Facts

  • Population: 212 million
    • It is the sixth-most populous country with a population.
  • Major languages: English, Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto, Balochi
  • Major religion: Islam
    • Islam is the state religion and more than 95% of the population are Muslims.
      • Within the Islam there is a divide between Sunni (>80%) and Shia (<20%) muslims.
      • Christianity, Hinduism, Kalash and other religions are a minority.
    • Pakistan is an Islamic state and you should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions and dress conservatively; men and women should cover their shoulders and legs when in public. Women should cover their heads when entering mosques or other holy places, and when travelling in more rural areas.
    • During Ramadan, Muslims are not permitted to eat, drink, or smoke during daylight hours. Avoid offending your hosts by respecting these same rules and customs.
    • Homosexuality is illegal in Pakistan.
    • It is illegal to import alcohol and pork products into Pakistan.
  • Life expectancy: 66 years (men), 68 years (women)
  • Currency: Pakistani Rupee (PKR)

Geography

  • Area: 796,095 sq km (307,374 sq miles), excluding Kashmir
  • Bordered byย Indiaย to the east,ย Afghanistanย to the west,ย Iranย to the southwest, Chinaย in the far northeast, andย the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman in the south.
  • Four of the great mountain ranges of the world meet in the North of Pakistan.

Notes

  • Pakistan has cool, dry winters and hot summers. In the Northern areas, the winters are harsh and snowy. In the summer it can get chilly when at altitude, especially at night.
    • The monsoon season hits the South of Pakistan as far north as Peshawar and Islamabad.
  • Pakistan is sometimes cited as one of the favourite Asian destinations for overlanders and adventurers.
  • A country full of contradictions, where simmering tensions coexist with remarkable friendliness and hospitality, set against a backdrop of desert forts, sultans and djinns. An eclectic collection of people and cultures.
  • The country has an enduring reputation for corruption.
  • Local food in major cities has a lot of variety and can be spicy.
    • Food in the northern region can be basic and the lack of variety.
  • In Islamabad, Lahore, and Peshawar there are cash machines that take credit cards and debit cards.
  • Pakistan suffers from a chronic shortage of power. Cities implement โ€œload sheddingโ€ systems in which different parts of cities or districts receive electricity for certain hours each day. Someย northern areas have reliable power from small micro-hydro power facilities.
  • Pakistan does not recognize the Republic of Armenia due to the dispute over Artsakh. (Source)

Health

  • If staying longer than 4 weeks, a Polio vaccination within one year before travel to Pakistan may be required to exit Pakistan.
  • Travel Health UK

Tourism

  • Canadians must be in possession of a visa to visit Pakistan. (Source โ€“ 2019)
  • !! The status or nature of the visa cannot be changed while in Pakistan.
  • Apply via e-Visa

Overlanding

  • Exercise extreme caution while driving in Pakistan, especially at night.
  • Local driving standards are erratic, and road conditions are poor.
  • There is a high risk of armed car-jacking.ย When driving, ensure all car doors are locked
  • Avoid travelling at night, particularly inter-city.
  • Take particular care on long road journeys and when travelling cross-country.
  • Avoid travelling alone. Travel in groups when possible.
  • Vary your routes and departure times โ€“ avoid patterns.

Resources

  • Lonely Planet states:ย Pakistan is the difficult child of South Asia โ€“ blessed with abundant natural and historical riches, but plagued by political instability, which has kept the country off the radar for all but the most hardened explorers.

Safety & Security

  • Parts of Pakistan are considered some of the world’s most dangerous destinations for travellers. (2019)
  • The northern regions of Chitral, Gilgit, Hunza, and Baltistan do not generally have any of the problems with insurgency that has troubled much of the country.
  • Due to ongoing security problems and the risk of political violence, foreign visitors may be required to travel with an armed escort in some areas.
  • Crime levels in Pakistan are high, especially in Karachi, much of Baluchistan, rural Sindh, and the North West Frontier Province, including the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas and Agencies
  • Criminal violence, including armed car-jacking, robbery, kidnapping, and murder, is more common in Pakistan, especially in Karachi.

Advisories

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