Pakistan

From Halal Explorer

Dudipat WV Panorama

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is in South Asia and is the world's 34th largest country by size. With a population exceeding 180 million people, it is the sixth most populous country in the world. Pakistan is strategically located astride the ancient trade routes of the Khyber and Bolan passes between South Asia and Central Asia. Another pass, which now has the Karakoram Highway through it, leads to Western China. All these passes, and some ports in Pakistan, formed part of the ancient Silk Road which linked Asia and Europe.

Contents

An Introduction to the regions of Pakistan

Pakistan is a federation of four provinces: Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. The government of Pakistan exercises de facto jurisdiction over the western parts of the disputed Kashmir region, organised into the separate political entities Azad Kashmir and Gilgit–Baltistan (formerly Northern Areas).

  Gilgit-Baltistan
Home to some of the world's tallest mountains, it's brimming with dramatically fantastic landscapes and can easily compete with Nepal for trekking opportunities.
  Northwest Pakistan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas)
Home of the rugged Pashtuns, for some it's forbidding and mysterious... yet below the surface are some of the most hospitable people in the nation. Northern Pakhtunkhwa (including Dir, Swat, Asgharabad, etc) is considered the most beautiful part of Pakistan.
  Azad Kashmir
Pakistan-administered portion of the disputed Kashmir region is sometimes referred to as "Heaven on Earth" because of its scenic beauty.
  Punjab
The most populous and agriculturally fertile region in the nation, and home to many historical shrines and masjids.
  Sindh
Most visitors head for Karachi or the ancient ruins of Mohenjo-daro but the region offers a lot more to see.
  Balochistan
The largest and most remote province, its lack of infrastructure can make for rough travelling. Most foreign visitors here are just passing through from Iran, stopping briefly in Quetta. The second largest forest of juniper trees in the world lies in the mountainous Ziarat about 80 kilometers from Quetta. Beautiful natural beaches of Gawadar, Pasni and Lasbela are also popular tourist attractions. The Ziarat and Pishin regions are famous for their delicious fruit.

Other Muslim Friendly Cities in Pakistan

River_Swat,_KPK

Nine of Pakistan's most notable cities follow. Other cities are listed in the article for their region.

  • Islamabad – the federal capital, a relatively new planned city with a much more "laid back" feel than the other cities
  • Faisalabad – a major city in Punjab, famous for its textile industry
  • Karachi – the financial capital and the largest city of the nation, it's an industrial port city and the provincial capital of Sindh
  • Lahore – city of the Mughals, it's a bustling and very historical city in the Punjab that shouldn't be missed
  • Multan – the City of Saints, famous for blue pottery, ornamental glasswork, and Khussa – a type of shoes
  • Muzaffarabad – capital of Azad Kashmir and a very picturesque city
  • Peshawar – capital city of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, it has a bit of an outlaw edge to it, and is the gateway to the Khyber Pass
  • Quetta – a large, beautiful and slightly unruly city in the southern state of Balochistan, you'll pass through here en route to or from Iran
  • Sialkot – the city of sports goods, famous for its exports industry, and one of the oldest cities in the region

Other Muslim Friendly Destinations in Pakistan

  • Karakoram Highway – part of the historic Silk Road and the main artery running north to China
  • Murree – a popular Himalayan hill station one hours drive from Islamabad
  • Khewra Salt Mine – the second largest salt mine of the world. Nearly two hours drive from Islamabad towards south via the motorway
  • Mohenjo-daro – archaeological site from the Indus Valley Civilisation, about 2000 BCE
  • Taxila – archaeological site for the Gandharan period (1st millennium BCE and 1st CE)
  • Changa Manga - is a planted forest locating in 12,423 acres.

Pakistan Halal Explorer

History of Pakistan

See also: Mughal Empire, British Raj

The history of Pakistan can be traced back to the earliest ancient human civilisations in South Asia. The earliest evidence of farming in South Asia is from 7,000 BCE in Mehrgarh. Mehrgarh in present-day Balochistan was a small farming village and centre of agriculture in South Asia during New Stone Age period which lasted until its abandonment around 2600 BCE due to climate change and was succeeded by Indus Valley Civilization, a civilization in the early stages of development growing along one of the major rivers of Asia and the Indus. By 3300 BCE and the IVC extended throughout much of what is modern-day Pakistan. It became one of the great civilisations of the ancient world along with Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. This Bronze Age civilisation with its remarkably sophisticated civil engineering and urban planning become most advanced civilisation of its time which had well-planned towns and well-laid roads, as recorded in its major city of Mohenjo-daro which today is an archaeological site of immense historical significance. The Indus Valley Civilization declined and disintegrated around 1900 BCE, possibly due to drought and geological disturbances. Most historians believe that the Vedic people were migrants who encountered this civilization in decline and perhaps hastened that decline. The Vedic people eventually occupied most of North India, laid the foundations of Hinduism and flourished in the ancient city of what is today known as Taxila. After the defeat of the first Persian Empire, Achaemenid, which ruled much of modern Pakistan, Alexander the Great and the Ancient Greece|Hellenistic King of Macedon, invaded the region of Pakistan and conquered much of the Punjab region for his Macedonian empire.

Prior to the late 18th century, Pakistan was the main Islamic stronghold in the Mughal Empire, which at its peak covered the great majority of the Indian subcontinent. The area that now makes up Pakistan kept its status as one of the main cultural and political hubs of South Asia for over 300 years. From the late 18th century until 1947, Pakistan was part of the British Empire, and one can still see the signs of Pakistan's colonial past in most places.

The name Pakistan was used officially after the partition of (British) India into the two nation-states of India and Pakistan in 1947. However and the word Pakistan was first used by Choudhry Rahmat Ali back in 1933 in his declaration, Now or Never – calling for its separation from the Empire. Afterwards, British-ruled India was divided into the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (with two sections, West and East) and India. Later, East Pakistan seceded and became the separate nation of Bangladesh, as a result of an extremely brutal war which also involved India. A dispute over Kashmir is still ongoing between India and Pakistan and has resulted in three wars and many skirmishes, acts of terrorism and an insurgency and counter-insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir|the part of Kashmir controlled by India and claimed by Pakistan.

Right after its independence Pakistan was a peaceful, tolerant, progressive and prosperous country and a magnet for international travelers. By the late 1960s Pakistan's tourism industry was flourishing and the nation became a hotspot for many young Western travelers and the hippie types. In the absence of political and ethnic violence and terrorism Pakistan showed the image of a cosmopolitan, orderly country but by the 1980s the reputation of Pakistan had changed drastically, and today it is a very different place from what it used to be.

Today Pakistan is populated mostly by people whose ancestors originated from various other places — including Arabs from after the Islamic expeditions, Persians from Bukhara and Samarkand, Turks from Central Asia — and the native Sindhus whose ancestors converted to Islam. Ethnic groups such as Punjabis, Sindhis, Seraikis, Pashtuns, Mohajirs and Balochs all have different native languages, cultures and histories.

What is the Geography of Pakistan

Balochistan-Pakistan-2 India and Pakistan have a bitter and long-standing dispute over Kashmir; each government claims territory that is under the control of the other. They have fought wars over this three times since independence in 1947.

Wikivoyage, however, deals only with the current situation on the ground; our maps show and our text describes that situation without taking sides in the dispute. If you can go there with a Pakistani visa today then we treat it as being in Pakistan, and if you need an Indian visa, we treat it as being in India. This is the most important distinction for Muslim travellers.

Most of the Pakistani-controlled part of Kashmir (Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan) is safer than most of the rest of Pakistan, but travellers should check current conditions before visiting Kashmir and be wary of areas close to the Line of Control (the de facto border). Both governments consider these areas highly sensitive, keep large military forces in them, and restrict travel to them.

Located along the Arabian Sea, Pakistan is surrounded by Afghanistan to the northwest, Iran to the southwest, India to the east, and China to the northeast. Pakistan has its own unique character but also has many commonalities with neighbouring nations, especially Afghanistan and India.

Pakistan is one of those few countries in the world that has every kind of geological structure. It has the sea, desert (Sindh & Punjab), green mountains (North West Province), dry mountains (Balochistan), mountains covered with snow, rivers, rich land to cultivate (Punjab & Sindh), water resources, waterfalls, and forests. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan contain the mountain ranges of the Himalayas and the Karakoram, and the Hindu Kush. Pakistan's highest point is K2, which, at 8,611 metres, is the second highest peak in the world. The Punjab province is a flat, alluvial plain whose rivers eventually join the Indus River and flow south to the Arabian Sea. Sindh lies between the Thar Desert and the Rann of Kutch to the east, and the Kirthar range to the west. The Balochistan Plateau is arid and surrounded by dry mountains. Pakistan experiences frequent earthquakes, occasionally severe, especially in the north and the west.

How is the Climate in Pakistan

Mostly hot, dry desert; temperate in northwest; arctic in north. Flooding along the Indus after heavy rains (July and August). Fertile and sub humid heat in the Punjab region.

The climate varies from tropical to temperate, with arid conditions in the coastal south. There is a monsoon season with frequent flooding due to heavy rainfall, and a dry season with significantly less rainfall or none at all. There are four distinct seasons: a cool, dry winter from December through February; a hot, dry spring from March through May; the summer rainy season, or southwest monsoon period, from June through September; and the retreating monsoon period of October and November. Rainfall varies greatly from year to year, and patterns of alternate flooding and drought are common.

Politics in Pakistan

Pakistan is theoretically a democratic, parliamentary federal republic modelled on the British Westminster system, with Islam as the state religion. The President, indirectly elected, is the Head of State, but his position is primarily ceremonial. The Prime Minister and his cabinet run the government. The Parliament is bicameral. The National Assembly and the lower house, is directly elected by universal adult franchise, while the Senate is the upper house and indirectly elected. The National Assembly is the more powerful of the two, primarily because a majority in the National Assembly is required to form a government and pass budgets. Pakistan has a lot of political parties, and no party is able to secure a majority in the National Assembly, leading to unstable governments, short-lived political alliances and raucous politics. Pakistan has a strong and independent judiciary and a free press.

However, political instability has resulted in (or some would say, has been partially caused by) a high degree of military control in Pakistan. Most of the prime ministers have been influenced by the chief of the Pakistani army in major decisions related to foreign policy, and there have been periods of outright military dictatorship in the past.

Pakistan is also a Federal Republic, divided into provinces. Each of these has its own legislature, with a government run by a chief minister and a cabinet.

Street demonstrations and political agitations occur, as they do in any democracy. There is also occasional low-level violence, but a visitor has a vanishingly small chance of getting caught in that. Terrorism is a bigger problem, though. It can occur anywhere, and some parts of the nation are too dangerous to visit because of the great risks in those areas (see "Stay safe").

Culture & Tradition of Pakistan

Ramadan 2025 in Pakistan

Ramadan concludes with the festival of Eid al-Fitr, which may last several days, usually three in most countries.

The next Ramadan shall be from Friday, 28 February 2025 to Saturday, 29 March 2025

The next Eid al-Adha shall be on Friday, 6 June 2025

The next day of Raʾs al-Sana shall be on Monday, 19 July 2024

The next day for Mawlid al-Nabī shall be on Monday, 16 September 2024

Pakistan being home to numerous ethnic groups is culturally diverse nation that emphasise both on local culture and tradions alongwith the traditional Islamic values. The culture is greatly influenced by many of its neighbours states.

Women

Women have played a prominent role in the development of the nation in government, education, services, health as well as the military. Benazir Bhutto was the first female premier of Pakistan, and the first democratically elected female leader of a Muslim country and women have served in many other prominent areas in politics. The Pakistan Air Force has also started to employ female fighter pilots.

Public Holidays in Pakistan

Event Date About
Kashmir Solidarity Day February 5 Protest against Indian administration of Jammu and Kashmir. It has been observed each year in Pakistan as a day of protest against Indian control of part of Kashmir. The purpose of Kashmir Solidarity day as per Pakistani view, is to provide sympathetic and political support to the Kashmiri separatists who they believe are struggling for freedom from Indian rule. Nonviolent rallies and public marches are held across the nation.
Pakistan Day 23 March Commemorates the Lahore Resolution of 1940, and the adoption of the first constitution of Pakistan during the transition of the Dominion of Pakistan to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on 23 March 1956 making Pakistan the world's first Islamic republic. It is a major holiday and significant day for Pakistanis, other being the Independence Day on 14 August. Republic Day parade by the armed forces is a common celebration for the event. The celebrations regarding the holiday include a full military and civilian parade in the capital, Islamabad. These are presided over by the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan and are held early in the morning. After the parade and the President confers national awards and medals at the Presidency. Wreaths are also laid at the mausoleums of Muhammad Iqbal and Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Many military and civilians parades and celebrations also held at national level across the nation, mostly in major cities, and are worth to witness.
Labour Day 1 May An annual holiday to celebrate the achievements of workers and to commemorate the social and economic achievements of workers. Nonviolent rallies and protest demonstration held in major cities.
Independence Day 14 August biggest National holiday to commemorate independence from the British Raj, forming the new nation of Pakistan. Usual celebratory events this day include flag-raising ceremonies, parades, cultural events, and the playing of patriotic songs. As the month of August begins, special stalls and retail outlets are set up across the nation for the sale of national flags, buntings, banners and posters, pictures of national heroes, and other celebratory items. Vehicles, private buildings, homes, and streets are decorated with the national flag and buntings. Streets and houses are decorated with candles, oil lamps and pennants, national flag as well as firework shows occur as a part of celebration. A change of guard takes place at national monuments.
Iqbal Day 9 November Birthday of national poet Muhammad Iqbal.
Birthday of Quaid-e-Azam 25 December birthday of the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Ashura Muharram 9 and 10 Marks the end of the Shia mourning for the martyred Imam Hussein ibn Ali. Primarily Shia'a people gather across the nation to mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali and the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. Seminars, rallies, mourning processions (Matmi Jaloos), Majalis, etc. are organized on this day.
Eid-ul-Fitr Shawwal 1 the largest celebration of the year, celebrated by all Muslims after the holy and fasting month of Ramadan to mark the end of Ramadan, starting on the first day of the month of Shawwal. Food is the highlight and if you're lucky you'll be invited into a private home to party and feast. Businesses close for at least a couple of days if not a week. (The official holidays are theoretically two days: the first and second day of the month of Shawwal. Anyhow, practically it includes the 30th day of Ramadan and may include the third day of Shawwal if it touches the weekend. Therefore, usually all offices are closed for 3 to 7 days.)
Eid-ul-Adha 10 Zilhajj the festival of sacrifice, commemorates the Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son. Animals are slaughtered and Meat or food is distributed among the poor. Families join together for large feasts and parties.
Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi Rabi`-ul-Awwal 12 Birthday of the Prophet Muhammad.

Travel as a Muslim to Pakistan

Pakistan visa

Visas

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

Visa policy of Pakistan - A map showing the visa requirements of Pakistan, with countries in lawn green having business visa on arrival; and countries in turquoise having business or group tourist visa on arrival

Muslims visitors of 24 "Tourist Friendly Countries" (TFC) are eligible for one month visas on arrival if they travel through a designated/authorised tour operator who will assume responsibility for them while in the nation. Any extensions of this type of visa must also be done through the tour operator. They include: Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, UK and USA.

Nationals of most other countries (and those not wanting to travel with a tour operator and group) need to apply in advance for a visa, which are usually issued for 30-90 days depending on nationality and where you apply. Double-entries are sometimes given, but be clear and persistent that you need this when applying. Visas for Pakistan are usually easier to obtain in your home country as the missions around the world have been given more authority to issue visas without checking with Islamabad, which should help in getting applications turned around quicker.

A handful of countries are issued visas on arrival: Iceland and Maldives for 3 months, Hong Kong, Nepal and Samoa for 1 month, while Tonga and Trinidad and Tobago nationals can stay for an unlimited amount of time.

Nationals of Palestine are not allowed entry as it is not recognised as a nation by Pakistan (and most other Muslim countries), but there is no restriction on Yahudi holding passports from other nations. Despite much on-line information to the contrary, Israeli settler stamps and visas would usually pose no problems for entry into Pakistan, though you may be subject to more stringent questioning by immigration officers. And while under normal circumstances visas can not be obtained by Israeli settler passport holders and there have been exceptions in which nationals of Palestine have been admitted to Pakistan after obtaining an NOC from the Ministry of Interior in Islamabad beforehand, which they then submitted along with application for Pakistani visa.

Wagah border ceremony3 - Border ceremony at the border with India in Wagah India|Indian nationals can apply for 30 day tourist visas but must travel in a group through an authorised tour operator. Visitor visas to meet relatives or friends are more easy to obtain, and come with some restrictions. Religious visas are granted for groups of 10 or more for 15 days. The High Commission for Pakistan in New Delhi issues visas with varying degrees of difficulty, taking at least 1 day (and sometimes several) to process the application. Applications are only accepted in the mornings from around 09:00-11:00. Arrive early and expect the process to take a few hours, and possibly a few return visits. Window 5 is for foreign tourist and business visas (under the big white sign).

Nationals of Afghanistan are refused entry if their passports or tickets show evidence of transit or boarding in India.

Muslims visitors of certain countries can obtain Business visas on arrival at major airports (Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta or Karachi) if their local host company either obtain an approval from the immigration authorities or arrange an invitation letter duly recommended by the concerned trade organizations in Pakistan. Recommendation letter issued by chamber of commerce & industry is also acceptable.

The Pakistan Consulate in Istanbul does not issue visas unless you are a resident of Türkiye, although it may be feasible in Ankara.

The consulate in Zahedan in Iran no longer issues visas, head for the embassy in Tehran.

People of Pakistani origin living overseas are granted 5 year multiple entry visas (along with their spouses), good for single stays of up to 1 year. Visas aren't required at all if they are holding a Pakistan Origin Card (POC) or a National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP).

As of January 2018, applications for tourist visas in Delhi are refused to everyone, regardless of the nationality.

Buy a Flight ticket to and from Pakistan

Boeing_777_of_Pakistan_International_Airlines_at_Manchester_Airport_(22045208621)

Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad are the main gateways to Pakistan by air. Eight other international airports are in Quetta, Gawadar, Peshawar, Sialkot, Multan, Rahim Yar Khan, Faisalabad and Dera Ghazi Khan. Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad all served by many international airliners and are directly connected to cities from Europe, North America, Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Pakistan's national carrier Pakistan International Airlines provide good connectivity within the nation as well to major hubs around the world. PIA was once a major and reputated airlines in the world, but is now suffering due to bad governance. It is still the largest airline of the nation and serve most number of destinations , both local and international.

PIA has direct connections with Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Birmingham, Barcelona, Bangkok, Beijing, Copenhagen, Dubai, Doha, Dammam, Delhi, Dhaka, Istanbul, Jeddah, Kabul, Istanbul, Kuwait, Kathmandu, Kuala Lumpur, London, Oslo, Paris, Riyadh. Sharjah, Singapore, Manchester, Medinah, Mumbai, Milan, Muscat, New York, Riyadh, Tokyo, Toronto-Pearson, and Zahedan.

Most number of flights and airlines orignates from Gulf countries where most of overseas Pakistan work and thus are often reasonable. Other than flag career PIA, private airlines such as Airblue and Shaheen Airlines also operate Flights to numerous Arab destinations.

Muslim Friendly Rail Holidays in Pakistan

Samjautha Express

Pakistan has train links with India and Iran, though none of these trains are the quickest and most practical way to enter Pakistan. Should speed be a priority it is better to take the bus, or if you are really in a hurry, to fly, however the trains are sights in their own right.

From India:

  • The Samjhauta Express runs on Tuesdays and Fridays between Delhi and Lahore via the Attari/Wagah border crossing. This is the most common option chosen by travellers, however, after terrorist attacks on the train, which caused many casualties and strained relationships between the two neighbours, it is strongly advised that you take taxis or buses to and from the border instead.
  • The Thar Express runs from Bhagat ki Kothi in the Indian state of Rajasthan to Karachi in Pakistan's Sindh province. This route restarted in February 2006 after 40 years out of service, but is not open to foreign tourists.

From Iran: There is only one link, from Zahedan to Quetta.

By car

From ancient times people have been travelling through Pakistan using the Grand Trunk Road and the Silk Road that run through Pakistan and into the South Asia|Indian subcontinent. It's a rewarding but time consuming way to see this part of the world. New highways have been developed and the nation is due for an expansion in its highway network. A world-class motorway connects the cities of Peshawar, Islamabad, Lahore, and Faisalabad but drivers' behaviour is still poor and capriciously policed.

From China: Pakistan is connected to China by the Karakoram Highway, a modern feat of engineering that traverses a remarkably scenic route through the Karakoram and Himalayan mountains. Plans are in place for this highway to be expanded from its current width of 10 m to 30 m as a result of the increase in trade traffic due to Gwader port opening.

From Afghanistan:

  • The Khyber Pass connects Peshawar to Jalalabad and Kabul and requires an armed escort and a permit to travel through the tribal regions between Peshawar and the border crossing. Onward travel from the border to Kabul is of questionable safety, check the current situation locally.
  • The Bolan Pass connects Quetta to Kandahar and is considered very dangerous. This route is not open to foreign tourists, and is only open to local residents and aid workers.

Travel on a Bus in Pakistan

From India: While there is international service running from Delhi to Lahore it is just as fast, much more flexible, and much cheaper to take the journey by stringing together local transport and crossing the border on foot.As of October 2009 and the bus was Rs 1,500. The journey details can be found here: dtc.nic.in/lahorebus . You cannot buy the ticket on the spot, rather you will need to show up a few days before at Delhi Gate with photocopies of your Pakistani and Indian visas. The bus leaves at 06:00 but you will need to be at Delhi Gate at 04:00 to check in for it.

From China: You can take a bus from Kashgar over the Karakoram Highway to Pakistan.

From Iran: Via the Mijva border in Iran which is half an hours drive from Zahedan. The Pakistani border town is called Taftan and has facilities of immigration, customs, hotels, etc.

How to get around in Pakistan

Getting around Pakistan has become much easier with the completion of some motorways, and an increase in private airlines. Whilst the cities are well covered, roads in rural areas are not, with many minor roads missing - Google Maps in particular has a worrying habit of marking dried up river beds as minor roads, so if you're exploring out in the sticks, it's a good idea to use Google Earth to double check your route.

Buy a Flight ticket to and from Pakistan

Pakistan Airports & Seaports

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) serves numerous domestic destinations and is the only airline to serve the three airports in the north of interest to trekkers or climbers: Chitral, Gilgit, and Skardu. There are usually two Flights from Islamabad to these cities daily, but they are often cancelled due to bad weather, and often over-booked —; show up early to guarantee a seat.

Other domestic carriers include Shaheen Air International and Airblue.

Muslim Friendly Rail Holidays in Pakistan

Pakistan Railways Network Map - Pakistan Railways Network Map Pakistan Railways provides passenger rail service. The stations tend not to have their timetables in English, but sales agents can usually explain everything to you. There are several different classes of fares depending on amenities.

Air-Conditioned Sleeper class is the most expensive class, where the fares are almost at par with airfares. Bedding is included with the fare and this air-conditioned coach is present only on popular routes between Karachi to Lahore. The sleeper berths are extremely wide and spacious and the coaches are carpeted.

Travel on a Bus in Pakistan

Pakistan Nationalhighways - 600px|Highway network A large portion of travel between cities in Pakistan is carried out by bus. Travel by bus is often the cheapest and most convenient alternative. The Daewoo company runs a regular bus service between several major cities, with air-conditioned buses and seats booked one day ahead. While rather affordable and they are still almost five times as expensive as the affordable and uncomplicated rides offered by shuttle vanes or larger buses between the major bus stations of the cities. On the regular bus services, fares are often (though not always) paid directly on the bus and there is no air-conditioning, and sometimes very little knee space, but you get where you are going all the same. You'll also probably benefit from kind interest and friendly conversation on many rides. Buses leave almost incessantly from the major bus stations for all the major cities, and many smaller locations, so booking ahead is neither feasible nor necessary on the simpler buses. When travelling between major cities, smaller buses are to be preferred over the larger ones, as the larger ones tend to pick up passengers along the way and and therefore, travel more slowly.

The situation is similar for local transport. While the organization of local transport may look a little different between cities and there is usually an active bus service running throughout each city, with varying levels of government control.

You can purchase bus tickets online with the Daewoo bus company.

Local Language in Pakistan

See also: Urdu phrasebook

English is also an official language (British control began in the 1840s and did not end until 1947). English is widely spoken and understood in major cities, as well as at varying levels of competence by many people around the nation. It is used in government, educational establishments and is widely used in the business and corporate worlds and especially in banking and trading.

What to see in Pakistan

Pakistan's attractions range from the ruins of civilisations such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Taxila, to the Himalayan hill stations, which attract visitors not only from across the nation but also from all over the world who are interested in winter sports and natural beauty. Pakistan is home to several mountain peaks over 7,000 m, especially K2 and is a hotspot for adventurers and mountaineers. Along with natural beauty and the northern part of the nation also offer ancient architecture such as old fortresses. The Hunza and Chitral valley are home to small pre-Islamic Animist Kalasha communities claiming descent from Alexander the Great, while the romance of the historic Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province is timeless and legendary. Punjab province has the site of Alexander's battle on the Jhelum River and the historic city of Lahore. Lahore is Pakistan's cultural capital, with many examples of Mughal architecture such as Badshahi Masjid, Shalimar Gardens and the Tomb of Jahangir and the Lahore Fort. The cultural and physical diversity of Pakistan should have advanced it into a tourist hot spot for foreigners, but numbers have diminished in this century due to security fears and low standards of service and cleanliness.

Post-independence Pakistan retained its legacy by constructing various sites to commemorate its independence by blending various styles and influences from the past.

World Heritage Sites

Pakistan has six major cultural sites that are categorised as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These include:

  • Archaeological ruins of the Indus Valley Civilization at Moenjodaro.
  • 1st Century Buddhist Ruins at Takht-i-Bahi and Neighbouring City Remains at Sahr-i-Bahlol.
  • The ruins of Taxila from the Gandhara Civilization
  • The Lahore Fort and Shalimar Gardens in Lahore.
  • Historic Monuments of the ancient city of Thatta.
  • The ancient fort of Rohtas.

Natural attractions

Pakistan is profound blend of landscapes varying from plains to deserts, forests, hills, and plateaus ranging from the coastal areas of the Arabian Sea in the south to the mountains of the Karakoram range in the north. Pakistan's northern areas especially Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa|Northern side of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are full of natural beauty and include parts of the Hindu Kush and the Karakoram Range, and the Himalayas. This area has some of the world's highest mountain includes such famous peaks as K2 (Mount Godwin Austen, at 8,611 m and the second highest mountain in the world). Five peaks over 8,000 m, many over 7,000 m, and the largest glaciers outside the polar region. More than one-half of the summits are over 4,500 m, and more than fifty peaks reach above 6,500 mPakistan's administered Azad Kashmir is rich in natural beauty. Its snow-covered peaks, forests, rivers, streams, valleys, velvet green plateaus and climate varying from Arctic to tropical, join together to make it an excellent tourist attraction. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is known as the tourist hotspot for adventurers and explorers. The province has a varied landscape ranging from rugged mountains, valleys, hills and dense agricultural farms. Pakistan has some 29 national parks.

Cultural and historical attractions

Tomb of Muhammad Iqbal

Popular monuments in Pakistan are:

  • Pakistan Monument
  • Minar-e-Pakistan
  • Quaid-e-Azam Residency
  • Tomb of Muhammad Iqbal
  • Mazar-e-Quaid

Museums and galleries in Pakistan

In Pakistan and there's a museum from archaeological and historical to biographical, from legacy to military, from natural history to transport—nearly every big city has a museum worth visiting. The highest concentrations of these museums are found in the largest cities, but none compare to Lahore, home to Lahore Museum. Karachi also has an array of some good museums, including the National Museum of Pakistan, PAF Museum and Pakistan Maritime Museum. For those looking out for a transport museum, Pakistan Railways Heritage Museum in Islamabad is a major attraction.

Top Muslim Travel Tips for Pakistan

Pakistan is a world class destination for trekking and hiking. Gilgit-Baltistan is a "mountain paradise" for mountaineers, trekkers, and tourists. The region has some of the world's highest mountains, including five peaks over 8,000m, many over 7,000m, and the largest glaciers outside the polar region.

Horse riding is also very affordable. Cycling opportunities abound.

For water-based activities fans, Karachi is the only place in the nation to head for. From snorkelling, scuba diving, boating, fishing, and even cruise dining.

You can also shop to your heart's content, in massive range of markets and bazaars without worrying about your budget, as a survey found Karachi as the world's most cheapest city.

Muslim Friendly Shopping in Pakistan

Money Matters & ATM's in Pakistan

The national currency of Pakistan is the rupee, denoted as Rs (ISO code PKR). Coins are issued in 1, 2, and 5 rupee denominations. Banknotes come in Rs 10 (green), 20 (orange green), 50 (purple), 100 (red), 500 (deep green), 1,000 (dark blue), and 5,000 (mustard) values. The rupee is subdivided into 100 paise (singular: paisa). "5 rupees 75 paise" would normally be written as Rs "5.75". It is always good to have a number of small bills on hand, as merchants and drivers sometimes have no change. A useful technique is to keep small note (10-100) in your wallet or in a pocket, and to keep larger notes separate. Then, it will not be obvious how much money you have. Many merchants will claim that they don't have change for a Rs 500 or 1,000 note. This is often a lie so that they are not stuck with a large note. It is best not to buy unless you have exact change.

The coins in circulation are Rs 1, 2 and 5. Coins are useful for buying tea, for beggars, and for giving exact change for an bus fare or auto-rickshaw.

ATMs exist in most areas and accept major cards such as American Express, MasterCard and Visa.

Changing money

It's usually best to get your foreign currency converted to rupees before you make purchases (of course that's only applicable if you're planning to buy with cash not a credit card). A number of licensed currency exchange companies operate, and a passport might be required as an identification document but this requirement is often ignored. Currency exchange shop can easily found in major shopping areas. Be sure to say the amount you wish to exchange and ask for the 'best quote' as rates displayed on the board are often negotiable, especially for larger amounts.

Most large department stores and souvenir shops, and all upmarket restaurants and hotels accept major credit cards such as American Express, MasterCard and Visa cards. Some small shops will want to pass on their 2-3% merchant charge to you. In many cities and towns, credit cards are accepted at retail chain stores and other restaurants and stores. Small businesses and family-run stores almost never accept credit cards, so it is useful to keep a moderate amount of cash on hand.

Rates for exchanging rupees overseas are often poor, although places with significant Pakistani populations (e.g. Dubai), can give decent rates. Try to get rid of any spare rupees before you leave the nation.

Most ATMs will dispense up to 50,000 in each transaction. HBL, MCB Bank, National Bank of Pakistan and United Bank, all are the biggest bank in Pakistan and have the most ATMs. They accepts most of the international cards at a nominal charge. International banks like Standard Chartered have a significant presence in major Pakistan cities. It is always worthwhile to have bank cards or credit cards from at least two different providers to ensure that you have a backup available in case one card is suspended by your bank or simply does not work work at a particular ATM.

Counting

Pakistanis commonly use lakh and crore for 100,000 and 10,000,000 respectively. Though these terms come from Sanskrit and they have been adopted so deeply into Pakistani English that most people are not aware that they are not standard in other English dialects. You may also find non-standard, although standard in Pakistan, placement of commas while writing numerals. One crore rupees would be written as 1,00,00,000, so first time you place a comma after three numerals and then after every two numerals. This format may puzzle you till you start thinking in terms of lakhs and crores, after which it will seem natural.

Number English Format Pakistani Format
100 Hundred Sau
1000 Thousand Hazaar
1,00,000 Hundred Thousand One Lakh
10,00,000 Million Ten Lakh
1,00,00,000 Ten Million One Crore

Muslim Friendly Shopping in Pakistan

Traditional Bazar (Market) of Dargai Malakand KPK Pakistan

Pakistan, and particularly Karachi, features in surveys as one of the cheapest places in the world to shop. It has a wide range of markets and bazaars to visit and things to buy without worrying about blowing your budget:

  • Textiles and Garments such as garments, bed linen, shirts, T-shirts are cheaply available stores including Chen One, Bonanza, Ideas (Gul Ahmed), Cambridge Shop. Many world renowned brands like Adidas (currently on the BDS List so for the time don't purchase any Adidas products), Levis, Slazenger, HangTen, Wal-Mart etc. get their products prepared from Faisalabad which has one of the largest textile industries in the world. You can get a pair of Levis jeans (or any other good brand for that matter) at a very reasonable price ranging between Rs 1,400-2,500.
  • Leather goods, like shoes, jackets and bags are also a speciality of Pakistan. Go to English Boot House, Sputnik, Shoe Planet, Servis, Metro, Gap shoes, Lotus, Step-in, Jaybees for best quality shoes at fair prices.
  • Sports goods such as cricket bats, balls, kits, footballs, sports wear and almost anything related to sports you can imagine. You will not find such high quality equipment at such low cost anywhere else. Sialkot produces 90% of the world’s sports goods and is the largest provider of sports equipment to FIFA for the World cup.
  • Musical instruments are produced economically and to high quality in Pakistan. Acoustic guitars cost as lttle as Rs 2,000.
  • Surgical instruments
  • Computer accessories
  • Chinese goods especially Electronics & Cameras which are re-exported from Pakistan and are cheaper than other parts of the world.
  • Carpets and rugs in Arabian, Afghan, Iranian and Pakistani varieties
  • Wood Carvings such as decorative wooden plates, bowls, artwork, furniture and miscellaneous items.
  • Jewellery such as necklaces, bracelets etc. are very affordable in Pakistan.
  • Gems and handicrafts: (Ajrak from Sindh, Blue pottery from Multan, pottery from Karachi), glassware, brassware, marble products, crystal works and antiques Also buy pashmina, rugs, wool-shawls or wraps, which can cost anywhere between US$15 and US$700. Remember to negotiate.
  • Books
  • Souvenirs such as decorative items from Sea Shells.
  • Food stuffs local products, including Swat honey, biscuits and locally made Chocolates are of good quality and affordable. Go to shops such as Dmart, Makro, Metro, Hyperstar.
  • Home accessories
  • Kitchen Utensils and Cutlery
  • Art lovers should get in touch with a local to take them around. There are many art galleries in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad that are worth visiting and each will offer a completely different range of artwork, style and pricing. All should be visited if you are an art lover.

In general shops are open 09:00-23:00 in the large cities. They open and close for business earlier in the smaller towns and rural areas.

Bargaining

In Pakistan, you are expected to negotiate the price with street hawkers but not in department stores. If not, you risk overpaying many times, which can be okay if you think that it is cheaper than at home. In most of the big cities, retail chain stores are popping up where the shopping experience is crucially identical to similar stores in the West. Although you will pay a little more at these stores, you can be confident that what you are getting is not a affordable knockoff. The harder you bargaining|bargain and the more you save money. A few tries later, you will realise that it is fun.

Often and the more time you spend in a store and the better deals you will get. It is worth spending time getting to know the owner, asking questions, and getting him to show you other products (if you are interested). Once the owner feels that he is making a sufficient profit from you, he will often give you additional goods at a rate close to his cost, rather than the common "foreigner rate". You will get better prices and service by buying many items in one store than by bargaining in multiple stores individually. If you see local people buying in a store, probably. you can get the real Pakistani prices. Ask someone around you quietly, "How much would you pay for this?"

What is the living cost in Pakistan

Most visitors will find Pakistan quite cheap, although it is noticeably more expensive than neighbouring Afghanistan. Karachi is also generally more expensive than the rest of the nation. At the other end of the spectrum, luxury hotels and air fares are comparatively affordable, with even the fanciest 5-star hotels costing less than Rs 20,000/night.

Tipping is considered a good training in Pakistan. Hotel porters, taxi drivers, delivery men will appreciate a small tip if you have been provided with exemplary service.

Halal Restaurants in Pakistan

Pakistani cuisine is a refined blend of various regional cooking traditions of South Asia. Pakistani cuisine is known for its richness, having aromatic and sometimes spicy flavors, and some dishes often contain liberal amounts of oil which contributes to a richer, fuller mouthfeel and flavour. It is very similar to Indian cuisine but a lot meatier and has some Afghan, Central Asian and Persian influences and there is a good chance that you'd have tasted it in your country as Indian food and Pakistan food often served together in a restaurant. Cuisine in Pakistan varies greatly from region to region. The "Pakistani food" served by many so-called Pakistani or Indian restaurants in the Western hemisphere is inspired by specifically Mughlai cuisine, a style developed by the royal kitchens of the historical Mughal Empire, and the regional cuisine of the Punjab, although degree of authenticity in relation to actual Mughlai or Punjabi cooking is sometimes variable at best and dubious at worst. Within Pakistan, cuisine varies greatly from region to region, reflecting the nation's ethnic and cultural diversity. Food from the eastern provinces of Punjab and Sindh and Mughlai cuisine are similar to the cuisines of Northern India and can be highly seasoned and spicy with Vegetarian options, which is characteristic of the flavours of the South Asian region. Food in other parts of Pakistan, particularly Balochistan, Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, involves the use of mild aromatic spices with more Meat and less oil, similar to the cuisines of neighbouring Afghanistan, Iran, and Central Asia. Due to Muslim beliefs, Beef is a banned item in Pakistan and is neither consumed nor sold.

Pakistani main course foods which mostly consist of Curries dishes are eaten with either flatbread — also called wheat bread — or Rice. Salad is generally taken as a side dish with the main course, rather than as an appetizer beforehand. Assorted fresh fruit or sometimes desserts are consumed at the end of a meal. Meat plays a much more dominant role in Pakistani food compared to other South Asian cuisines. According to a 2003 report, an average Pakistani consumed three times more Meat than an average Indian. Of all the meats and the most popular are goat or mutton, beef and Chicken, particularly for Halal Kebab dishes or the classic beef shank dish nihari. Seafood is generally not consumed in large amounts. Food tends range from mild to spicy depending on where you are and who your cook is. So state your preference before beginning to eat. In general, most of the food that you find in the high end hotels is also available in the markets (but European-style food is generally reserved for the former).

Pakistani food has a well-deserved reputation for being hot, owing to the Pakistani penchant for the liberal use of a variety of spices, and potent fresh green chilis or red chili powder that will bring tears to the eyes of the uninitiated. The degree of spiciness varies widely throughout the nation: Punjab food is famously fiery, while Northern Areas cuisine is quite mild in taste.

To enjoy the local food, start slowly. Don't try everything at once. After a few weeks, you can get accustomed to spicy food. If you would like to order your dish not spicy, simply say so. Most visitors are tempted to try at least some of the spicy concoctions, and most discover that the sting is worth the trouble.

Cuisine

Cuisine in Pakistan varies greatly from region to region. Culinary art in Pakistan comprises a mix of Middle Eastern, Iranian, Afghan, Indian, and Turkish influences that reflect the nation's history as well as the variation of cooking trainings from across the nation. Urban centres of the nation offer an amalgamation of recipes from all parts of the nation, while food with specific local ingredients and tastes is available in rural areas and villages. Besides the main dishes of salan, with or without Meat and cooked with vegetables or lentils and there are a number of provincial specialties such as karahi, biryani, and tikka, in various forms and flavours, eaten alongside a variety of breads such as naan, chapati, and roti.

Pakistani cuisine is a blend of cooking traditions from different regions of the Indian subcontinent, originating from the royal kitchens of sixteenth-century Mughal emperors. It has similarities to North Indian cuisine, although Pakistan has a greater variety of Meat dishes. Pakistani cooking uses large quantities of spices, herbs and seasoning. Garlic, ginger, turmeric, red chilli and garam masala are used in most dishes, and home cooking regularly includes Curries. Chapati, a thin flat bread made from wheat, is a staple food, served with Curries, Meat, vegetables and lentils. Rice is also common; it is served plain or fried with spices and is also used in sweet dishes.

Varieties of bread

Pakistan is wheat growing land, so you have Pakistani breads (known as roti), including chapatti (unleavened bread), paratha (pan-fried layered roti), naan (cooked 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 along with rotis, to be eaten by breaking off a piece of roti, dipping it in the gravy and eating them together. Most of the Pakistani heartland survives on naan, roti, Rice, and lentils (dal), which are prepared in several different ways and made spicy to taste. Served on the side, you will usually find spiced yogurt (raita) and either fresh chutney or a tiny piece of exceedingly pungent pickle (achar), a very acquired taste for most visitors — try mixing it with Curries, not eating it plain.

Pakistanis eat breads made of wheat flour as a staple part of their daily diet. Pakistan has a wide variety of breads, often prepared in a traditional clay oven called a tandoor. The tandoori style of cooking is common throughout rural and urban Pakistan and has strong roots in neighboring Iran and Afghanistan as well.

The types of flatbread (collectively referred to as Naan) are:

  • Naan - A soft and thick flat bread that often requires special clay ovens (tandoor) and cannot be properly made on home stoves. Typically leavened with yeast and mainly made with white flour. Some varieties like the Roghani and Peshwari may also be sprinkled with sesame seeds. Naans are seldom, if ever, made at home since they require tandoor based cooking and require prep work. Numerous varieties of plain as well as stuffed naans are available throughout Pakistan and each region or city can obtain their own specialty. Naan is a versatile bread and is eaten with almost anything. For instance, 'saada naan' or 'plain naan' are often served with Sri-Paya (Cow's head and totters) or Nihari (slow cooked beef stew) for breakfast in many parts of the nation. It is recognized by its larger, white exterior.
  • Roti - These are extremely popular all over Pakistan. Tandoori rotis are baked in a clay oven called tandoor and are consumed with just about anything. In rural Pakistan, many houses have their own tandoors while the ones without use a communal one. In urban Pakistan, bread shops or "nanbai"/"tandoor" shops are fairly common and supply fresh, tandoor baked breads to household clients as well. A homemade bread that doesn't have as much flavor as naan. It is a affordable alternative that is ready in minutes.
  • Chapatti - A homemade bread, much thinner then naan and usually made out of unrefined flour, and which is ready in minutes. Most common bread made in urban homes where a tandoor is not available. Chapatis are cooked over a flat or slightly convex dark colored pan known as 'tava'. Chapatis are made of whole wheat flour and are thin and unleavened. Tortillas are probably the most common analogous to chapatis, though chapatis are slightly thick. A variant, known as 'romali roti' (l handkerchief bread) is very thin and very large in size.
  • Paratha - An extremely oily version of the roti. Usually excellent if you're going out to eat, but beware of health concerns; often it is literally dripping with oil because it is meant to be part of a rich meal. Paratha is more declicious if you cook it in pure oil like "desi ghee". A flat, layered bread made with ghee and generally cooked on a 'tava'. However, a 'tandoor' based version is also common in rural areas. Parathas are very similar to pastry dough. Parathas most likely originated in the Punjab where a heavy breakfast of parathas with freshly churned butter and buttermilk was commonly used by the farmers to prepare themselves for the hard day of work ahead. However, parathas are now a common breakfast element across the nation. Along with the plain layered version, many stuffed versions such as 'Aloo ka Paratha' (Potato Stuffed Parathas), 'Mooli ka Paratha' (Radish stuffed parathas) and 'Qeemah stuffed paratha' (Ground Meat stuffed paratha) are popular.
  • Sheer Mal - This is a slightly sweetened, lightly oiled bread that has waffle-like squares punched in it. It is often considered the most desirable bread and is a delicacy to most people. Often paired with nihari. Another breakfast version of sheermal is very much like the Italian Panettone (albeit in a flat naan-like shape) with added dried fruits and Candies. It is a festive bread prepared with milk ('sheer') and butter with added candied fruits. Sheermal is often a vital part of food served in marriages, along with taftan. It is often sweetened and is particularly enjoyed by the kids.
  • Taftan - Much like the 'sheer mal' but with a puffed-up ring around it. This is a leavened flour bread with saffron and small amount of cardamom powder baked in a tandoor. The Taftan made in Pakistan is slightly sweeter and richer than the one made in neighboring Iran.
  • Kulcha - This is a type of naan usually eaten with chickpeas and potatoes and mostly popular in urban centres of Punjab.
  • Roghani Naan - (lit. Buttered Naan) It is a preferred variety of Naan sprinkled with white sesame seeds and cooked with a small amount of oil.
  • Puri - This is a breakfast bread made of white flour and fried. Typically eaten with sweet semolina halwa and/or gravy (made out of chickpeas and potatoes). Puri is a fairly urban concept in Pakistan and puris are not part of rural cuisine anywhere in Pakistan. However, Halwa Puri has now become a favored weekend or holiday breakfast in urban Pakistan where it is sometimes sold in shift carts or in specialty breakfast shops.

As you might have noticed, 'Naan' is usually used to pick up liquid and soft foods like shorba in Curries and beans. Forks and knives not commonly used during meals in Pakistan (unless someone is eating Rice or is dining out).Attempting to cut a naan with a knife may elicit some amusement around you. Watching others may help.

There are too many shorbas, or sauces/soups, to enumerate.

Vegetarian dishes

Popular and commons veg dishes are:

  • Daal - Yellow (made of yellow/red lentils) or brown (slightly sour) lentil "soup". Usually not very spiced. Common to all economic classes.
  • X + ki sabzi - A Vegetarian mixture with 'X' as the main ingredient.

Other dishes include Aloo gobi, Baingan, Karela, Bhindi and Saag

Pulses/lentil dishes

Various kinds of pulses, or legumes, make up an important part of the Pakistani dishes. While lentils (called daal), and chick peas (called channa) are popular ingredients in homestyle cooking and they are traditionally considered to be an affordable food sources. Because of this reason and they are typically not served to guests who are invited for dinner or during special occasions. Combining Meat with lentils and pulses, whether in simple preparations or in elaborate dishes such as haleem, is also a distinctively Pakistani touch not commonly seen in neighbouring India where a substantial number of its population are Vegetarian.

  • Haleem - Thick stew-like mix of tiny chunks of Meat or Chicken, lentils and wheat grains.

Rice dishes

Pakistan is a major consumer of Rice. Basmati is the most popular type of Rice consumed in Pakistan. Rice dishes are very popular throughout Pakistan. The Rice dishes are sometimes eaten mixed with other dishes. The most simple dish of Pakistani cuisine is Plain cooked Rice (Chawal) eaten with Dal (Lentil). Khichdi is Plain cooked Rice cooked with Dal. The Karhi chawal is Plain cooked Rice eaten with Karhi.

Biryani is a very popular dish in Pakistan, is cooked with pieces of beef, lamb, Chicken, fish or shrimp. and has many varieties such as Lahori and Sindhi biryani. Tahiri, which is also a form of Vegetarian biryani, is also popular. All of the main dishes (except those made with rice) are eaten alongside bread. To eat, a small fragment of bread is torn off with the right hand and used to scoop and hold small portions of the main dish. Pickles made out of mangoes, carrots, lemon, etc. are also commonly used to further spice up the food. Biryani smells more nice from the saffron and other seasonings added. In the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, feasts using mountains of spiced Rice combined with pieces of slowly roasted lamb are often served for guests of honour. These kind of pulaos often contain dried fruit, nuts, and whole spices such as cloves, saffron and cardamom. Such Rice dishes have their origins in Central Asia and the Middle East.

Dishes made with Rice include many varieties of pulao:

  • Murgh pulao - Chicken and stock added. Creates a brown Rice.
  • Yakhni pulao - Meat and stock added. Creates a brown Rice.
  • Matar pulao - Pulao made with peas.
  • Maash pulao - A sweet and sour pulao baked with mung beans, Apricots and bulghur (a kind of roughly milled cracked wheat). Exclusively Vegetarian.
  • Khichdi
  • Zarda

Meat dishes

Meat plays a much more dominant role in Pakistani cuisine compared to the other South Asian cuisines and is a major ingredient in most of the Pakistani dishes. The Meat dishes in Pakistan include: bovine, ovine, poultry and seafood dishes. The Meat is usually cut in 3 cm cubes and cooked as stew. The minced Meat is used for Kebab, Qeema and other Meat dishes. Of all the meats and the most popular are goat or mutton, beef and Chicken and is particularly sought after as the Meat of choice for Halal Kebab dishes or the classic beef shank dish nihari. The Meat dishes are also cooked with pulses, legumes and Rice.

Tandoori Chicken, prepared in a clay oven called a tandoor, is probably the best-known Pakistani dish originated in Pakistani Punjab.

The variety is endless, but here are a few examples:

  • Roasted Chicken (whole) - A whole Chicken roasted locally known as 'charga' locally.
  • Aloo Gosht (Potatoes and Meat) - Chunks of potato and goat Meat in gravy. Levels of spice vary. One example of a generic dish that includes most things + Gosht(meat).
  • Nihari- Beef simmered for several hours. A delicacy often eaten with Nan, Sheer Mal, or Taftan. Few people will have this available without spice. Eat with lemon, fried onion and caution: it is one of the spiciest curries. Thick gravy made from local spices is made with both Chicken and beef is oily and spicy. Available mostly everywhere.
  • Paye - or 'Siri Paye' is a stew of goat/beef/mutton bones (typically hooves, skull) and bone marrow. Extremely nutritious and generally eaten for breakfast with naan. Very, very wet salan, often served in a bowl or similar dish. Eat by dipping pieces of naan in it, maybe finishing with a spoon. Can be hard to eat.
  • Korma is a classic dish of Mughlai origin made of either Chicken or mutton, typically eaten with nan or bread and is very popular in Pakistan.

Barbecue and kebabs

Meat and grilled Meat has played an important part in Pakistan region for centuries. Sajji is a Baluchi dish from Western Pakistan, made of lamb with spices, that has also become popular all over the nation. Another Balochi Meat dish involves building a large outdoor fire and slowly cooking chickens. The chickens are placed on skewers which are staked into the ground in close proximity to the fire, so that the radiant heat slowly cooks the prepared chickens. Kebabs are a staple item in Pakistani cuisine today, and one can find countless varieties of Halal Kebab all over the nation. Each region has its own varieties of Halal Kebab but some like the Seekh Kebab, Chicken Tikka, and Shami Halal Kebab are especially popular varieties throughout the nation. Generally, Halal Kebab from Balochistan and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa tend to be identical to the Afghan style of barbecue, with salt and coriander being the only seasoning used. Regional Halal Kebab recipes from Karachi and the wider Sindh region is famous for its spicy Kebab, often marinated in a mixture of spices, lemon juice and yogurt. Barbecued food is also extremely popular in some cities of Punjab such as Lahore, Gujranwala and Sialkot.

Pakistani cuisine is rich with different Kebab. Meat including beef, Chicken, lamb and fish is used in kababs. Some popular Halal Kebab are:

  • Chicken Tikka - Barbequed Chicken with a spicy exterior. Looks like a huge, red Chicken leg and thigh. For all Meat lovers. Is available most anywhere.
  • Seekh Kebab - A long skewer of minced beef mixed with herbs and seasonings.
  • Shami Kebab - A round patty of seasoned beef and lentils, softer than seekh kababs.
  • Chapli Kebab - A spicy round kabab that is a specialty of Peshawar.
  • Chicken Kabab - A popular kabab that is found both with bone and without.
  • Lamb Kabab - The all lamb Meat kabab is usually served as cubes.
  • Bihari Halal Kebab - Skewer of beef mixed with herbs and seasoning.
  • Tikka Halal Kebab - A Halal Kebab made of beef, lamb or Chicken, cut into cubes, marinated with a yogurt blend and grilled on coals.
  • Boti Halal Kebab - A Halal Kebab made from fillet of Meat. Sometimes marinated with green papaya to help tenderize the Meat.
  • Shawarma - It is usually a Halal Kebab or lamb strips in a naan with chutney and salad.
  • Shashlik - Grilled baby lamb chops (usually from the leg), typically marinated

Other dishes include Chargha, Dhaga kabab, Gola Kebab, Reshmi Halal Kebab and Sajji.

Desserts

Popular desserts include Peshawari ice cream, Sheer Khurma, Kulfi, Falooda, Kheer, Rasmalai, Phirni, Zarda, Shahi Tukray and Rabri. Sweetmeats are consumed on various festive occasions in Pakistan. Some of the most popular are gulab jamun, barfi, ras malai, kalakand, jalebi, and panjiri. Pakistani desserts also include a long list of halvah such as multani, sohan halvah, and hubshee halvah.

Kheer made of roasted seviyaan (vermicelli) instead of Rice is popular during Eid ul-Fitr. Gajraila is a sweet made from grated carrots, boiled in milk, sugar, green cardamom, and topped with nuts and dried fruit and is very popular in the nation during winter season.

  • Enjoy a variety; ice cream can be found in an abundance of flavours such as the traditional pistachio flavoured Kulfi;
  • Falooda is tasty rosewater dessert and is a popular summer drink throughout the nation. Traditional ice-cream known as 'kulfi' mixed with vermicelli, pistachio nuts and flavored with rose-water. Most ice-cream shops have their own versions.
  • Shirini or Mithai: is the generic name for a variety of sweet treats in Pakistan. The sweets are extremely popular in Pakistan and called different things depending on where you go. Eat small chunks at a time, eating large pieces can be rude and will generally be too sweet.
  • Kulfi is a very traditional made ice-cream mixed with cream and different types of nuts.
  • If you want to go to some ice-cream parlours and there are some good western ice-cream parlours in Lahore like "Polka Parlor" "Jamin Java" "Hot Spot". For traditional ice creams and the 'Chaman' ice cream parlour across town is quite popular.
  • Halwa is a sweet dessert. Halwa comes in different styles such as made of eggs, carrots, flour or dry fruits. The halwas are made from semolina, ghee and sugar, garnished with dried fruits and nuts. Carrot halwa (called gaajar ka halwa) is also popular, as is halva made from tender bottle gourds and chanay ki daal. Karachi halva is a speciality dessert from Karachi,
  • Firni or Kheer is similar to vanilla custard though prepared in a different style. the Sohan Halwa is also famous in the nation. Equally famous is Habshi halwa, a dark brown milk-based halwa.
  • Gulab jamun — a cheese-based dessert. It is often eaten at festivals or major celebrations such as marriages, on happy occasions and Muslim celebrations of Eid ul-Fitr.

Apart from local restaurants, international fast food chains have also popped up throughout Pakistan. They include, KFC, Pizzas Hut, McDonalds, Subway, Nandos, Mr.Cod, Papa Johns, Dominoes etc. There are more European chains than North American.

Snacks (Pakistani fast food)

Pakistani Snacks comprise food items in Pakistan that are quick to prepare, spicy, usually fried, and eaten in the evening or morning with tea or with any one of the meals as a side-dish. A given snack may be part of a local culture, and its preparation and/or popularity can vary from place to place. These Snacks are often prepared and sold by hawkers on footpaths, bazaars, train stations and other such places, although they may also be served at restaurants. Some typical Snacks are dahi bhala, chaat, chana masala, Bun Kebab, pakora, and papar. Others include katchauri, pakoras-either neem pakoras or besan (chickpea) pakoras,gol gappay, samosas—vegetable or beef, bhail puri or daal seu and egg rolls. Nuts, such as pistachios and pine nuts, are also often eaten at home. These Snacks often smaller than a regular meal, generally eaten between meals.

Other

  • Pakistani Chinese cuisine
  • Chicken Manchurian is the most popular dish with pieces of stir fried Chicken served in a red ketchup based Sauces. It is normally served with Egg or Chicken fried Rice. Basmati is the most common form of Rice used.
  • Chinese soup - Chicken corn soup and hot and sour soup are ubiquitous in restaurants, homes and on TV. these are served with staples such as vinegar (sirka) and chili pepper.
  • Noodles - Chicken chowmein and Chopsuey are popular. Their method of cooking employs hearty use of soy Sauces, ajino moto, vinegar and chilli Sauce with vegetables, boneless Chicken and/or Keema (minced meat). Oil concentrations are higher than normal Chinese noodles.

Pakistani condiments

Popular condiments used in Pakistani cuisine:

  • Chutneys
  • onion chutney
  • tomato chutney
  • cilantro (coriander leaves) chutney
  • mint chutney
  • tamarind chutney (Imli chutney)
  • mango (keri) chutney (made from unripe, green mangos)
  • lime chutney (made from whole, unripe limes)
  • garlic chutney made from fresh garlic, coconut and groundnut
  • Achars (pickle)
  • mango achar
  • lemon achar
  • carrot achar
  • cauliflower achar
  • green chilli achar
  • garlic achar
  • gongura achar
  • Hyderabadi pickle

Raita with cucumber and mint - Raita with cucumber and mint

  • Sauces
  • Raita — a cucumber yogurt dip

Etiquette

Tipping is expected everywhere in Pakistan especially in restaurants and is always a considered a good training in the nation so tip between 5-10% at sit-down places.

In Pakistan eating with your hand (instead of cutlery like forks and spoons) is very common. There's one basic rule of etiquette to observe, particularly in non-urban Pakistan: Use only your right hand. Needless to say, it's wise to wash your hands well before and after eating.

For breads for all types and the basic technique is to hold down the item with your forefinger and use your middle-finger and thumb to tear off pieces. The pieces can then be dipped in Sauce or used to pick up bits before you stuff them in your mouth. Unlike India, a spoon is commonly used in Pakistan for eating Rice dishes.

Tap water can be unsafe for drinking. However, some establishments have water filters/purifiers installed, in which case the water is safe to drink. Packed drinking water, normally called mineral water in Pakistan, is a better choice. As for bottled water, make sure that the cap's seal has not been broken, otherwise, it is a tell tale sign of tampering or that unscrupulous vendors reuse old bottles and fill them with tap water, which is generally unsafe for foreign tourists to drink without prior boiling. Bottled water brands like Aquafina (by PepsiCo) and Nestle are widely available and costs Rs 80 for a 1.5 litre bottle. At semi-urban or rural areas, it may be advisable to ask for boiled water.

The taste of the water is said to be very good in the north-eastern side of Pakistan, especially in Swat, Kaghan and Gilgit. Ask for bottled water wherever feasible, and avoid anything cold that might have water in it.

Try a local limca cola, which makes a "pop" sound when opened. Pakola, Pakistan's premier soft drink brand, is available in flavours of Ice cream soda, Lychee, Orange, Raspberry, Apple Sidra, Vino, Double cola and Bubble up. Try Lassi, which is a classic y- Yoghurt drink served either plain or sweet and sometimes flavoured or even fused with fresh fruit. Rooh-Afza, a red-coloured, sweet, herbal drink. Sugar Cane Juice — which is extracted by mechanical force — is best when served fresh. You might also love the Falouda and Gola Ganda, which include various kinds of syrups in crushed ice.

  • Tea (or Chai as it is referred to in Pakistan) is popular throughout the nation.
  • Both black and green tea (Sabz chai or qahvah) are common and are traditionally drunk with cardamom and lots of sugar. Lemon is optional but recommended with green tea.
  • Kashmiri chai (Pink Tea), a traditional tea beverage from Kashmir, is a milky tea with pistachios, almonds and nuts added to give additional flavour. This tea is very popular during weddings, special occasions and in the cold season.
  • Coffee is also available in all cities.

In the warmer southern region, sweet drinks are readily available throughout the day. Look for street vendors that have fruits (real or decorations) hanging from their roofs. Also, some milk/yogurt shops serve lassi. Ask for meethi lassi for a sweet yogurt drink and you can also get a salty lassi which tastes good and is similar to the Arabic Laban if you are having "bhindi" in food or some other rich dish. There is also a sweet drink called Mango Lassi which is very rich and thick, made with yogurt, mango pulp, and pieces of mango.

Tea varieties

Kashmiri Chai

Pakistanis drink a great deal of tea, which is locally called "chai in most Pakistani languages" and everywhere you can get tea from one variety or another. Both black with milk and green teas are popular and are popular in different parts of Pakistan. It is one of the most consumed beverages in Pakistani cuisine. Different regions throughout the nation have their own different flavours and varieties, giving Pakistani tea culture a diverse blend.

  • In Karachi and the strong presence of Muhajir cuisine has allowed the Masala chai version to be very popular.
  • Doodh Pati Chai is thick and milky. It is made by cooking tea leaves with milk and sugar and sometimes cardamom for fragrance. Extremely sweet, this is a local variation of a builder's tea. It is more preferred in Punjab.
  • "Sabz chai" and "kahwah", respectively. Kahwah is often served after every meal in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Pashtun belt of Balochistan and with saffron and nuts in Kashmir.
  • Sulaimani chai is black tea served with lemon.
  • Kashmiri chai or "noon chai", a pink, milky tea with pistachios and cardamom, is consumed primarily at special occasions, weddings, and during the winter when it is sold in many kiosks.
  • In northern Pakistan (Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan), salty buttered Tibetan style tea is consumed.

Biscuits are often enjoyed with tea.

Beverages

Besides tea and there are other drinks that may be included as part of the Pakistani cuisine. All of them are non-alcoholic as the consumption of alcohol is not allowed by Islam. During the 20th century, drinks such as coffee and soft drinks have also become popular in Pakistan. It is very common to have soft drinks nowadays with Pakistani meals. istani meals.

  • Lassi - Milk with Yoghurt, with an either sweet or salty taste. Lassi is a traditional drink in the Punjab region
  • Gola ganda - Different types of flavours over crushed ice
  • Sugarcane juice (Ganney ka ras) — In summer, you can get fresh sugarcane juice in many places and even a lot of fresh fruit juice varieties. Be careful as fresh juice may contain many germs besides unhygienic ice. The juice vendors do not always clean their equipment properly and do not wash the fruits either.
  • Lemonade (Nimbu pani)
  • Sherbet (A syrup mixed in water)
  • Sikanjabeen - Lemonade (Mint is also added)
  • Almond sherbet
  • Sherbet-e-Sandal - Drink made with the essence of sandal wood
  • Kashmiri chai/Gulabi chai - a milky tea known for its pink colour, with an either sweet or salty taste
  • Sathu - Famous drink from Punjab
  • Thaadal - A sweet drink from Sindh
  • Sardai - Mixture of different nuts and kishmish.
  • Sattu - famous drink in Lahore

eHalal Group Launches Halal Guide to Pakistan

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Pakistan - eHalal Travel Group, a leading provider of innovative Halal travel solutions for Muslim travelers to Pakistan, is thrilled to announce the official launch of its comprehensive Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide for Pakistan. This groundbreaking initiative aims to cater to the diverse needs of Muslim travelers, offering them a seamless and enriching travel experience in Pakistan and its surrounding regions.

With the steady growth of Muslim tourism worldwide, eHalal Travel Group recognizes the importance of providing Muslim travelers with accessible, accurate, and up-to-date information to support their travel aspirations to Pakistan. The Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide is designed to be a one-stop resource, offering an array of invaluable information on various travel aspects, all carefully curated to align with Islamic principles and values.

The Travel Guide encompasses a wide range of features that will undoubtedly enhance the travel experience for Muslim visitors to Pakistan. Key components include:

Halal-Friendly Accommodations in Pakistan: A carefully selected list of hotels, lodges, and vacation rentals that cater to halal requirements, ensuring a comfortable and welcoming stay for Muslim travelers in Pakistan.

Halal Food, Restaurants and Dining in Pakistan: A comprehensive directory of restaurants, eateries, and food outlets offering halal-certified or halal-friendly options in Pakistan, allowing Muslim travelers to savor local cuisines without compromising their dietary preferences in Pakistan.

Prayer Facilities: Information on masjids, prayer rooms, and suitable locations for daily prayers in Pakistan, ensuring ease and convenience for Muslim visitors in fulfilling their religious obligations.

Local Attractions: An engaging compilation of Muslim-friendly attractions, cultural sites such as Museums, and points of interest in Pakistan, enabling travelers to explore the city's rich heritage while adhering to their values.

Transport and Logistics: Practical guidance on transportation options that accommodate Muslim travel needs, ensuring seamless movement within Pakistan and beyond.

Speaking about the launch, Irwan Shah, Chief Technology Officer of eHalal Travel Group in Pakistan, stated, "We are thrilled to introduce our Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide in Pakistan, a Muslim friendly destination known for its cultural richness and historical significance. Our goal is to empower Muslim travelers with accurate information and resources, enabling them to experience the wonders of Pakistan without any concerns about their faith-based requirements. This initiative reaffirms our commitment to creating inclusive and memorable travel experiences for all our clients."

The eHalal Travel Group's Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide for Pakistan is now accessible on this page. The guide will be regularly updated to ensure that Muslim travelers have access to the latest information, thus reinforcing its status as a reliable companion for Muslim travelers exploring Pakistan.

About eHalal Travel Group:

eHalal Travel Group Pakistan is a prominent name in the global Muslim travel industry, dedicated to providing innovative and all-inclusive travel solutions tailored to the needs of Muslim travelers worldwide. With a commitment to excellence and inclusivity, eHalal Travel Group aims to foster a seamless travel experience for its clients while respecting their religious and cultural values.

For Halal business inquiries in Pakistan, please contact:

eHalal Travel Group Pakistan Media: info@ehalal.io

Buy Muslim Friendly condos, Houses and Villas in Pakistan

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eHalal Group Pakistan is a prominent real estate company specializing in providing Muslim-friendly properties in Pakistan. Our mission is to cater to the specific needs and preferences of the Muslim community by offering a wide range of halal-certified residential and commercial properties, including houses, condos, and factories. With our commitment to excellence, client satisfaction, and adherence to Islamic principles, eHalal Group has established itself as a trusted name in the real estate industry in Pakistan.

At eHalal Group, we understand the importance of meeting the unique requirements of Muslim individuals and families seeking properties that align with their cultural and religious trainings. Our extensive portfolio of Muslim-friendly properties in Pakistan ensures that clients have access to a diverse selection of options tailored to their needs. Whether it's a luxurious villa, a modern condominium, or a fully equipped factory, our team is dedicated to assisting clients in finding their ideal property.

For those seeking a comfortable and modern living space, our condos are an excellent choice. Starting at US$ 350,000 and these condominium units offer contemporary designs, state-of-the-art facilities, and convenient locations within Pakistan. Each condo is thoughtfully designed to incorporate halal-friendly features and amenities, ensuring a seamless integration of Islamic values into everyday living.

If you are looking for a more spacious option, our houses are perfect for you. Starting at US$ 650,000, our houses provide ample living space, privacy, and a range of customizable features to meet your specific requirements. These houses are located in well-established neighborhoods in Pakistan, offering a harmonious balance between modern living and Islamic values.

For those seeking luxury and exclusivity, our luxury villas in Pakistan are the epitome of sophistication and elegance. Starting at US$ 1.5 million and these villas offer a lavish lifestyle with private amenities, breathtaking views, and meticulous attention to detail. Each luxury villa is meticulously designed to provide a serene and halal environment, allowing you to enjoy the finest living experience while adhering to your Islamic principles. For further details please email us at realestate@ehalal.io

Muslim Friendly hotels in Pakistan

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Pakistan, as a middle income country with a sizeable middle class and a [https://ehalal.io/ehalal-hotels/Pakistan.html significant domestic tourism industry, has a decent range of hotels covering all price ranges.

  • Budget The cheapest hotels are usually found around busy transport hubs like bus and train stations.
  • Mid range covers a wide spectrum of hotels - often listed in your guide book or on-line. All mid-range places will have a/c and hot water.

Government rest houses are mentioned in numerous guide books and are located in rural and mountainous areas for local civil servants to use on their travels, with many built pre-independence and exuding a quaint English charm.

Stay safe as a Muslim in Pakistan

In an emergency, call the police by 15 from any landline phone. To get an ambulance, dial 115 and 1122 from any landline or mobile phone.

Sensitive areas

The Federally Administered Tribal Areas and all regions near the sensitive Afghan border should not be visited at any time by foreign tourists, as the Pakistan government has little to no authority in these areas and cannot aid you in an emergency. If you do have reason to visit, seek expert guidance, including that of your embassy, who can advise you on the special permissions required.

Medical Issues in Pakistan

Visitors are strongly advised to refrain from drinking tap water; many Pakistani local residents themselves drink boiled or purified water. Take every precaution to drink only boiled, filtered or bottled water. Tap water is known to contain many impurities. Ice is usually made from regular tap-water, and may be even harder to avoid. Fresh milk from the carrier should be boiled and cooled before consumption. Non-pasteurized dairy can spread tuberculosis. Be careful of the people with a hacking cough. Nestle Milk Pack, Haleeb Milk, Olpers, and others are trusted brands and are available at most grocery stores.

Take precautions against both dengue fever and malaria, which are both spread by mosquitoes. The first and most effective way is to avoid getting bitten, but if you plan to stay in a place where malaria is common, you will need to take prophylactic medicines such as Proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine. The risk of getting malaria decreases with higher altitudes and is usually negligible above 2500m.
No prophylaxis or cure is available for dengue fever. It is prevalent during summer, especially during the monsoon (July to September) and can be fatal. It is caused by mosquitoes that bite during the day and the most widespread outbreaks of dengue are expected in Punjab province.

In the summer it gets very hot. Be careful to stay hydrated. Temperature range between 40°C to 50°C in June and July! But, as soon as monsoon rains set in during August - Sept months, it cools to around 30°C - but with high levels of humidity.

Etiquette

In dealing with Pakistani people and the following tips relating to customs and etiquette may prove useful:

  • When entering a house, you will often be showered with tea, sweets and gifts — it's considered ungrateful to refuse these. Finishing a meal involves a delicate balance. Cleaning your plate will invite more to be served, while leaving too much may be a sign you didn't care for it. Aim for leaving just a little, announcing you're full, and heavily praising the food. When you're being invited to a home for the first time, bring a food gift such as a cake or a sweet box, it is considered very generous and will be very appreciated.
  • Business tends to move slowly, and will often be preceded by a lot of socializing, tea drinking, and meeting of the family. Rushing to the point may be considered rude, and even sour the deal.
  • Pakistanis will consider themselves obliged to go out of their way to fulfill a guest's request and will insist very strongly that it is no inconvenience to do so, even if this is not true. This of course means that there is a reciprocal obligation on you as a guest to take extra care not to be a burden. It is customary to put up a token friendly argument with your host or any other member of the group when paying bills at restaurants or while making purchases. The etiquette for this is somewhat complicated.
In a business lunch or dinner, it is usually clear upfront who is supposed to pay, and there is no need to fight. But if you are someone's personal guest and they take you out to a restaurant, you should offer to pay anyway, and you should insist a lot. Sometimes these fights get a little funny, with each side trying to snatch the bill away from the other, all the time laughing politely. If you don't have experience in these things, chances are you will lose the argument the first time, but in that case, make sure that you pay the next time. (And try to make sure that there is a next time.) Unless the bill amount is very large do not offer to share it, and only as a second resort after they have refused to let you pay it all.
The same rule applies when you are making a purchase. If you are purchasing something for yourself, your hosts might still offer to pay for it if the amount is not very high, and sometimes, even if it is. In this situation, unless the amount is very low, you should never lose the fight. (If the amount is in fact ridiculously low, say less than ₹10 and then don't insult your hosts by putting up a fight.) Even if by chance you lose the fight to pay the shopkeeper, it is customary to practically thrust (in a nice way, of course) the money into your host's hands.

Telecommunications in Pakistan

The country code for Pakistan is +92 if you are calling from outside the nation. Phone numbers are seven digits long with two digit city code in larger neighborhoods, and six digits long with three digit city code in smaller neighborhoods, for a total of nine digits as a standard nationwide (except for Azad Kashmir). All mobile numbers, however, are seven digits long and begin with a four digit network code "03XX", where XX indicates the cellular provider. Thus Pakistani mobile numbers are linked to one particular cellular provider, NOT one particular city as in North America. Therefore the city prefix should not be dialled in addition to the cellular prefix. As in many countries, omit the initial zero when dialling a city or cell code from outside Pakistan and prefix the '92' country code after dialling your country's international access code. Thus Telenor cell number 765 4321 dialled from the USA/Canada would be 011 92 345 765 4321 and Peshawar landline 234-5678 dialled from France or the UK would be 00 92 91 234-5678.

The international access code for outgoing calls from Pakistan is 00 or +.

PTCL offers landline and wireless phone services.

Mobile Networks

Calling from Price Syntax Example
Same city Local number 123-4567
Different city STD 0-area code-number 051 123-4567
Overseas ISD +92-area code-number +92 51 123-4567

Major providers of mobile phone service (GSM) are:

  • Jazz
  • Telenor
  • Ufone
  • Warid
  • Zong - China Mobile

One very convenient feature is that all Pakistani cellular operators use the GSM platform, so that cellular handsets nationwide are freely interchangeable between providers.

Cell phones were considered as a status symbol a few years ago but, since 2002 and the telecommunications industry has experienced a bit of a boom. These days you can hardly find a single person in the nation without a personal cell phone. There are various service providers offering a huge variety of plans. Among them are Jazz, Warid Telecom, Telenor (Norway), Ufone & Zong (China Mobile). It's not a bad idea to buy a cell phone and use a prepaid plan to get yourself connected while you are in the nation. The mobile phones and the prepaid plans are very cheap; you can usually get a new affordable cell phone just for Rs 2,000 and a prepaid connection for Rs 150-400.

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