food from the eastern regions of Punjab and Sindh, as well as Mughlai cuisine, are comparable to Northern Indian cuisines and may be highly seasoned and spicy, as is typical of the South Asian region’s flavors. In some areas of Pakistan, such as Balochistan, Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, mild aromatic spices and less oil are used, indicating similarities with the cuisines of Afghanistan, Iran, and Central Asia. Pork is prohibited in Pakistan due to Muslim beliefs, and it is neither eaten nor marketed.

Main courses in Pakistan Food is served with flatbread, often known as wheat bread, or rice, and mainly comprises of curry dishes. Salad is usually served as a side dish to accompany the main meal rather than as an appetizer. At the conclusion of a meal, assorted fresh fruit or sweets are served. In comparison to other South Asian cuisines, meat plays a significantly larger part in Pakistani cuisine. According to a study from 2003, the typical Pakistani ate three times as much meat as the average Indian. The most common meats are goat or mutton, beef, and chicken, with goat or mutton being especially popular for kebab meals and the traditional beef shank dish nihari. Seafood is seldom eaten in big quantities. Depending on where you are and who your chef is, food may vary from mild to spicy. So, before you start eating, express your choice. At general, the majority of the food provided in high-end hotels is also accessible in markets (but European-style food is generally reserved for the former).

The Pakistani propensity for liberal use of a variety of spices, as well as powerful raw green chilis or red chili powder that will bring tears to the eyes of the uninformed, has earned Pakistani cuisine a well-deserved reputation for being spicy. The level of spice varies greatly throughout the country: Punjabi cuisine is known for being spicy, while Northern Areas cuisine is moderate.

Start gently if you want to appreciate the native cuisine. Don’t attempt everything at the same time. You may grow used to spicy cuisine within a few weeks. Simply state that you do not want your meal to be hot. Most tourists are enticed to try at least one of the spicy concoctions, and the sting is usually well worth the effort.

Cuisine

Pakistani cuisine differs significantly from area to region. In Pakistan, culinary art is a combination of Middle Eastern, Iranian, Afghan, Indian, and Turkish elements that reflect the country’s past as well as regional differences in cooking techniques. Food with unique local ingredients and flavors is accessible in rural regions and villages, while urban centers provide an amalgamation of dishes from all across the nation. Aside from the primary meals of salan, which may be made with or without meat and cooked with vegetables or lentils, there are a range of regional specialities including karahi, biryani, and tikka, which come in a variety of shapes and flavors and are served with naan, chapati, and roti.

Pakistani cuisine is a fusion of culinary traditions from throughout the Indian subcontinent, with roots in the royal kitchens of Mughal rulers in the sixteenth century. It has some parallels to North Indian cuisine, but Pakistani meat dishes are more varied. Pakistani cuisine makes extensive use of spices, herbs, and seasonings. Most meals include garlic, ginger, turmeric, red chili, and garam masala, and curry is often used in home cuisine. Chapati, a thin flat wheat bread eaten with curry, meat, veggies, and lentils, is a staple meal. Rice is also widely utilized; it may be eaten plain or cooked with seasonings, and it can also be found in sweet recipes.

Varieties of bread

Pakistani breads (known as roti) include chapatti (unleavened bread), paratha (pan-fried layered roti), naan (baked in a clay tandoori oven), puri (deep-fried and puffed up bread), and many more. A typical meal consists of one or more gravy dishes and rotis, which are eaten together by breaking off a piece of roti, dipping it in the gravy, and eating it. The majority of Pakistan’s heartland subsists on naan, roti, rice, and lentils (dal), which are cooked in a variety of ways and spiced to taste. Spiced yogurt (raita) and either fresh chutney or a small piece of very pungent pickle (achar) are typically served on the side, a highly acquired taste for most tourists – try combining it with curry, not eating it straight.

Pakistanis consume wheat flour bread as part of their regular diet. Pakistan offers a broad range of breads, many of which are baked in a tandoor, a traditional clay oven. The tandoori cooking technique is popular in both rural and urban Pakistan, and it also has significant origins in neighboring Iran and Afghanistan.

Flatbreads (also known as Naan) come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

  • Naan – A soft and thick flat bread that frequently requires the use of specialized clay ovens (tandoors) and cannot be prepared adequately on domestic stoves. Usually prepared with white flour and leavened with yeast. Sesame seeds may be sprinkled on certain types, such as the Roghani and Peshwari. Naans are seldom, if ever, prepared at home since they need tandoor cooking and preparation. There are many different types of plain and filled naans available across Pakistan, and each area or city may have its own speciality. Naan is a versatile bread that goes well with just about everything. In several areas of the nation, for example,’saada naan’ or ‘plain naan’ is often served with Sri-Paya (cow’s head and totters) or Nihari (slow cooked beef stew) for breakfast. It’s easy to spot because of its bigger, white exterior.
  • Roti – All across Pakistan, they are very popular. Tandoori rotis are cooked in a tandoor, a clay oven, and eaten with almost anything. Many homes in rural Pakistan have their own tandoors, while those that do not utilize a common one. Bread shops, also known as “nanbai”/”tandoor” stores, are quite prevalent in metropolitan Pakistan and provide fresh, tandoor baked breads to home consumers. This is a handmade bread with less taste than naan. It’s a low-cost option that’s available in minutes.
  • Chapatti – A handmade bread that is considerably thinner than naan and often prepared from unprocessed wheat and ready in minutes. The most frequent bread prepared in urban households without access to a tandoor. Chapatis are made in a ‘tava,’ which is a flat or slightly convex dark-colored pan. Chapatis are thin, unleavened flatbreads prepared from whole wheat flour. Tortillas are probably the closest thing to chapatis, but chapatis are a little thicker. A variation known as ‘romali roti’ (lit. handkerchief bread) is very thin and big.
  • Paratha – The roti in this variation is very greasy. If you’re going out to eat, it’s usually good, but watch out for health issues; it’s frequently dripping with oil since it’s intended to be part of a heavy dinner. Cooking paratha with pure oil, such as “desi ghee,” makes it taste even better. A ghee-based, flat, layered bread baked on a ‘tava’. In rural regions, however, a ‘tandoor’-based variant is also popular. The dough for parathas is quite similar to that of pastry dough. Parathas are said to have originated in Punjab, where farmers would have a substantial breakfast of parathas with freshly churned butter and buttermilk to be ready for a long day of labor. Parathas, on the other hand, have become a popular morning item throughout the nation. Along with the basic layered form, several filled variants are popular, including ‘Aloo ka Paratha’ (Potato Packed Parathas), ‘Mooli ka Paratha’ (Radish stuffed parathas), and ‘Qeemah stuffed paratha’ (Ground meat stuffed paratha).
  • Sheer Mal – This bread has waffle-like squares punched in it and is gently sweetened and lightly greased. It is often regarded as the most desirable bread and is considered a delicacy by the majority of people. Often used in conjunction with nihari. Another morning variant of sheermal is similar to the Italian Panettone (albeit in a flat naan-like form), but with dried fruits and candies added. It’s a celebratory bread made with milk (‘sheer’) and butter, with candied fruits thrown in for good measure. Sheermal, along with taftan, is a common component of the cuisine given during weddings. It is often sweetened and is especially popular among children.
  • Taftan – It’s similar to a’sheer mal,’ but with a puffy ring around it. This is a tandoor-baked leavened wheat bread with saffron and a little quantity of cardamom powder. The Taftan produced in Pakistan is somewhat sweeter and richer than that produced in Iran.
  • Kulcha – This is a kind of naan that is often served with chickpeas and potatoes in Punjab’s metropolitan areas.
  • Roghani Naan – (lit. Buttered Naan) It’s a popular Naan variation that’s topped with white sesame seeds and fried in a little quantity of oil.
  • Puri – This is a fried breakfast bread prepared from white flour. Served with sweet semolina halwa and/or gravy, if desired (made out of chickpeas and potatoes). Puri is a very urban notion in Pakistan, and puris are not found in any rural cuisine. However, in urban Pakistan, where it is occasionally served at shift carts or specialized breakfast shops, Halwa Puri has become a popular weekend or holiday meal.

You may have observed that ‘Naan’ is often utilized to take up liquid and soft foods such as shorba in curries and beans. In Pakistan, forks and knives are not frequently used during meals (unless someone is eating rice or is dining out). Attempting to chop a naan with a knife may cause some amusement in your immediate vicinity. Observing others may be beneficial.

There are far too many shorbas (sauces and soups) to list.

Vegetarian dishes

The following are some of the most popular and frequent vegetarian dishes:

Daal is a yellow (or red) lentil “soup” or a brown (slightly sour) lentil “soup.” Typically, it isn’t too seasoned. All socioeconomic classes share this trait.

X + ki sabzi – A vegetarian dish using the letter ‘X’ as the primary ingredient.

Aloo gobi, Baingan, Karela, Bhindi, and Saag are some of the other foods available.

Pulses/lentil dishes

Pulses, often known as legumes, play a significant role in Pakistani cuisine. While lentils (daal) and chickpeas (channa) are common components in homestyle cuisine, they are generally thought of as low-cost food sources. As a result, they are usually not offered to dinner guests or on important events. Combining meat with lentils and pulses, whether in basic preparations or complex meals like haleem, is a uniquely Pakistani touch not often seen in neighboring India, where a large portion of the population is vegetarian.

Rice dishes

Pakistan is a significant rice consumer. In Pakistan, basmati rice is the most popular kind of rice. Rice dishes are very popular in Pakistan. Rice dishes are often served alongside other meals. Plain boiled rice (Chawal) with Dal is the most basic meal in Pakistani cuisine (Lentil). Plain cooked rice cooked with dal is known as kichdi. Plain cooked rice served with Karhi is known as Karhi chawal.

Biryani, a famous Pakistani meal, is made with chunks of beef, lamb, chicken, fish, or shrimp. There are numerous different types of biryani, such as Lahori and Sindhi biryani. Tahiri, a kind of vegetarian biryani, is also quite popular. Except for rice-based meals, all major courses are served with bread. To eat, a tiny piece of bread is ripped off and used to scoop and hold small amounts of the main meal with the right hand. Pickles prepared from mangoes, carrots, lemon, and other fruits and vegetables are also frequently used to add flavor to the meal. The use of saffron and other spices enhances the aroma of the biryani. Guests of honor in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa are often given feasts consisting of mountains of spicy rice mixed with chunks of gently cooked lamb. Dried fruit, nuts, and whole spices like cloves, saffron, and cardamom are often included in these pulaos. The roots of such rice meals may be found in Central Asia and the Middle East.

Meat dishes

In comparison to other South Asian cuisines, meat plays a significantly larger part in Pakistani cuisine and is a key component in the majority of Pakistani meals. Bovine, ovine, poultry, and shellfish meals are among the meat dishes served in Pakistan. The beef is typically chopped into 3 cm pieces and stewed. Kebabs, Qeema, and other meat dishes are made using minced meat. The most common meats are goat or mutton, beef, and chicken, with goat or mutton being especially popular for kebab meals and the traditional beef shank dish nihari. Pulses, lentils, and grains are also used in the meat recipes.

Tandoori chicken, cooked in a clay oven known as a tandoor, is arguably the most well-known Pakistani cuisine, having originated in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

The list goes on and on, but here are a few examples:

  • Roasted Chicken (Whole) – A whole roasted chicken called as ‘charga’ in the region.

Aloo Gosht (Potatoes with Meat) – Potato chunks in a sauce with goat meat. Spice levels vary. One example of a basic meal with a variety of ingredients + Gosht (meat).

Nihari- Beef that has been cooked for a long time. Served with Nan, Sheer Mal, or Taftan, this is a delicacy. Few people will be able to get their hands on this if it isn’t spiced. Serve with lemon and fried onion, and be aware that this is one of the spiciest curries available. Thick gravy prepared with spices from the area. It’s prepared with both beef and chicken. It’s greasy and spicy. Almost universally available.

Paye (or ‘Siri Paye’) is a bone-marrow stew made from goat/beef/mutton bones (usually hooves and skull). Extremely healthy, and usually served with naan for breakfast. Typically eaten in a bowl or similar dish, salan is very moist. Dip slices of naan into it and serve with a spoon on top. It may be difficult to eat.

Korma is a Mughlai traditional meal prepared with chicken or mutton and served with nan or bread. It is extremely famous in Pakistan.

Barbecue and kebabs

For ages, beef and grilled meat have played a significant role in the Pakistani culture. Sajji is a Baluchi dish consisting of lamb and spices from Western Pakistan that has gained popularity throughout the nation. Building a big outside fire and slowly roasting birds is another Balochi meat dish. The birds are put on skewers that are planted into the ground near to the fire, allowing the radiant heat to gently cook the chickens. Today, kebabs are a mainstay of Pakistani cuisine, with numerous variations available throughout the nation. Each area has its unique kebab variations, although several, such as Seekh kebab, Chicken Tikka, and Shami kebab, are particularly popular throughout the nation. Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa kebabs are generally similar to Afghan kebabs, with salt and coriander as the only seasonings. Karachi and the broader Sindh area are known for its spicy kebabs, which are typically marinated in a combination of spices, lemon juice, and yogurt. Barbecued cuisine is also quite popular in Punjabi cities like Lahore, Gujranwala, and Sialkot.

Different kebabs abound in Pakistani cuisine. In kababs, meats like as beef, chicken, lamb, and fish are utilized. The following are some of the most popular kebabs:

  • Barbecued chicken with a spiciness on the outside. It resembles a massive red chicken leg and thigh. All meat eaters will like this. Is accessible almost everywhere.
  • A long skewer of minced beef combined with spices and seasonings is known as a Seekh Kebab.
  • Shami Kebabs are a softer version of seekh kababs, with a circular patty of seasoned beef and lentils.
  • Peshawar’s speciality is the Chapli Kebab, a spicy circular kabab.
  • Chicken Kabab – A popular kabab that comes with or without a bone.
  • Lamb Kabab – This kabab is made entirely of lamb meat and is typically served in cubes.
  • Bihari kebab is a beef skewer seasoned with herbs and spices.
  • Tikka kebab – Beef, lamb, or chicken kebabs sliced into cubes, marinated in yogurt, then cooked over coals.
  • Boti kebab is a kebab composed with beef fillets. Green papaya is often marinated with the meat to help tenderize it.
  • Shawarma consists of a kebab or lamb strips wrapped in a naan and served with chutney and salad.
  • Shashlik – marinated grilled baby lamb chops (generally from the leg).

Desserts

Peshawari ice cream, Sheer Khurma, Kulfi, Falooda, Kheer, Rasmalai, Phirni, Zarda, Shahi Tukray, and Rabri are also popular desserts. In Pakistan, sweetmeats are eaten on a variety of celebratory occasions. Gulab jamun, barfi, ras malai, kalakand, jalebi, and panjiri are some of the most popular. Multani, sohan halvah, and hubshee halvah are among the many halvah varieties available in Pakistani sweets.

During Eid ul-Fitr, kheer prepared with roasted seviyaan (vermicelli) instead of rice is popular. Gajraila is a traditional winter dessert prepared with shredded carrots cooked in milk, sugar, and green cardamom, then sprinkled with almonds and dried fruit.

  • Enjoy a wide range of flavors; ice cream comes in a wide range of flavors, including the classic pistachio-flavored Kulfi; Falooda is a delicious rosewater delicacy that is a favorite summer drink throughout the nation. Kulfi is a traditional Indian ice cream made with vermicelli, pistachio nuts, and rosewater. Every ice cream store has its own variation.
  • In Pakistan, Shirini or Mithai is the general term for a range of sweet delicacies. The sweets are quite popular in Pakistan and are known by several names depending on where you travel. Small bites at a time are preferable than big portions, which may be impolite and too sugary.
  • Kulfi is a classic Indian ice cream that is prepared with cream and other nuts.
  • If you wish to go to an ice cream parlor, “Polka Parlor,” “Jamin Java,” and “Hot Spot” are some excellent western ice cream parlors in Lahore. The ‘Chaman’ ice cream shop across town is famous for classic ice creams.
  • A delicious delicacy known as halwa. Halwa is prepared in a variety of ways, such using eggs, carrots, flour, or dried fruits. Semolina, ghee, and sugar are used to make the halwas, which are then topped with dried fruits and nuts. Carrot halwa (also known as gaajar ka halwa) and halva prepared from delicate bottle gourds, as well as chanay ki daal, are popular. Karachi halva is a specialty delicacy from Karachi, whereas Firni or Kheer is similar to vanilla custard but made differently. In India, the Sohan Halwa is equally well-known. Habshi halwa, a dark brown milk-based halwa, is also well-known.
  • A cheese-based dish known as gulab jamun. It is often served during festivals and big festivities such as weddings, joyful occasions, and Muslim Eid ul-Fitr.

International fast food franchises have also sprung up throughout Pakistan, in addition to local eateries. KFC, Pizza Hut, McDonalds, Subway, Nandos, Mr.Cod, Papa Johns, Dominoes, and others are among them. There are more European chains than there are in the United States.

Pakistani fast food

Pakistani snacks are quick-to-prepare, spicy, and typically fried foods served with tea or as a side dish with any of the meals in Pakistan. A particular snack may be part of a local culture, and its preparation and/or popularity may differ from one location to the next. Hawkers make and sell these delicacies on footpaths, bazaars, railway stations, and other such locations, but they may also be offered in restaurants. Dahi bhala, chaat, chana masala, Bun kebab, pakora, and papar are other popular snacks. Katchauri, pakoras (either neem or besan (chickpea) pakoras), gol gappay, samosas (vegetable or meat), bhail puri or daal seu, and egg rolls are among the others. Pistachios and pine nuts, for example, are often consumed at home. These snacks are usually smaller than a normal meal and are consumed in between meals.

Tipping in Pakistan

In Pakistan, tipping is required everywhere, particularly in restaurants, and it is always regarded a good habit in the nation, therefore tip between 5-10% in sit-down restaurants.

Eating with your hands (rather than utensils such as forks and spoons) is extremely popular in Pakistan. There is one fundamental etiquette guideline to follow, especially in non-urban Pakistan: Only use your right hand. It goes without saying that you should wash your hands thoroughly before and after eating. The fundamental method for all kinds of breads is to hold the item down with your fingers and rip out pieces with your middle and thumb. After that, you may dip the pieces in sauce or use them to pick up portions before stuffing them into your mouth. In Pakistan, unlike India, a spoon is frequently used to consume rice meals.

Drinks in Pakistan

Drinking tap water may be dangerous. Some businesses, however, have installed water filters/purifiers, in which case the water is safe to drink. A better option is bottled drinking water, often known as mineral water in Pakistan. When purchasing bottled water, check to see whether the cap seal has been broken; if it has, it is a telltale indication of tampering or that unscrupulous sellers reuse old bottles and fill them with tap water, which is usually hazardous for foreign visitors to consume without first boiling it. Bottled water brands like as Aquafina (by PepsiCo) and Nestle are readily available, and a 1.5 litre bottle costs Rs 80. In semi-urban or rural regions, it’s a good idea to request boiling water.

The water of Pakistan’s north-eastern provinces, particularly Swat, Kaghan, and Gilgit, is reported to have a great flavor. Request bottled water whenever feasible, and stay away from anything cold that may contain water.

Try a native limca cola, which when opened produces a “pop” sound. Ice cream soda, Lychee, Orange, Raspberry, Apple Sidra, Vino, Double cola, and Bubble up are among the flavors offered from Pakola, Pakistan’s leading soft drink brand. Try Lassi, a traditional yoghurt drink that may be served plain or sweet, and is occasionally flavored or even blended with fresh fruit. Rooh-Afza is a delicious, red-colored herbal drink. Sugar Cane Juice is best served fresh, since it is extracted by mechanical means. You may also like the Falouda and Gola Ganda, which are made with crushed ice and different syrups.

Sweet beverages are widely accessible throughout the day in the warmer southern regions. Look for street sellers with genuine or fake fruits dangling from their rooftops. Lassi is also available at certain milk/yogurt stores. If you’re eating “bhindi” or another rich meal, ask for meethi lassi, a sweet yogurt drink. You may also have a salty lassi, which tastes excellent and is comparable to the Arabic Laban. There’s also a sweet drink called Mango Lassi, which is prepared with yogurt, mango pulp, and mango chunks and is extremely rich and thick.

Non-Muslim tourists may purchase alcohol (both imported and local) in off-licenses and bars in most high-end hotels. Murree Brewery produces alcoholic beer in the area (who also produce non-alcoholic beverages including juices). In Pakistan, Muslims are banned from purchasing, possessing, or using alcohol. There is a thriving illicit market across the nation, and the authorities often turn a blind eye to what goes on behind closed doors. The alcholol may be bought at authorized liquir stores in Karachi and other areas of Sindh. If you are a foreigner searching for alcohol, you may call Murree Brewery’s customer service department for help.

Tea varieties

Pakistanis drink a lot of tea, which is known as “chai” in most Pakistani dialects. You can buy tea in a variety of flavors almost everywhere. Green and black teas, both with milk, are popular in various regions of Pakistan. In Pakistani cuisine, it is one of the most popular drinks. Different areas of Pakistan have their own distinct flavors and variations, resulting in a varied tea culture in Pakistan.

  • The significant prevalence of Muhajir cuisine in Karachi has made the Masala chai variant extremely popular.
  • Doodh Pati Chai is a creamy, thick tea. Tea leaves are cooked with milk and sugar, and occasionally cardamom is added for flavor. This is a local version of a builder’s tea that is very sweet. In Punjab, it is very popular.
  • “Sabz chai” and “kahwah,” in that order. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Pashtun region of Balochistan, kahwah is often offered after every meal, while in Kashmir, it is commonly served with saffron and nuts.
  • Black tea with lemon is known as Sulaimani chai.
  • Kashmiri chai, also known as “noon chai,” is a pink, milky tea with pistachios and cardamom that is served at weddings and sold at numerous kiosks throughout the winter.
  • Salty buttered Tibetan style tea is popular in northern Pakistan (Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan).

Beverages

Aside from tea, there are a variety of other beverages that may be found in Pakistani cuisine. They are all non-alcoholic since alcohol use is forbidden in Islam. Drinks like coffee and soft drinks were popular in Pakistan throughout the twentieth century. Soft drinks are extremely popular with Pakistani dinners today.

  • Lassi is a milk and yoghurt drink with a sweet or salty flavor. In the Punjab area, lassi is a traditional drink.
  • Gola ganda – a concoction of several flavors served over crushed ice.
  • Sugarcane juice (Ganney ka ras) — During the summer, you may find fresh sugarcane juice at a variety of locations, as well as a variety of fresh fruit juices. Be cautious, since fresh juice, in addition to unsanitary ice, may include a variety of pathogens. Juice sellers don’t always clean their equipment correctly, and they don’t always wash their fruits.
  • Lemonade is a refreshing drink (Nimbu pani)
  • Sherbet is a refreshing dessert (A syrup mixed in water)
  • Lemonade Sikanjabeen (Mint is also added)
  • Sherbet with almonds
  • Sherbet-e-Sandal is a drink prepared with sandalwood essence.
  • Kashmiri chai/Gulabi chai is a milky tea with a sweet or salty flavor and a pink color.
  • Sathu is a popular Punjabi drink.
  • Sardai – A mixture of various nuts and kishmish Thaadal – A sweet drink from Sindh Thaadal – Thaadal – Thaadal – Thaadal – Thaadal – Thaadal – Thaa

Alcohol

Alcohol use is usually frowned upon. Murree Brewery is the sole recognized manufacturer of Pakistani beer that is extensively distributed across the country. Karachi has a relaxed attitude regarding alcohol, with wine stores selling any brand of booze.

Money & Shopping in Pakistan

Pakistan’s official currency is the rupee (Rs), which is often abbreviated as Rs, and coins are produced in values of 1, 2, and 5 rupees. Rs 10 (green), Rs 20 (orange green), Rs 50 (purple), Rs 100 (red), Rs 500 (rich deep green), Rs 1000 (dark blue), and Rs 5000 (mustard) banknotes are available. The rupee is split into 100 paise by the Indian government (singular: paisa). Normally, 5 rupees 75 paise would be written as Rs 5.75. It’s usually a good idea to have a few tiny dollars on hand since merchants and drivers don’t always have change. Small notes (10-100) should be kept in your wallet or pocket, but bigger notes should be kept separate. Then it will be difficult to tell how much money you have. Many shops may say they don’t have change for a $500 or $1,000 bill. This is often a deception to avoid being saddled with a big bill. If you don’t have precise change, it’s better not to purchase.

There are three coins in circulation: 1, 2, and 5. Coins may be used to purchase tea, provide change to beggars, and give precise change for bus or auto-rickshaw fares.

In Pakistan, lakh and crore are frequently used to denote 100,000 and 10,000,000, respectively. Despite the fact that these words are Sanskrit, they have become so firmly embedded in Pakistani English that most people are unaware that they are not common in other English dialects. When writing numbers, you may also see non-standard, but standard in Pakistan, comma placement. One crore rupees is written as 1,00,00,000, therefore use a comma after the first three digits, then every two numerals after that. This format may seem strange at first, but once you start thinking in terms of millions and crores, it will become second nature.

Most locations have ATMs that accept major credit cards such as AmEx, MasterCard, and VISA.

In polls, Pakistan, especially Karachi, is rated as one of the cheapest shopping destinations in the world. It offers a diverse variety of marketplaces and bazaars to explore as well as items to purchase without blowing your budget.

Buying Pakistani currency

It’s generally preferable to convert your foreign money to Rupees before making purchases (this is only true if you’re buying with cash rather than a credit card). A passport may be needed as an identity document by a number of regulated currency exchange businesses, although this requirement is often disregarded. In large commercial districts, currency exchange shops are readily accessible. Make careful to specify the amount you want to exchange and request the ‘best quotation,’ since rates on the board are often adjustable, particularly for bigger sums.

Major credit cards, including as American Express, MasterCard, and Visa, are accepted at most big department stores and souvenir shops, as well as all upscale restaurants and hotels. Some small businesses may seek to charge you a 2-3 percent merchant fee. Credit cards are accepted in retail chain shops and other restaurants and stores in numerous cities and towns. Because small shops and family-run establishments virtually never take credit cards, it’s a good idea to have some cash on hand.

Exchanging rupees abroad is generally difficult, but locations with large Pakistani populations (such as Dubai) may provide reasonable prices. Before you leave the nation, attempt to get rid of any extra rupees.

The majority of ATMs can discharge up to $50,000 in a single transaction. HBL, MCB Bank, National Bank of Pakistan, and United Bank are Pakistan’s four largest banks, with the most ATMs. They accept most foreign credit cards for a little fee. In Pakistan’s main cities, international banks such as Standard Chartered have a substantial presence. It’s usually a good idea to have bank cards or credit cards from at least two different companies on hand in case one of your cards gets suspended by your bank or just does not function at a specific ATM.

Shopping

You are supposed to haggle with street hawkers in Pakistan, but not in department shops. If you don’t, you risk overpaying several times, which may be acceptable if you believe it is cheaper than eating at home. Retail chain shops are springing up in most of the major cities, offering a shopping experience that is almost comparable to that of such establishments in the West. Although you may spend a bit more at these shops, you can be certain that you will not be receiving a cheap counterfeit. The more you negotiate, the more money you save. After a few attempts, you will discover that it is enjoyable.

The longer you spend at a shop, the better the discounts you’ll receive. It’s worth taking the time to get to know the owner, ask questions, and have him show you around his other goods (if you are interested). When the owner determines that he is earning a substantial profit from you, he may often provide you with extra products at a price that is near to his cost, rather than the standard “foreigner rate.” When you purchase several products at one shop, you will receive better pricing and service than if you haggle in different stores separately. You can probably obtain the actual Pakistani pricing if you observe locals purchasing in a store. “How much would you pay for this?” softly inquire someone nearby.

In general, stores in major cities are open from 9:00 a.m. until 23:00 a.m. In smaller towns and rural regions, they open and shut for business sooner.

Costs

Most tourists will find Pakistan to be reasonably priced, but it is much more costly than Afghanistan. In general, Karachi is more costly than the rest of Pakistan. Luxury hotels and plane tickets, on the other hand, are quite inexpensive, with even the most opulent 5-star hotels costing less than Rs 20,000 per night.

In Pakistan, tipping is regarded a good habit. If you have had excellent service, hotel porters, taxi drivers, and delivery guys would welcome a little tip.

Traditions & Customs in Pakistan

Pakistani customs are extremely similar to those of other Muslim and neighboring nations, especially India, with whom Pakistan has many similarities. Like other cultures in the Middle East and Central Asia, the culture has a strong history of hospitality. Guests are often treated very nicely. Pakistanis take pride in their history of welcoming visitors (mehmanawazi in Urdu). While Pakistan has not seen many foreigners in recent years and suffers from some insularity, any foreigner may be viewed with mistrust and looked at. In general, though, Pakistanis are kind, polite, and giving people who are fascinated by outsiders and different cultures.

Etiquette

The following etiquette and traditions guidelines may be helpful while interacting with Pakistani people:

  • When you visit a home, you will frequently be greeted with tea, sweets, and presents; refusing them is considered ungrateful. A precise balance is required to finish a meal. Cleaning your plate can encourage you to order more, while leaving too much may indicate that you didn’t like it. Aim to leave just a smidgeon early, expressing your fullness and lavishing praise on the meal. Bringing a food present, such as a cake or a sweet box, when you’re welcomed to someone’s house for the first time is regarded extremely kind and will be much appreciated.
  • You should use your right hand for eating, shaking hands, and giving or receiving anything (including money), much like you would in most of South Asia or the Muslim world, and save your left hand for handling shoes and helping with bathroom chores.
  • The majority of Pakistanis are religious, although large cities are more liberal and open-minded, and secular viewpoints are widespread. Pakistani regulations are not as severe as those in other Muslim nations such as Saudi Arabia, despite its strong Islamic moral code. Respecting the hundreds of unwritten norms and regulations that govern Pakistani society may be intimidating for visitors, but don’t be put off. As a foreigner, you will be allowed more freedom, and it will not take long for you to adjust.
  • Most Pakistani women dislike interacting with strangers, so don’t be surprised if they refuse to communicate with you. It’s better not to try to communicate with them again if they don’t respond. When greeting one other, people of opposite sex do not shake hands. When shaking hands, it is customary for males to place their left hand over their chest (heart). When greeting each other in metropolitan Pakistan and certain other areas of the nation, men and women drop their heads and raise their hand to their forehead in the “adab” gesture.
  • Business moves slowly, and it is often preceded by a lot of chatting, tea drinking, and family gatherings. Rushing to the point may be impolite and possibly damage the relationship.
  • Pakistan is a conservative nation, and visitors should be informed that Pakistani women dress modestly, but more liberal clothing may be observed in urban areas. In public, it is preferable for ladies to wear long skirts or trousers. Women are not required to wear hijab or abaya. The traditional shalwar kameez is worn by Pakistani ladies. Women wearing jeans and khakis are popular in large cities, particularly in informal situations, shopping malls, and near picnic areas. Men’s dress standards are more relaxed, but shorts are not popular. Women who wear immodestly may draw unwelcome male attention. Even in larger cities, avoid strolling in such clothing late at night, and even during the day, avoid venturing out on the roads alone. It’s usually a good idea to have some company.
  • In Pakistani culture, greetings are regarded very important. Men should never touch or shake hands with a lady they don’t know well.
  • Avoid photographing men and women without their permission, since this may get you in hot water. When it comes to strangers photographing them, Pakistanis are very cautious. In addition, owing to recent terrorist actions in the nation, photographing in non-touristy regions may be deemed sensitive.
  • Keep in mind that Pakistanis will feel obligated to go out of their way to accommodate a guest’s request and will claim that doing so is not an inconvenience, even if this is not the case. This, of course, implies that you, as a visitor, have a reciprocal responsibility to take additional care not to be a bother. When paying bills at restaurants or buying purchases, it is usual to engage in a pleasant debate with your host or another member of the party. The etiquette for this is a little tricky.

In a business lunch or supper, it is generally obvious who is responsible for payment up front, so there is no need to argue. However, if you are someone’s personal guest and they take you to a restaurant, you should offer to pay and insist on it. These battles may become a bit amusing, with one side attempting to grab the bill from the other while politely laughing. If you don’t have much expertise with these types of situations, you’re likely to lose the first time, but if that happens, make sure you pay the following time. (And make sure there will be a next time.) Unless the cost is very high, offer to split it only as a last option after they refuse to let you pay it in whole.

When making a purchase, the same rule applies. If you’re buying something for yourself, your hosts may still offer to pay for it if the cost isn’t too expensive, and even if it is. Unless the stakes are very minimal, you should never lose a battle in this scenario. (If the sum is absurdly little, like less than ten dollars, don’t disrespect your hosts by fighting.) Even if you lose the battle to pay the merchant, it is traditional to virtually shove the money into your host’s hands (in a polite manner, of course).

These restrictions do not apply if the host has said explicitly that it is his or her treat, particularly for a special occasion.

  • It is considered impolite to introduce oneself to strangers; instead, you should invite a common friend to do so. Strangers will converse in the “formal” register of Urdu, while conversing in the familiar register will be considered impolite. It is traditional to get up while being presented to seniors or strangers when sitting as a show of respect, and it is recommended to ask a person how they want to be addressed.
  • Avoid scheduling meetings during Ramadan if at all feasible. Because Muslims fast, they will not be able to give you tea, which is considered a gesture of hospitality. Meetings are not held during namaz.
  • When entering a religious structure, such as a mosque or a shrine, remember to remove your shoes. In shrines, there are designated places where your shoes may be kept for a nominal charge, whereas in mosques, there may be racks to keep your shoes, but if they aren’t accessible, you can leave them where others do. Women aren’t usually permitted to attend mosques in Pakistan, therefore they shouldn’t unless there are special circumstances. If they do, they must dress modestly (length skirts and shawls that cover the whole body as well as the arms and legs) and cover their heads with a headscarf or something similar. Men should also dress modestly, not in shorts, since this is considered impolite. Mosques are often off-limits to non-Muslims, therefore it’s best to ask someone at the mosque before going in.
  • When entering a religious structure, such as a mosque or a shrine, remember to remove your shoes. In shrines, there are designated places where your shoes may be kept for a nominal charge, whereas in mosques, there may be racks to keep your shoes, but if they aren’t accessible, you can leave them where others do. Women aren’t usually permitted to attend mosques in Pakistan, therefore they shouldn’t unless there are special circumstances. If they do, they must dress modestly (length skirts and shawls that cover the whole body as well as the arms and legs) and cover their heads with a headscarf or something similar. Men should also dress modestly, not in shorts, since this is considered impolite. Mosques are often off-limits to non-Muslims, therefore it’s best to ask someone at the mosque before going in.

Culture Of Pakistan

Pakistan’s civil society is primarily hierarchical, with local cultural etiquette and traditional Islamic norms guiding personal and political life. The extended family is the most basic family unit, but for socioeconomic reasons, there has been a rising tendency toward nuclear families. The Shalwar Kameez is the traditional clothing for both men and women; males also wear pants, jeans, and shirts. In recent decades, the middle class has grown to about 35 million people, while the upper and upper-middle classes have grown to roughly 17 million people, and power has shifted from rural landowners to urban elites. Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Azha, Ramazan, Christmas, Easter, Holi, and Diwali are all religious celebrations in Pakistan. Pakistan is ranked 56th on the A.T. Kearney/FP Globalization Index as a consequence of increased globalization.

Clothing, arts, and fashion

The Shalwar Kameez is Pakistan’s national garment, worn by men and women alike in all four provinces: Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, as well as FATA and Azad Kashmir. The Shalwar Kameez is worn differently in each region. Pakistanis dress in a variety of styles and colors, as well as different fabrics (silk, chiffon, cotton, etc). Men in the country wear locally designed suits and neckties in addition to the national dress, and it is common at workplaces, schools, and other important venues and social events.

In the ever-changing fashion world, the fashion business has done very well. Pakistan’s fashion has developed through many stages since its inception, giving it a distinct character distinct from Indian fashion and culture. Pakistani fashion is now a mix of traditional and contemporary garments, and it has established the country’s cultural identity. Despite contemporary trends, regional and traditional clothing has acquired its own importance as a representation of indigenous culture. This regional style isn’t stagnant; it’s developing into more contemporary, pure forms. Fashion Week is organized by the Pakistan Fashion Design Council in Lahore, while Fashion Pakistan in Karachi hosts fashion displays. In November 2009, Pakistan’s first fashion week took place.

Role of women in Pakistani society

Due to unequal socioeconomic growth and the effect of social formations on women’s life in Pakistan, women’s social standing varies and is heavily influenced by social class, upbringing, and regional difference. Since its inception, Pakistan has had a long history of female activism. The APWA and the Aurat Foundation, two powerful feminist groups, have been in the forefront of raising awareness of women’s rights in the nation since 1947. Begum Rana’a, Benazir Bhutto, Malala Yousafzai, and Kalsoom Nawaz have all had a significant impact on Pakistan’s feminist culture. Women’s position has improved in general as a result of increased religious and educational knowledge. In terms of the worldwide average, though, the situation is very concerning. Pakistan was rated as the world’s second worst nation for gender equality by the World Economic Forum in 2014.

Women’s relationships with men and women of the opposing gender are culturally gender subordinated. In contrast to males who are the family’s breadwinners and professionals, women have specific presumed and assigned responsibilities relating to domestic chores. In contrast, more and more women are taking professional positions and contributing to family finances in the country’s metropolitan regions, although the ratio of these women to those in conventional roles is much lower. Teaching and tutoring are two of the most popular professions for ladies in society. Educational possibilities for Pakistani women have improved over time as a result of increasing public awareness. The provincial parliament of Pakistan’s Punjab province approved the “Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Bill 2015” on February 24, 2016, which protects women against a variety of offenses, including cybercrime, domestic violence, emotional, economic, and psychological abuse.

Media and entertainment

Until the twenty-first century, the main media channels were private print media, state-owned Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV), and Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) for radio. Pakistan currently has a significant domestic private news media and television channel network that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. According to a 2016 Reporters Without Borders study, Pakistan is rated 147th on the Press Freedom Index, with the Pakistani media being “among the freest in Asia when it comes to reporting political squabbles.” The Pakistani media, according to the BBC, is “among the most vocal in South Asia.”

Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar are home to Lollywood, an Urdu, Punjabi, and Pashto film industry. While Bollywood films were prohibited from public theaters from 1965 to 2008, they continued to have a significant cultural impact. In contrast to the struggling film industry, Urdu television dramas and theatrical performances are popular, with the series being broadcast on a regular basis by a variety of entertainment outlets. Since the 1990s, Urdu dramas have dominated the television entertainment business, debuting highly acclaimed miniseries and starring well-known actors and actresses. Pop music and disco (1970s) dominated the country’s music business in the 1960s and 1970s. British-influenced rock music emerged in the 1980s–1990s, jolting the country’s entertainment sector. Heavy metal music gained popularity and critical praise in the 2000s.

Pakistani music encompasses a wide variety of regional folk music and traditional genres like as Qawwali and Ghazal Gayaki, as well as contemporary hybrids that combine traditional and western elements. Pakistan boasts a plethora of well-known folk singers. Although there has been some rejection of Pashto music in certain areas, the presence of Afghan refugees in the western regions has sparked interest in it. The media in Pakistan has also played an important role in exposing corruption.

Architecture

There are four distinct eras in Pakistani architecture: pre-Islamic, Islamic, colonial, and post-colonial. Around the middle of the third millennium BC, the Indus civilisation arose, bringing with it for the first time in the area a sophisticated urban civilization, complete with enormous structures, some of which have survived to this day. Pre-Islamic villages like as Mohenjo Daro, Harappa, and Kot Diji are now tourist destinations. Beginning in the first century AD, the growth of Buddhism and the influence of Greek culture led to the creation of the Greco-Buddhist style. At the pinnacle of the Gandhara style, this period achieved its pinnacle. The remains of the Buddhist monastery Takht-i-Bahi in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are an example of Buddhist architecture.

When Islam arrived in what is now Pakistan, it brought an abrupt end to Buddhist architecture in the region and a seamless transition to mostly pictureless Islamic architecture. The mausoleum of the Shah Rukn-i-Alam in Multan is the most significant Indo-Islamic-style structure still surviving. Design aspects of Persian-Islamic architecture were frequently merged with Hindustani art throughout the Mughal period, resulting in creative forms of Hindustani art. Many significant structures from the Mughal empire may be found in Lahore, which serves as a temporary home for Mughal emperors. The Badshahi mosque, the Lahore citadel with the renowned Alamgiri Gate, the colorful, Mughal-style Wazir Khan Mosque, the Shalimar Gardens in Lahore, and the Shahjahan Mosque in Thatta are among the most notable. During the British colonial era, a combination of European and Indian-Islamic components resulted in mainly utilitarian Indo-European representative style structures. Modern buildings like as the Faisal Mosque, the Minar-e-Pakistan, and the Mazar-e-Quaid reflect post-colonial national identity. Several architectural infrastructures in Pakistan have been inspired by British architecture, and examples can be seen in Lahore, Peshawar, and Karachi.

Sports

The bulk of the sports practiced in Pakistan were introduced and significantly developed by the United Kingdom during the British India period. Pakistan’s national sport is field hockey, which has won three gold medals in the Olympic Games in 1960, 1968, and 1984. Pakistan also has the record for winning the Hockey World Cup four times, in 1971, 1978, 1982, and 1994.

Cricket, on the other hand, is the most popular sport in the nation. The cricket squad (known as Shaheen) won the Cricket World Cup in 1992; it had previously finished second in the event in 1999 and co-hosted it in 1987 and 1996. Pakistan finished second in the first World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007 and won the World Twenty20 in England in 2009. Until May 2015, when the Zimbabwean squad consented to a visit, no international cricket was played in Pakistan since terrorists assaulted the traveling Sri Lankan cricket team in March 2009.

Abdul Khaliq competed in the 1954 Asian Games and the 1958 Asian Games in athletics. For Pakistan, he won 34 international gold, 15 international silver, and 12 international bronze medals. World-class squash players like Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan have won the World Open Squash Championship many times during their careers. Jahangir Khan also set a record by winning the British Open 10 times. Pakistan has participated in field hockey, boxing, athletics, swimming, and shooting at the Olympics on many occasions. Pakistan has won ten Olympic medals, eight of which were won in hockey. Medal totals at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games are 65 and 160, respectively. Polo is popular on a national level, with national tournaments held on a regular basis in various areas of the country. Boxing, billiards, snooker, rowing, kayaking, caving, tennis, contract bridge, golf, and volleyball are also popular, with Pakistani champions at regional and international levels. Basketball is very popular in Pakistan, particularly in Lahore and Karachi.

Stay Safe & Healthy in Pakistan

Stay Safe in Pakistan

Terrorism

Over the past several years, Pakistan has witnessed numerous bomb attacks on security forces and ostensibly Western institutions (such as the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad), as well as the murder of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto upon her return from exile. These assaults are now on the rise as a result of intensified military operations against the Taliban. Pakistan has a history of hospitality for regular travelers that has been tainted in recent years by accusations of ‘Western’ injustice. Social protests often devolve into violence, and political rallies are always fraught with danger. Before traveling, check with your embassy for information on off-limits regions, recent political and military developments, and stay up with current events via independent news sources.

Military convoys should be avoided since they may be the target of a suicide bomber. Going near military or intelligence installations may also be risky.

Unless you get a specific permission from a competent authority, carrying weapons may put you in police detention.

Sensitive areas

When conversing with Pakistanis, use common sense and a good dose of politeness. Kashmir is a very delicate subject that should be avoided at all costs. Religion and Islam should be discussed in a polite and pleasant manner; some Pakistanis are intolerant of other faiths, and if theirs is discussed poorly, it may lead to bloodshed.

For international visitors, the line of control between Azad Kashmir and Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir is closed, although local tourists are free to enter Azad Kashmir (but should keep their identity cards with them).

Foreign visitors should avoid visiting the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and any places near the sensitive Afghan border at any time, since the Pakistan government has little to no control in these areas and cannot assist you in an emergency. If you do have a cause to travel, seek professional advice, such as from your embassy, who can advise you on the specific permits needed.

Peace has returned to Swat Valley, where the army has complete authority and a large number of foreign nationals work for NGOs. The army is working tirelessly to repair the infrastructure that was damaged by the floods of 2010, which occurred in 2010. Due to an upsurge in foreigner kidnappings, Balochistan is deemed unsafe and unfit for tourism.

The tourist should be informed of the constantly changing regulations concerning sensitive regions, No Objection Certificates (NOCs), Note Verbals, and other permits and documentation that certain officials consider essential for your trip throughout the nation. The most well-known NOC law pertains to foreigners entering Kashmir, with the goal of allowing security forces to monitor (i.e. follow) foreigners to ensure they do not visit areas they should not. Diplomats are the main users of NOCs outside of Kashmir, and tourists should presumably be excluded. Officials, on the other hand, may be suspicious of all foreigners and demand a NOC when you get off a plane or a bus. NOCs must be obtained via the Ministry of Interior; however, if you are traveling on a non-diplomatic passport, you should be OK – but it’s always good to be informed.

Keep an eye out for sensitive regions. On the route to Kahuta near Islamabad, for example, you may notice road signs in English that state ‘no foreigners permitted beyond this point.’ If you encounter one of these signs and need to pass it, stop at the closest police station to ask if they would allow you through (knowing Urdu is helpful here), or turn around and find another way. Restricted zones are often those near nuclear or military facilities. Visitors may come encounter restricted regions like as Kahuta, southeast of Islamabad, and Sakesar, near the Amb temples in the Salt Range. Being discovered in a prohibited area can result in a lot of lost time, humiliation, and the possibility of your embassy being involved.

Dangerous drivers

African nations usually top the list of road deaths per 100,000 cars, but few Asian countries can match Pakistan’s score of 383, which it achieved in 2010. Pakistan has a high rate of fatal traffic accidents, with the World Health Organization estimating that 30,131 people died on the country’s roadways in 2010.

Drivers are rash and dismiss rules and courtesy that would be expected in other nations. Their “might is right” attitude often results in horrific collisions involving trucks and trucks and buses.

Sexuality

In Pakistan, there is no legal acknowledgment of prostitution. Furthermore, homosexuality remains illegal in the nation, notwithstanding the rise in male prostitutes.

Homosexuals should exercise extreme caution in Pakistan, since homosexuality remains a felony in Pakistan, as it is in other Muslim nations, with harsh penalties. According to Section 377 of the Pakistan Penal Code, anybody who willingly engages in “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman, or animal” faces a sentence of imprisonment of not less than two years nor more than 10 years, as well as a fine. Carnal intercourse is not required for the crime stated in this section. Penetration is sufficient. Arrests for homosexuality are uncommon, as demonstrated by the thriving gay nightlife seen in many major cities.

Stay Healthy in Pakistan

It is highly recommended that visitors avoid drinking tap water; many Pakistani residents prefer to consume boiling or filtered water. Only consume water that has been boiled, filtered, or bottled. Many pollutants are known to be present in tap water. Ice is typically produced from ordinary tap water, which makes it even more difficult to resist. Before drinking, fresh milk from the carrier should be cooked and chilled. Tuberculosis may be transmitted via unpasteurized dairy. Keep an eye out for individuals who have a hacking cough. Nestle Milk Pack, Haleeb Milk, Olpers, and other well-known brands may be found in most supermarkets.

Take measures against mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever and malaria. The first and most successful method is to avoid being bitten, but if you intend to remain in a malaria-endemic area, you’ll need to take malaria-prevention drugs like Proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine. With higher altitudes, the danger of malaria diminishes, and it is almost non-existent above 2500m.
Dengue fever has neither a prophylactic nor a cure. It is common in the summer, particularly during the monsoon season (July to September), and it may be deadly. Dengue fever is transmitted by mosquitoes that bite during the day, and the state of Punjab is likely to have the most extensive outbreaks.

It is very hot in the summer. Keep an eye on your hydration. In June and July, temperatures vary from 40°C to 50°C! However, as the monsoon rains arrive in August and September, the temperature drops to about 30°C, with heavy humidity.

Food that has been sitting out for a long time should not be eaten since high temperatures hasten degradation. Restaurants that are fancy yet seldom visited should be avoided.

Some Pakistani meals are very hot! If you can’t eat spicy cuisine, always let your host, chef, or waiter know.

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