Stay Safe in Pakistan
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.
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.
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.
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.