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Preface Last Updated: 12/31/1999 6:00 PM

For 3,000 years, the trade routes that cross the Indus Valley linking the Middle East, India, and the Orient have attracted countless invaders and settlers from as far away as Greece and Mongolia. In one way or another, they all have contributed to the rich cultural diversity of the country that for five decades has been known as Pakistan. In 1947, millions of Muslims from India made their way to a new homeland. Since then, the heritage of Islam has been the cohesive factor enabling this ethnographic amalgam to survive and grow. Pakistan’s fascinating culture is complemented by a spectacular and variegated landscape stretching from the second highest peak in the world to the shores of the Arabian Sea. The spectacular mountainous areas are a result of the collision of the Indian subcontinent with Asia. Indeed, a tour in Pakistan can be the highlight of a Foreign Service career.

The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 12/31/1999 6:00 PM

Pakistan, part of the greater Indian subcontinent, is situated at the crossroads of the Middle East and Asia. The country covers an area about the size of the states of Washington, Oregon, and California combined. It is bordered by Iran and Afghanistan on the west; China on the north; the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir on the northeast; India on the east; and the Arabian Sea on the south. Pakistan lies between latitudes 24 and 37 degrees north (e.g., from the southern tip of Florida to the southern border of Virginia).

The major political divisions of the country are the Provinces of Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, Northwest Frontier, and the federally administered Northern Areas, Tribal Areas, and Azad Kashmir. The provinces roughly correspond with the country’s major geographic, ethnic, and linguistic regions.

There are five distinct geographic regions:

The Thar Desert and Lower Indus Valley, located in the southernmost province of Sindh, consists largely of arid valleys and rocky hills that extend into neighboring India. Farming is successful only in the irrigated areas nearest to the Indus River.

The Balochistan Plateau is a broad, arid tableland that lies between 1,000 and 3,000 feet above sea level in the western province of Balochistan. The plateau is encircled by rugged mountains and covers nearly one-half of the country’s territory.

The Indus Basin features the largest contiguous irrigation system in the world. “Punjab,” the name of the province in which much of the basin is located, means “five waters” in Persian, referring to the five major rivers (Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, and Sutlej) in the basin. The province of Punjab comprises the northeastern quarter of Pakistan.

The Northwest Frontier is a region of barren mountains sheltering rich irrigated valleys. The provincial capital of Peshawar is situated on an ancient trade route that leads through the Khyber Pass and into Afghanistan.

The Far North offers Pakistan’s most spectacular scenery with towering snowcapped mountains, deep narrow valleys, and glaciers. The world’s second highest mountain, K–2, is located in the Far North, as are a dozen other peaks of more than 25,000 feet elevation, including Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrun, and Rakaposhi.

Seasonal temperatures vary widely in these five regions. With the exception of the Far North, summers are hot throughout the country with temperatures ranging from 90°F to 120°F and little nighttime relief. Trade winds provide some relief during the hot and humid summers in Karachi and a brief cool season comes between December and February. In Lahore, Islamabad, and Peshawar, a distinct winter season brings daytime temperatures of 60°F or less and cold nights. Islamabad and Peshawar may have light frosts. Spring and fall are delightful seasons in these three cities. Altitude governs climate in the Far North, with pleasant summers in the lower regions and perpetual snow in the higher mountains.

The average annual rainfall varies from 6 inches in Karachi, 15 inches in Peshawar, and 18 inches in Lahore, to about 30 inches in Islamabad. Most rain falls during the summer monsoon from July to September, although parts of the Punjab and the Northwest Frontier experience a moderate winter rainy season as well.

Population Last Updated: 8/31/2004 0:37 AM

Pakistan is a relatively poor country with a rapidly growing population. Annual per capita income is approximately $470. 35% of the population is below the poverty line. The population is currently estimated at 159,196,336 (July 2004 est.), making Pakistan the seventh most populous country in the world. Conservatively estimated to be growing at an annual rate of 1.98 percent (2004 est.), one of the highest rates in the world, Pakistan's population could double in 27 years. One of Pakistan's major problems is illiteracy; only 45.7% of the adult population is literate with the rate being significantly lower for women than men. About 44% of Pakistan's labor force is engaged in agriculture, 17% works in industry and 39% in services (1999 est.). Pakistani society traditionally assigns a subordinate role to women with the result that 65% of boys ages 6 to 11 and only 33% of girls attend primary school. Women are reported to be only 13.1% of the labor force, but this does not include the large number of women engaged in agricultural and household work. The unemployment rate is approximately 7.7%(2003 est.) Substantial disparities exist in living conditions between urban areas and the countryside where over two-thirds of Pakistan's people live. Pakistan's population is unevenly distributed throughout the country. More than 1.5 million Afghan refugees have sought refuge in its borders while employment abroad has taken 2 million Pakistanis away. Population density in parts of Sindh and Punjab is well above the average distribution of 381 persons per square mile. The barren uplands of Balochistan area the least inhabited areas of the country. Internal migration, particularly from rural to urban areas, has begun to alter the ethnic and linguistic character of each of the Provinces, but it is still generally true that Sindh is the home of the Sindhis who speak Sindhi; Balochistan is the traditional home of the Balochi-speaking Baloch; Punjabi is the language of the Punjab, home of Pakistan's largest and most influential ethnic group; and the Northwest Frontier is the tribal homeland of the Pushtu-speaking Pathan. The most notable exception to this pattern is seen in the urban areas of Sindh. Immediately after independence, a significant number of Muslim "muhajirs" or refugees of various ethnic backgrounds poured into these areas from India. More recently, internal migration has brought many job-seeking Pathans to Karachi. In addition, the movement of large numbers of Pathans and some Punjabi farmers into Balochistan over the past decades has made the Baloch a minority in their own province. A few smaller ethnic groups, such as the Gilgitis, Kashmiris, and the people of Hunza, inhabit the remote valleys of the Far North. Urdu is the official language of Pakistan. Although it is the first language, only 8% of the total population and 25% of the urban population speak Urdu. Educated Pakistanis are usually conversant in Urdu. The status of English has declined somewhat as a result of "Urduization" efforts by the government, but it is still used extensively in business and government. Although geographically, ethnically, linguistically, and socially Pakistan is the picture of diversity, its religious homogeneity is an important unifying factor. Members of the Sunni sect, 77%, constitute the largest number of the Muslims in Pakistan: Shia Muslims 20% and others 3%. Several hundred thousand Israelis live in Karachi and the northern areas. Religious minorities include Christians (1.6 million, 80% of whom live in Punjab), Hindus (1.6 million, 80% of whom live in Sindh), and Parsis (7,000, most of whom live in Karachi).

Public Institutions Last Updated: 8/31/2004 1:05 AM

The land that is now Pakistan is the site of one of the world's oldest civilizations. As a western gateway to the Indian subcontinent, this area has seen successive waves of people move down through the passes from central Asia and the Iranian Plateau, bringing new ethnic strains and a wide variety of cultural contributions. Over the past 3,000 years, it has been ruled or invaded by Aryans, Persians, Greeks, Kushans, Mongols, Afghans, Turks, Moghuls, Sikhs, British and others. Pakistan came into being in August 1947 as a result of the Muslim League's determination, once the British rulers departed, to have its own state in the Indian subcontinent, separate from the Hindu majority. The partitioning of British India led to the migration on a massive scale of Muslims to Pakistan and Hindus to India. In the process, hundreds of thousands died and the legacy of partition remains a source of bitterness between India and Pakistan to this day. In 1947, Pakistan faced a unique and ultimately unsolvable problem of ethnic and geographic division. The new nation was divided into two parts more than 1,000 miles from each other and on opposite sides of the Indian subcontinent. Slightly less than half the people inhabited West Pakistan (present-day Pakistan) and the rest occupied East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in the humid delta region of the lower Ganges in East Bengal. The two halves of the country differed greatly in language, customs, and daily life and were held together only by a common religion and mutual distrust of the Hindu majority in India. In its early years, Pakistan faced frequent political crises. The death in 1948 of its founder and first Governor General, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, and the 1951 assassination of Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan deprived the country of two of its most able leaders. From 1951 to 1958, a succession of unstable governments did little to improve internal conditions. In 1958, the Army Commander-in-Chief, General Mohammed Ayub Khan, overthrew the civilian government and seized power as president. Ayub governed Pakistan for 10 years, first under martial law, and after 1962 under a constitution that provided strong executive powers and limited representative government. Ayub relinquished the presidency in early 1969 to Commander-in-Chief General Mohammed Yahya Khan, who dismissed the government, abrogated the constitution and ruled under martial law. In December 1970, however, he permitted Pakistan's first free nationwide elections to select members for both the National Assembly and provincial legislatures. The election results profoundly affected the future of Pakistan. In the West, the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto gained a majority. In the East, The Awami League of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman scored an overwhelming victory, one so great that the party gained a majority of all seats in both East Pakistan and in the National Assembly. A period of intense political maneuvering followed, with the main issue being the degree of autonomy to be accorded East Pakistan. This period ended abruptly in March 1971, when the Army arrested Mujibur Rahman in Dhaka and attempted to suppress his followers. Resulting disorders in East Pakistan grew into a widespread insurrection, during which 10 million refugees fled into neighboring India. Growing tension between Pakistan and India over developments in East Pakistan led to the outbreak of war in December 1971. India invaded East Pakistan and after a short campaign, West Pakistan's forces in the East surrendered. Then the former East Pakistan became the independent nation of Bangladesh. From 1971 to 1977, Bhutto was in power, first as president, and then, following the construction of a new constitution in 1973, as prime minister in a parliamentary system. Following national elections in early 1977, a major confrontation emerged between Bhutto's PPP government and a multi-party coalition called the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA). Subsequently, Prime Minister Bhutto was removed in a bloodless coup led by Chief of Army Staff, General Zia-ul-Haq. Bhutto was eventually convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and hanged. From 1977 to 1985, Pakistan remained under martial law with Zia serving both as President and as Chief Martial Law Administrator. Finally, in response to domestic and international pressures, Zia allowed a return to democracy. Non-party elections to the National and Provincial Assemblies were held in 1985. The new government, led by Prime Minister Mohammed Khan Junejo, enjoyed the support of legislators associated with the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) who provided Junejo comfortable majorities in the National and Provincial Assemblies. Groups of independents and opposition forces were also formed. Local elections were held in 1987 under civilian government auspices. In August 1988, growing tensions between President Zia and PM Junejo led Zia to dismiss Junejo's government and call for new non-party elections. Zia's death in a plane crash, along with U.S. Ambassador Arnold Raphel later that month, however, altered the political environment. Senate Chairman Ghulam Ishaq Khan assumed the presidency and guided the nation through the elections in November of that year. The Pakistan People's Party led by Z.A. Bhutto's daughter, Benazir Bhutto, assumed power in December 1988, won the election. Although the largest party in Parliament, the PPP lacked a majority. Bhutto's administration struggled for most of its tenure and on August 6, 1990, the President, acting under the constitution, removed the Bhutto government. A caretaker regime held national and provincial elections in October 1990, which brought a coalition to power under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif, who became Prime Minister in November 1990. President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismissed Sharif's government in April 1993, but the Supreme Court later restored it. The resulting constitutional crisis was resolved by the resignation of both the Prime Minister and the President. In elections held in October 1993, the PPP-led coalition won and Benazir Bhutto became Prime Minister again. In November 1996, President Farooq Leghari dismissed Bhutto's government on the grounds of corruption and abuse of power. In the February 1997 elections, the PML won a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly and Nawaz Sharif once again became Prime Minister. However, the 1999 coup of General Pervez Musharraf has brought the President's role back to that of executive, and Musharraf currently holds that position.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 8/31/2004 1:15 AM

An Islamic presence in the subcontinent introduced new outside elements of creativity. The period of Moghul rule, particularly, was marked by great achievements in architecture, examples of which are still world famous. In Lahore, the palace-fortress called the Red Fort, begun at the time of Emperor Akbar, and the Badshahi Mosque (one of the largest in the world), erected during the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb, are fine examples of Moghul buildings. Also at Lahore is Shalimar, the Garden of Bliss, a good example of a formal Moghul garden. Because Islam prohibits pictorial likeness of the human form in art, representational art did not develop substantially among the Muslims in the subcontinent until the mid-20th century, when declining Moghul influence and increasing Western contact resulted in less restrictive art forms. Abstract paintings and designs more in keeping with Muslim sensitivities have always been prevalent and are still popular today. Recently, Pakistani artists, usually the young, have begun experimentation in many different media. As a result, art shows in most of the larger cities are becoming more common, and a new interest, especially in painting, is increasing. Most notable artistic expression is found in Pakistani handicrafts. The feeling for form, design, and color is best displayed in pottery, carpets, hand-woven textiles, articles made of marble, inlaid woodwork, and brass, copper, and silverware. Strong literary traditions exist in Urdu as well as in the regional languages (Sindhi, Punjabi, and Pushtu). The largest shares of popular academic and standard literary publications are in Urdu, the national language. Technical subjects and more advanced writings in the social sciences are in English. A wide variety of music, ranging from folk to classical to Western popular styles, is enjoyed throughout Pakistan. Pakistani folk music, particularly melodies and rhythms of mountain tribes and rural areas, is most appealing to Westerners. Country-Western, jazz and rock, although not encouraged, are also gaining popularity, especially among young people. The Government of Pakistan patronizes and encourages artistic expression, intellectual pursuits, and Islamic culture through radio, television, universities, art councils, art galleries, and academic and professional associations (Pakistan Historical Society, Pakistan Philosophical Congress, Association for the Advancement of Science, Pakistan Writers' Guild, etc.). The government-sponsored National Council of the Arts aims at coordinating all cultural, artistic, literary, and intellectual activities in the country. The government of Pakistan works continuously to improve the quality of the country's educational system, but reform efforts are hampered by lack of financial resources and qualified personnel, outdated instructional materials and techniques, and a reluctance among some elements of Pakistani society to participate fully in the education of the nation's youth. In general, the provincial governments control education with strong inputs from the Federal government. The Federal and Provincial governments are working together to combat illiteracy, which is one of the most serious obstacles to economic and social development. According to comprehensive 2003 figures, the most recent available, the overall literacy rate was 45.7% (male 59.8% and female 30.6%). In 1998 was estimated that by 2000, the overall literacy rate would have improved to 43.6% (male 56.2% and female 29.8%). Education planners consider this improvement insufficient and are developing new programs to reduce illiteracy. These include model programs in each province and in the Capital district, and another program, called "User of Koranic Literacy for Promotion of Female Literacy," which takes advantage of the ability of many women to read the Koran in Arabic as a tool to learn to read Urdu. Urdu is the national language and is emphasized in the official curriculum, although regional languages are used in primary school classrooms in some areas. Government authorities have stressed that English should receive prominence as a second language. English is taught at the upper levels and in private schools, and excellent knowledge of English is required for the top levels of government service and the study of science and medicine. Students also study Arabic and regional languages such as Sindhi, Punjabi, Pushtu, and Baloch. The government is accelerating the universalization of primary education and is encouraging private sector involvement in the educational system. Improvements are also underway in technical and vocational education. In the fields of secondary and higher secondary, greater emphasis has been placed on scientific and technical education. Although expansion is under way at all levels, the educational system is not able to cope with rapid population growth. Globalization of free primary education is being accelerated, and the private sector's participation in educational development is encouraged. Pakistanis who can afford the cost of private schools choose to send their children to these institutions, rather than public schools. In some areas, private institutions are setting a standard of high quality, which the public schools have yet to attain. The Government is attempting to make improvements in technical and vocational training facilities. In secondary and higher secondary education, greater emphasis is being placed on science and technical education, and many schools are introducing computers into their instructional programs. There are 24 universities in Pakistan. Some of the more prominent private universities are the Agha Khan Medical University and Hamdard University in Karachi, and the Lahore University of Management Sciences. The prestigious Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad conducts all its programs at the graduate level. The Allam Iqbal Open University, also in Islamabad, offers courses through radio, television, and correspondence. Universities are monitored and financed by the University Grants Commission. Several universities follow the American semester system. Tuition at the public universities is negligible and meets virtually none of the cost of higher education. The private universities, on the other hand, charge high fees, but also offer financial assistance to deserving students.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 8/31/2004 1:19 AM

Pakistan's per capita income of U.S. $470 is the highest in the subcontinent, but it is still a poor country by world standards; 37% below poverty level. The relative prosperity of the industrialized regions around Karachi and Lahore contrast sharply with the poverty of semi-arid Balochistan and the mountainous Northwest Frontier Province. The economy relies heavily on the agricultural sector, which contributes about 44% of the GDP. Agriculture employs over half of the work force, and provides, directly or indirectly, over half of the export receipts. Cultivation of the rich alluvial soil of the Indus River Basin has always been the chief economic activity of the country. The major crops are wheat, cotton, rice, and sugarcane. However, despite developments in agriculture Pakistan still must import many major food items including wheat, consumable oil, and sugar. Service constitutes 39% of the gross domestic product (GDP), but does not include women workers such as servants. Growth in the industrial sector, which accounts for about 17% of the GDP, has declined in recent years largely due to inconsistent economic policies of successive governments. However, significant progress has been made in diversification of manufacturing. Major industries include cotton textiles, fertilizer, cement, food processing, vegetable ghee, sugar, and steel. Although significant quantities of natural gas are present in Pakistan, and several major dams on the Indus River system provide a good deal of hydroelectric generating capacity, the country continues to rely on massive levels of imported oil to meet its energy requirements. In recent years, periodic power blackouts known as "load shedding" have been considerably reduced by sizable foreign investment under the Government's Private Power Policy. Pakistan's balance-of-payments position remains weak. In recent years the dollar value of exports has increased at U.S. $11.7 billion level (2003 est.). Substantial inflows from abroad, not only in the form of remittances from Pakistanis working in the Persian Gulf and in Europe, but also foreign assistance, have contributed to easing the imbalance. Chief exports include rice, leather goods, carpets, and cotton yarn and textiles. Major imports are petroleum, machinery, consumable oil, wheat, iron, and steel. Pakistan's principal trading partner is the U.S., 24.5% of exports.


Automobiles Last Updated: 8/31/2004 2:07 AM

Employees find a privately owned vehicle (POV) very useful in Pakistan. The motor pool will provide shuttle transportation for employees for a fee or until you're private vehicle arrives. This service is contingent upon available cars and drivers. You will need to make arrangements a day in advance. Employees are not authorized to ship POVs to Karachi at this time. Most people import their own personal cars. Shipment of a vehicle from the U.S. to Pakistan takes a minimum of 3 months. Bring your U.S. registration and car title to register your car on arrival and sell it upon departure. With permission from the Government of Pakistan, a diplomat may sell a car that has been in the country less than 5 years to another "privileged" person duty free. Alternatively, the car may be sold to a "non-privileged" person upon payment of customs duties, or to the Pakistani Government. Cars owned by diplomatic personnel that remain in country for more than 5 years may be sold to the general public. However, you may sell only one car that has been purchased duty free in country. Second-hand cars are for sale by departing diplomatic officers. Most of these are for sale in May and June. Prices for these may be higher than you expect since it is a rather closed market. Technical and administrative staff (non-diplomatic) is not allowed to purchase a duty-free car in Pakistan. Non-diplomatic personnel who wish to have a car at post should ship a vehicle to arrive after their own arrival at post, but in no case later than five months after their personal arrival in Pakistan. This will permit GSO to clear the car within the six-month limit set by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The private vehicle of a non-diplomat may be sold to a diplomat, or to the GOP, or re-exported upon the employee's departure from Pakistan. (Note: The GOP pays only the fully depreciated price according to the Kelly Blue Book.) Non-diplomatic personnel may import a car free of taxes during the first 6 months of their tour. A non-diplomatic employee who plans to ship a privately owned vehicle to post must send, before shipment, a copy of the car's registration certificate to the General Services Officer. The car will take about 3 months to arrive from an East Coast U.S. port and to clear the necessary formalities. The GSO shipping office will arrange customs clearance and will assist with delivery of the vehicle. These vehicles cannot be released from customs without a copy of the car's registration. The post incurs costly demurrage charges if vehicles are not cleared promptly. A non-diplomat may purchase a duty-paid car on the local market, but should be aware that duty on a new vehicle varies from 150% to 500% of the value of the vehicle. A non-diplomat at post may not purchase a vehicle in country from another non-diplomat or from a diplomat, unless he/she pays the full customs duty pertaining to that vehicle. Non-diplomatic personnel are those personnel who do not hold diplomatic or consular title, such as First Secretary, Consul, or Attaché, during their tour of duty in Pakistan. Pakistani law prohibits darkly tinted auto glass. Lightly tinted glass that can be clearly seen through from inside and out is acceptable. Do not ship a vehicle with darkly tinted glass. If you are purchasing a vehicle locally, be aware that this law includes those, which were in country prior to the law. Cars equipped with catalytic converters should be modified before shipment. Most reputable muffler shops and auto repair shops in the U.S. can do the removal correctly. The catalytic converter should be shipped with your household effects. The catalytic converter must be shipped back to the U.S. with the car for replacement, because the EPA must verify the converter's effectiveness within 10 days of the car's arrival. Replacements and fines are expensive. Use of leaded gasoline (all that is available locally) with the catalytic converter installed will render the converter inoperative. A locking gas cap and air-conditioning are advisable, as is an automatic trunk release, since the inside of hoods and trunks of all vehicles are inspected by the local guard service each time before vehicles are allowed on the Embassy compound. The experience with fuel injection engines varies: some employees have had difficulty maintaining vehicles with fuel injection systems, while others have had no serious problems. Since driving is on the left-hand side of the road, right-hand-drive cars are safer, although both left-hand and right-hand-drive vehicles are used. Islamabad, with its wide avenues and four-lane roads, lends itself to the use of left-hand-drive vehicles. However, in other areas, because of heavy congestion and narrow streets, use of a left-hand drive car can be dangerous. A number of road hazards, both animate and inanimate, place great reliance on sound suspension, horns, and good brakes. Persons whose cars have the new small emergency spare tire should consider investing in a full size rim and spare tire. Flats are frequent and reliable repair facilities are not always close at hand. Car maintenance is adequate. Except for Japanese vehicles, spare car parts are scarce and expensive. Bring extra spark plugs, oil and air filters, fan belts, and an extra set of points. Consult with the service manager of your local garage for a list of commonly replaced parts to bring along. Cars most commonly found in Pakistan are Toyota Corollas, Coronas, Cressidas, and Land Cruisers; Honda Accords and Civics; and Mitsubishi Pajeros (though Pajeros are not recommended for Karachi where they are a favorite target of thieves). It is possible to order a new car from Japan. These cars are right-hand-drive vehicles, which cannot be imported into the U.S. without costly safety and emissions alterations because they do not meet U.S. standards. The good news is that they cost at least 40% less than an equivalent model that is manufactured for the U.S. market. Ocean freight is reimbursable by the employee's agency. Purchase local marine insurance on the value of the automobile, including estimated customs duties in the event of total loss. The cost for insurance and shipping for an $8,400 car is about $138. Employees are cautioned that vehicle deliveries ex-factory take 4-6 months. (Non-diplomatic personnel must import the vehicle within six months of their personal arrival in Pakistan.) Payment must be made in advance. Payment can be made by bank draft or certified check in the exact amount of the purchase payable to the dealer's agent in Japan. This can be arranged in one of two ways: Have your bank in the U.S. wire a transfer of funds to the agent in Japan, or the funds can be wire transferred to the American Express Bank in Islamabad, which will issue a bank draft. The fee for this service is $70-$110. Vehicles cannot be cleared through customs until the employee has arrived in country. All Mission personnel should obtain a Pakistani driver's license before driving a vehicle in country. Application for the license will be made during the check-in procedure shortly after arriving at post. To receive a Pakistani driver's license, you must have a valid U.S. driver's license. Temporary licenses are not sufficient. The Government of Pakistan does not recognize international driver's licenses. Legal driving age in Pakistan is 18 years for any type of vehicle. Local third-party liability insurance is mandatory. Costs vary depending on the size of the engine. Up to 1000cc, the premium is about $14 a year, 1000-2000cc, about $16, and over 2000 cc, about $20 a year. Comprehensive and collision insurance is also recommended, available locally and less expensive than in the U.S. Bring a certificate from your U.S. insurance company, or from another country, showing a 5-year claim free record to obtain substantial premium reductions. Some employees keep their U.S. insurance or, if possible, insure with an overseas specialist (Lloyds or Clements). Arrange for transit insurance, marine and road policy, to include final destination when shipping your car. Cars for posts are sent by road from the Karachi port. Gasoline and diesel are available throughout the country and the Pakistani Government fixes the price. Octane ratings lower than in the U.S. allow low-compression, six-cylinder engines to run better. Regular gasoline averages 80- octane, and super gasoline averages 87 octane. Occasionally, 100-octane gasoline is available. Regular gasoline lacks additives that make U.S. gasoline more efficient in high-compression engines. Presently, the price of "super" gasoline is about 81¢ per liter, and diesel prices are about 44¢ per liter off post. All employees may purchase tax-free gasoline or diesel from the GSO gas station using chits for sale through the Embassy cashier or Commissary. The present cost of duty-free "super" gasoline at the GSO gas station is about 45¢ per liter; diesel presently costs about 34¢ per liter.


Local Transportation Last Updated: 8/31/2004 2:06 AM

Local transportation is prohibited.


Regional Transportation Last Updated: 8/31/2004 2:38 AM

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and a number of international carriers serve Pakistan. However, no U.S. carriers offer service to or from Pakistan although United Airlines recently entered into a "code share" arrangement with several other international carriers. Karachi maintains the nation's largest airport with service to and from a variety of destinations on both PIA and other international airlines. Air service is more limited in Islamabad with flights on only three carriers: PIA, Saudi, and British Airways. British Airways offers thrice weekly direct service from London. Inter-country travel is facilitated by PIA, which flies to all major cities in Pakistan. However, these flights are often crowded and overbooked so take care to confirm your flight in advance. Road transportation between major points is possible, but roads are usually crowded and in poor repair. Travel by car from Karachi to Lahore takes 2 days. However, travel outside of Karachi and into the Sindh interior must have prior approval of the Government of Pakistan and the Mission due to severe law and order problems. Travel by land is therefore not advised. The drive from Lahore to Islamabad normally takes 4 hours on the modern express Motorway, which was inaugurated in December 1997. The drive from Islamabad to Peshawar takes about 3 hours. Again be very cautious, driving can be dangerous on main trunk routes.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 12/31/1999 6:00 PM

Telephone service in Pakistan is adequate. Direct-dial service connects all major cities in the country, and international direct-dial service is available from Pakistan to most foreign countries including the United States. Phone bills should be monitored closely to assure that you are billed only for calls placed from your phone.

Station-to-station calls to the U.S. cost Rs. 52 (U.S. $1.26) per minute. International direct-dial may be accomplished from your residence. The Embassy in December 1997 activated limited IVG service to the U.S. and some other embassies with official calls taking precedence but personal use possible outside official USG hours. International direct-dial may be accomplished from your residence. International calls may also be booked with the local operator, but it takes time and the call is limited. During the rainy season the telephones are sometimes out of order; however, service is normally restored within one day.


Internet Last Updated: 8/31/2004 2:28 AM

Residential internet service is available, although the service is expensive and downtime is common.


Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 8/31/2004 2:31 AM

Although international airmail service to and from the U.S. is available and many use international aerograms, the State Department's pouch and APO facilities are more reliable, especially for valuable letters or enclosures. Pouch privileges are restricted. Consult your agency for the correct pouch address if you are eligible. APO privileges are available only to DOD personnel and direct hire U.S. Government employees. American employees of government contractors should check on the facilities available to them. APO mailing address* for Islamabad:

(Your Name) Unit 62200, (Your Office Box #) APO, AE 09812-2200

*For APO addresses of constituent posts in Pakistan see post entries.

The maximum weight allowable for packages shipped through the APO is 70 pounds, and the maximum size is 72 inches length and girth combined. Different classes available for shipment include priority, fourth class, and special fourth class (book rate). APO mail may be insured or certified.


Radio and TV Last Updated: 8/31/2004 2:32 AM

There are two television stations in Pakistan: Pakistan Television (PTV) is countrywide, and Shalimar Television Network (STN) is available in Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad/Rawalpindi. PTV carries news, musical programs, documentaries, dramas, and sports in Urdu or other local languages. It also carries old American sitcoms and movies from time to time. News in English is broadcast at 7 p.m. daily. PTV is not regarded as an entertainment or recreation source for Americans. STN has started partial productions, airs acquired programs from many sources and carries CNN broadcasts for 8 hours per day. Acquired programs include British and American sit-coms, Urdu and English films, and Public Diplomacy-supplied documentaries on science, art, and wildlife. All programs on PTV and STN are censored to remove anything, which might be objectionable. Satellite dishes have become common here. With a dish, one can pick up CNN, Star (Hong-Kong based system featuring, BBC, MTV, sports and entertainment), and several Chinese and Arabic channels. Dishes and receivers are readily available and reasonably priced (currently from $150 to $500). The American Club has a dish, which receives several channels. All television programming in Pakistan is 625 PAL standard. The American Club in Islamabad maintains a wide variety of movies in NTSC format for rental. Audiotapes are widely available in local stores but are also of uneven quality. CDs are readily available, but selection is still limited and prices are cheaper than in the U.S. Quality English, Dutch, or Japanese television sets can be bought on the local market, but prices are sometimes higher than in the U.S. The most satisfactory sets are multi-system sets, which can handle PAL and NTSC signals. Personnel can purchase multi-system VCRs at reasonable prices in Pakistan, especially in Peshawar. Prices are comparable to those available in the U.S. Converting NTSC systems to PAL is not advisable. Most Americans bring a VCR/DVD and TV from the U.S. A multi-system TV, which handles PAL as well as NTSC, is advisable. Pakistan has a countrywide radio system. Most of the programming is in Urdu or other local languages. There are three short English language news broadcasts daily. Music aired is Pakistani. A good short-wave radio can be helpful for wider coverage of world events. VOA, BBC, and other nations' broadcasts have special programs in English for this region. An outside antenna will improve reception, and a radio with push-button capability to lock-in a station makes short-wave hunting easier.


Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 8/31/2004 2:34 AM

Pakistani newspapers in English are readily available in major cities and may be home delivered. The International Herald Tribune and USA Today are flown in from Hong Kong and cost about $3.00 a copy. Hotel newsstands and bookstores carry international editions of Time and Newsweek. However, while books are government subsidized magazines are not which tends to make them rather expensive. Subscriptions from the local news dealer may be available for home or office delivery. Single copies of American magazines and comic books may also be found at newsstands and bookstores. Magazines mailed from the U.S. typically take about 2 weeks to arrive via APO.

Health and Medicine Last Updated: 8/31/2004 2:22 AM

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 8/31/2004 2:09 AM

Limited outpatient medical facilities are available at the Embassy and consular posts. Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar have Health Units for use by the official American community. The Regional Medical Officer is based in Islamabad, but makes periodic visits to all posts for consultation as well as to visit, review, evaluate, and recommend medical facilities available for the official American community living in those areas. Pakistan has limited but usually adequate hospital facilities. Laboratory and X-ray facilities are available, but service, equipment, and cleanliness are not consistent with U.S. standards. For this reason, the Health Units are set up to provide immunizations and primary health care, and to dispense medications for acute illnesses and starter doses of medications for long-term medical problems (e.g., high blood pressure, arthritis, etc.). Individuals requiring surgery, diagnostic tests not available in Pakistan, and treatment for serious illnesses are evacuated to London or Singapore. Employees are advised to have elective surgery and diagnostic tests completed in the U.S. before proceeding to post whenever possible. The Health Units keep a limited supply of commonly used medications. Bring your own supply of any medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, used on a regular basis, and make arrangements for refills by mail. Pharmacies throughout Pakistan can fill some prescription needs and have a large variety of non-prescription drugs, some manufactured locally and some imported. Locally purchased drugs may cost less than in the U.S. Some non-prescription items are available at the commissaries. If you have specific questions about what to bring, write to the Regional Medical Officer. Although dental care is available in Pakistan, most employees prefer to have dental evaluation and treatment in the U.S. Orthodontia service is limited. Standard prescriptions for glasses can be filled inexpensively, but no safety glass is available and standards are uncertain. Americans send eyewear to the U.S. for the filling of prescriptions. Have glasses checked before coming to post and bring a spare pair. Islamabad. The Islamabad Health Unit at present has a Regional Medical Officer, Foreign Service nurse practitioner, two contract nurses and a Foreign Service laboratory technologist. Besides basic lab and X-ray facilities, the Health Unit has two hospital beds and a minor emergency room. Civilian hospitals in the Islamabad/Rawalpindi area are adequate although not up to American standards. However, emergency surgery and trauma cases can be sent to Shifa International Hospital in Islamabad. Karachi. The Consulate General has a well-equipped Health Unit staffed by a contract nurse. The Health Unit provides immunizations, primary health care, and dispenses medications for acute illnesses. Hospital facilities especially the modern and well-equipped Agha Khan Hospital in Karachi are occasionally used for in-patient emergency care and radiologist and laboratory services. Individuals requiring elective surgery, diagnostic tests not available in Karachi, or treatment for serious illnesses may be evacuated to London or Singapore. Although dental care is available, have dental evaluation and treatment before reporting to post. Orthodontia service is limited. Individuals taking any long-term medications are advised to bring an adequate supply from home. The commissary does stock some over-the-counter medications but the supply and choice are limited. Lahore. The Health Unit in Lahore no longer has permanent manning. The regional medical officer makes periodic visits to the Health Unit. The Shaikh Zayed Hospital is used in emergencies and has a few British or U.S.-trained doctors, but is not up to U.S. standards. In-patients often need round-the-clock supervision.

Peshawar. The Regional Medical Officer visits Peshawar periodically. The Health Unit is staffed with a contract nurse two hours per day. There are hospitals in Peshawar, but standards are far below those found in the U.S. Persons living in Peshawar often choose to drive to Islamabad to get their health care.

Health and Medicine

Community Health Last Updated: 8/31/2004 2:10 AM

Americans are commonly plagued by diarrhea of multiple causes and upper respiratory infections. Because of its higher standards of sanitation and living conditions, frequent immunizations, and preventive medicines, the American community is fairly well isolated from malaria, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, rabies, and polio. However, they still occur and reasonable precautions are necessary. Sanitation throughout Pakistan is a constant problem, although overall health conditions where Americans live are generally good. The public water supply is unsafe everywhere and drinking water must be filtered and boiled. Sewage systems are antiquated or inadequate. Refuse collection is erratic. The burning of cow dung, leaves, and garbage often produces irritating dust and smoke. Refrigeration and sanitary packaging of foodstuffs in public markets are rare. To avoid enteric disorders, wash all fresh produce in chlorine solution or cook it thoroughly before eating.

Health and Medicine

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 8/31/2004 2:21 AM

Check your immunization record. If you are entering (or reentering after a trip) from South American or African countries, you will need a yellow fever immunization (more easily obtained in Washington than in Pakistan). For your own protection, also have typhoid, tetanus, and hepatitis A and B immunizations. Rabies is endemic in Pakistan, and it is recommended that everyone assigned to post have the preventive rabies immunization series. Malaria prophylaxis is recommended and should be initiated 2 weeks before arrival in Pakistan. Do not neglect your immunizations or booster shots. Extensive recommendations for preventative health practices are presented in the Health and Medical Information Booklet available at post.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 8/31/2004 2:25 AM

Pakistan Travel Warning, released March 22, 2002, ordered the departure of all non-emergency personnel and family members of the US Embassy and Consulates in Pakistan. EFM positions are limited.

American Embassy - Islamabad

Post City Last Updated: 8/31/2004 2:43 AM

Islamabad is a new capital, built on a specially selected site near the older cantonment town of Rawalpindi. It consists primarily of government offices, foreign diplomatic missions, and residential areas for senior government servants and employees of foreign missions, and has a population of some 350,000. The busy bazaars and back streets common in other South Asian cities are absent, but the loss of local color is offset by Islamabad's convenient layout. Broad avenues, many lined with trees, divide Islamabad into self-sufficient quarters, each with a central shopping area and a few neighborhood markets. Islamabad is considerably greener, quieter, less crowded, and dusty than most cities in this part of the world. Rawalpindi, 10 miles away and still the major city in the capital area, is typical of the cantonment towns built by the British in India and Pakistan during the mid-19th century. These towns served as residential and operations centers for the British Army. Rawalpindi, located on the Grand Trunk Road that ran from Kabul to Calcutta, developed as a transportation, communications, and administrative center. The city remains an important military base and is the site of the General Headquarters of the Pakistani Army and Air Force. Rawalpindi has many narrow back streets that wind through bustling bazaars as well as the broad, tree-lined thoroughfares established by the British. Until recently, Rawalpindi's importance rested on its strategic location for military operations. Aryan-speakers fought over it in 1400 B.C., and Alexander the Great arrived in 326 B.C. It was completely destroyed by the Mongol invasion in the 14th century. The area was part of the Moghul Empire in the 16th and 17th centuries. Later, the Sikhs conquered and controlled the area, establishing the largest Sikh military cantonment at Rawalpindi in the 18th century. The Sikhs laid down their arms in 1849 to the British 53d Regiment, which then established its northern command headquarters in Rawalpindi. The town became one of the largest cantonment stations of the British Empire. In 1960, Rawalpindi became the interim capital of Pakistan until Islamabad was constructed and government offices moved there.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 8/31/2004 2:45 AM

The American Embassy moved from Karachi to Rawalpindi in 1966, then to the diplomatic enclave of the new capital of Islamabad in 1973. The Embassy, destroyed by fire in November 1979 following violent protests connected with the rumored desecration of holy places in Saudi Arabia, was rebuilt by 1983. The Executive Office (Ambassador and DCM), Political Section, Economic Section, Administrative Section, Personnel Office, General Services Office, Information Programs Office, Regional Security Office, Narcotics Affairs Section, Defense Attaché Office, Defense Representative to Pakistan, Drug Enforcement Administration, Legal Attaché's Office, Refugee Affairs Office, and the Foreign Agricultural Service are located in the Chancery. The Health Unit, the newly constructed Consular building, the new Commissary building, Public Affairs Office and the American Club are located on the Embassy compound. The official American community in the Islamabad area consists of 133 employees and contractors. Additionally, the U.S. Government in Islamabad employs 448 Foreign Service Nationals. Pakistan Travel warning, released on March 22, 2002, alerted Americans that the Department has ordered the departure of all non-emergency personnel and family members of the US Embassy and Consulates in Pakistan.

The main office and telephone number are: American Embassy Chancery Diplomatic Enclave Ramna 5 Islamabad Tel.: (92)(51) 2080-0000 FAX: (92)(51) 214222 Telex: 82-5864 AEISL PK


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 8/31/2004 2:48 AM

Every effort is made to provide permanent housing upon the employee's arrival. From time to time, however, especially during busy summer transfer months, it is necessary to provide temporary housing until permanent quarters are ready for occupancy. Such housing consists of temporary guesthouses or hotels, such as the Serena or Marriott Hotel in Islamabad.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 8/31/2004 2:53 AM

All housing at post is Embassy-owned or leased and is assigned by the Housing Board prior to each employee's arrival at post. The average house in Islamabad has an entrance and a patio and/or balcony, and servant's quarters. Housing is scattered throughout Islamabad within a short drive of the Embassy compound in generally quiet neighborhoods with wide, tree-lined streets. The Embassy compound has a limited number of furnished apartments (two to three bedrooms) that are also assigned prior to each employee's arrival (single females having priority). Each apartment has a small porch equipped with basic patio furniture.

The U.S. Government pays for utilities and 24/7 guard service for all employees. Employees pay for their personal telephone, gardening, and servant services.


Furnishings Last Updated: 8/31/2004 2:56 AM

All apartments and houses are equipped with basic furniture, curtains, draperies, lamps, washers and dryers, air conditioners, vacuum cleaners, heaters, stoves, refrigerators, freezers, and patio furniture. The master bedroom usually has a queen-sized bed with two twin-sized beds in other bedrooms. Some people place two twin beds together, creating a king-sized bed. King-sized bedding is not available on the local market and should be included in your shipment.

The Embassy provides each new arrival with a basic Welcome Kit, which includes dishes, glasses, flatware and utensils, pots and pans, toaster, bedding, linens, pillows, iron, and ironing board. Include these items in your airfreight so that the "Welcome Kit" can be returned as soon as possible for the next new arrival.

Bring linens, silverware, kitchen supplies and utensils, and glassware. Most of these items are available locally, although choice of patterns and design is limited. It is possible to rent or borrow extra silver, glasses, and china for parties. Many of these items are available on the local market, but they are sometimes expensive or of inferior quality.

Shipment of household effects from the U.S. East Coast takes 1-3 months.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 8/31/2004 3:00 AM

Since electricity in Pakistan is 220v, 50 cycles, all U.S.-made appliances require transformers. The Embassy provides several large transformers for each house. Adapters to convert U.S.-type plugs to fit Pakistani outlets for dual voltage appliances or lamps can be purchased on the local market. There are frequent power outages, especially in periods of "load shedding" during winter and summer months. There are also frequent fluctuations in voltage. Therefore, voltage regulators are recommended for sensitive equipment such as personal computers, stereos, TVs, VCRs, and microwaves. Voltage regulators are available locally. Pakistan's power requirements for TV sets are also 220v, 50 cycles and 625-line PAL European standard. Quality TV sets (PAL or multi-system) of English, Dutch, and Japanese origin, comparable to those in the U.S., are available for purchase in Islamabad and in Peshawar. Many appliances may need cycle adaptation. It is easier to bring a battery-operated clock than to adapt an electric one. Many 220v appliances, VCR/DVD/CDs, tape decks, TVs, small refrigerators, microwaves, stereo systems, food processors, etc., can be purchased in Islamabad and Peshawar. The price of items in these stores is less than those found on the open market.

Food Last Updated: 8/31/2004 3:02 AM

Most newcomers miss some American food items but find a fairly large range of quality food available in the Embassy commissary and in Islamabad supermarkets. Locally grown fruits and vegetables are of high quality and are cheaper than in the U.S. Many imported goods are available in Islamabad, although sometimes higher in price than similar items found in the Islamabad commissary. Pakistan is a Muslim country and pork and alcoholic products cannot be found in local markets. Wild boar is available locally, if you prefer a "gamy" taste to your pork. The commissary is the only other source for pork, pork products, and alcoholic beverages. There is one local brewery in Pakistan, which sells an "export" quality beer for Christian Pakistanis and foreigners. Supplies of it are sometimes available in the commissary. Many Americans shop in local markets and stores for chicken, beef, veal, lamb, mutton, goat, seafood, eggs, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Some local meat such as beef does have a "gamy" taste and may be slightly tougher than that to which Americans are accustomed. Local chicken is almost always tougher than that found in the U.S. Meats including chicken may be bought locally at prices cheaper than those in the commissary. Bakeries sell a variety of baked goods, croissants, pastries, French bread, sliced wheat or white sandwich breads, and over-sized hot dog and hamburger buns. Fresh milk is never available, but long-life (UHT) milk is available locally and the commissary's supplies include skim, 2%, and whole milk varieties. Yogurt and tofu are also available on the local market. Locally bottled soft drinks are both cheap and available, but the quality is uneven and the taste is sometimes not good. Quality and availability of fruits and vegetables vary according to the seasons. Bananas, apples, mangoes, plums, cherries, pomegranates, strawberries, peaches, plums, citrus fruits, leeches, grapes, raisins, prunes, and watermelons are of good quality but seasonal. Lettuce and tomatoes are found seasonally, and when grown locally they are very good. Other local vegetables found in season are carrots, cabbages, eggplants, turnips, cucumbers, cauliflower, artichokes, parsley, green beans, green peas, onions, potatoes, spinach, bean sprouts, mushrooms, scallions, Chinese cabbage, pumpkins, peppers, and mustard and turnip greens. The variety of vegetables tends to diminish during the rainy season. Produce is inexpensive in season, yet the duration of the season is limited. Some employees have brought canning equipment and supplies and some people freeze freshly squeezed orange juice, which is cheaper in season than the frozen varieties available in the commissary. Kitchen gardens are common here, so vegetable and flower seeds should be brought along with gardening supplies. Local seeds produce well, but U.S. varieties of herbs, lettuces, radishes, peppers, and greens fare even better. Poor refrigeration and unhygienic handling of meat, seafood, produce, and other food items continue to be of concern in Islamabad. Most seafood is transported by air from Karachi in baskets filled with ice. Oftentimes these baskets are left to sit outdoors, allowing the ice to melt and the seafood to thaw. It is more difficult to guarantee good seafood during the summer months and care should be taken to purchase food items from established shops. All produce should be washed thoroughly and meats should be fully cooked according to the guidelines provided by the Embassy's Health Unit. Water Water in Pakistan is not potable, however, the American Embassy does maintain a potable water supply on the compound. All off post residences have a water purification system. Commissary The United States Employees Association (USEA) manages the U.S. commissary. The Commissary is a cooperative with headquarters in Islamabad and outlets in Lahore and Peshawar. Karachi has a separate commissary operation. A refundable fee is charged to all persons who decide to become members of the commissary at a rate of $75 for Marines, $200 for singles, and $300 for couples. Members may pay their bill at the time of purchase in cash, traveler's checks, or U.S. dollar checks. Islamabad's commissary is located on the Embassy compound and is usually well stocked. The commissary is open every day but Monday. The commissary receives dry and frozen food shipments on a regular monthly basis. Most commissary dry and frozen goods are shipped from the U.S. by boat via Karachi. The shipment is then transported by road to Islamabad. Transportation and handling costs are added to the purchase price of the goods, which accounts for prices being considerably higher than U.S. shelf prices. Shipping and handling costs vary between 6% and 8% of the price of an item. Alcohol has an additional mark-up of 45%. Like most commissaries, supply does not always meet demand. In Islamabad, delays at the source of supply, in the clearing of goods, and in transit from Karachi serve to exacerbate the problem. Every effort, however, is made by USEA management to anticipate such delays, but it sometimes takes several weeks to restock certain products. Fresh cheese, yogurt, lettuce, and other vegetables are occasionally available from Europe especially during the months when these items are not available locally. While the commissary attempts to meet every need, if you cannot live without a particular item it is always best to include it in your airfreight, HHE, or suitcase. The commissary stocks all essential household needs and carries an ample supply of canned, packaged, and frozen goods. They include long-life milk, dairy products, herbs, spices, baking supplies, diet foods, some ethnic and kosher products, alcoholic beverages, beer, ice cream, yogurt, pastries, muffins, bagels, some sundries, frozen breads, soft drinks (regular and diet), ground, instant, and limited specialty brands of coffee, dog and cat food, cat litter, common non-prescription pharmaceuticals. The commissary does not sell tobacco products. The commissary stocks a limited supply and variety of personal care products such as shampoo, hair conditioner, facial cream, shaving cream, deodorants, etc. If you prefer certain brands of health and beauty products bring your own supply. Prices for imported health and beauty products are considerably higher than U.S. prices. While some well-known brands are available in the local market, you may not always find brands that are familiar to you. Include with you any cosmetics or particular brand of pharmaceuticals or, alternatively, plan to replenish them with mail order sources. Some items such as these are available in limited quantities on the local market, however, prices may be higher than in the commissary, and items will have often passed their expiration dates. If you have special dietary or other needs, you should check with the commissary manager to assess whether a product is available. Any item(s) that you deem necessary should either be sent to or brought with you, since there is no guarantee that the commissary will be able to meet your requests. For those requests that can be met, special case orders will be placed with the commissary. Delivery time for special orders is about three to five months. Paper products bought in the local markets are considerably higher in price than those found in the U.S. Include toilet paper, disposable diapers, feminine sanitary products, personal care products, and other paper items in your shipment as your weight allowance permits. American tobacco products are available locally and usually at lower prices than in the U.S. Cafeteria and Restaurant The Chancery has a cafeteria that serves limited breakfasts, light snacks, and lunches during office hours. There is also a canteen on the Embassy compound near the motor pool. The American Club in Islamabad, located inside the Embassy compound, has a restaurant open from breakfast through the evening, a bar where lunch and dinner can be served, and the Terrace Cafe by the pool serving a limited menu during summer months. All of the aforementioned dining facilities are operated by USEA.

Clothing Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:04 AM

Islamabad's weather is basically of two types: 6 months of hot summer (100°F, half dry and half monsoon rains) and about 4 months of winter (temperatures sometimes near freezing at night and 40°-60°F in the daytime). In between these seasons are about 2 months with warm days (about 80°F) and cool nights (about 40°F). As a result, you need a larger supply of light clothing than warmer winter wear, but both are necessary. Conservative dress codes do not apply in the American compound. The abundance of at-home dinners and parties allows American-type fashions to be often worn. A variety of clothing styles are, therefore, recommended. However, even though conservative dress codes do not apply on the American Embassy compound, personnel off compound (especially females) should remember to be prepared for any unexpected occurrences such as the breakdown of a car. Thus, it is wise to carry a skirt or wrapper, which can be put on to conceal shorts or other dress should a breakdown occur. The national dress is called a "shalwar kameez" and is a long tunic top worn over a pair of Pajama-type pants. It takes about 7-1/2 yards of material to make a shalwar kameez. Pakistani men, women, and children all wear this outfit. A good number of American women also follow this custom, especially in the hot summer months. Local tailors will make the shalwar kameez for about $5-7. A good tailor can copy Western clothing even from a photograph, but most tailors cannot sew from a pattern. Buttons are available in limited styles and sizes and not always the quality of U.S. buttons. Imported zippers are available in limited colors and sizes; long zippers for women's dresses and jeans zippers are hard to come by. Local thread is not the best quality but is available in a wide range of colors. Anchor embroidery floss is available in a limited selection of colors. Lining material, interfacing, elastic, sequins, and trims are available. Lightweight cottons are available in colorful profusion in summer and there is a limited supply of somber-colored light wool, sturdier cotton, and polyester in winter. Not all the local fabrics are colorfast though, and calicos, stretch fabrics, felt, and knits are unavailable. Imported silks are available. Cotton clothing is advisable for summer, as synthetics are often sticky in the hot, humid weather. Light wool and polyester is best for winter. It is difficult to find shoes to fit American feet or tastes, although some people have been pleased with shoes they've had copied from shoes brought from home. Shoe repair is unpredictable. Bring an adequate supply of all types of shoes. This is especially important if you plan to take part in the many available sports activities. Winter jackets and accessories are useful for trips to northern areas. Many Americans in Islamabad make at least one trip to Murree during the winter to play in the snow. The annual Marine Ball is a formal (black tie) affair held in November. Some women have dresses made locally. Others bring a formal ready-made party dress. Most men bring a tuxedo, but one can be tailored. Bring an adequate supply of lingerie, underwear, nylons, socks, and washable sweaters for winter, sport clothes (e.g., tennis outfits). Do not forget washable lightweight raincoats, umbrellas, and swimwear. However, one can find in Pakistan a large quantity of export quality ready-made cotton clothing available in Islamabad and Lahore stores at prices considerably lower than U.S. department store prices. Catalog/Internet purchases are another common way to replenish wardrobes. Mail order takes about 2-4 weeks for delivery.


Men Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:05 AM

In Pakistan, even men dress conservatively. Men do not wear shorts in public (although some men do while jogging), nor do they appear without a shirt. Even small boys will be embarrassed by the stares and titters they receive if they go shirtless in public.


Women Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:10 AM

Unless assigned to an apartment on the Embassy compound, women should not bring an abundance of halter-tops, sundresses, shorts, etc. Pakistan is a Muslim country and these types of clothing are not acceptable in public. Women must dress modestly in public (including inside your own house if you have male servants). Women do not wear short skirts, shorts, or sleeveless or low-cut blouses. In addition, dress codes vary depending on the city. Islamabad is somewhat liberal in its acceptance of western dress.


Children Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:11 AM

Pakistan Travel warning, released on March 22, 2002, alerted Americans that the Department has ordered the departure of all non-emergency personnel and family members of the US Embassy and Consulates in Pakistan.


Office Attire Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:12 AM

Acceptable dress for the workplace is similar to that in the U.S. For a woman, however, the necessity to wear modest clothing should be considered. During the winter months (mid-December to mid-March), most men wear long-sleeved shirts and tie. During the warmer summer months, however, short-sleeved shirts are worn.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:15 AM

Bring or ship whatever you feel is important to your daily life. Don't replace 110v appliances unless you want to buy 220v here. Indeed, some people continue to use their American appliances exclusively. Most items can be found locally or can be ordered from the U.S. Some important items should be brought along if you have the weight allowance. Car parts are expensive locally, if they are available at all. Bring common extra parts (see Transportation). Shoes are also difficult to find locally. Bring whatever table linens you have, but do not buy additional tablecloths since table sizes vary. Local tablecloths and napkins are attractive and inexpensive. Government-furnished beds are usually queen or twin-sized. Bring sheets and mattress pads. You can bring (or order from a catalog) a foam rubber kit to convert twin beds to king-sized beds. Cotton bedspreads are available locally. Bring useful miscellaneous items: bicycles (available locally but expensive and, except for the Chinese-made, of poor quality), parts and tires for U.S./European bikes, Christmas ornaments, an artificial Christmas tree (live trees are inexpensive), hobby materials, musical instruments, basic household tools, canning and freezing equipment, meat grinder, coffee maker, bread and muffin pans, pie plates, a good supply of cheap sewing supplies, home decorations, bathroom accessories including nonskid mats or adhesive strips for tubs, sporting equipment, nice stationery, flashlights and batteries (sometimes available at the commissary), curlers and hair dryers, strongbox for cash, passports, and jewelry, battery-operated clocks, and reading materials.

Supplies and Services

Basic Services Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:18 AM

Since families have their washing done at home by a "dhobi" (laundryman), there is no need for commercial laundry facilities in Pakistan. Color film can be developed and printed in Pakistan (usually with 24-hour service for prints and 7-day service for transparencies or enlargements) at prices below those in the U.S. The quality of processing varies but is generally good. The commissary in Islamabad contracts with a local company to offer film developing. It should be noted, however, that slide development in Pakistan is limited to Fujichrome and Ektachrome. Bring Kodachrome mailers from the U.S. Black and white film is available locally but printed on matte-finish paper only. Black and White glossy prints are not available. Servicing of electrical appliances may be unreliable. However, there are one or two places that westerners frequent for repairs on computers, VCR/DVDs, Nintendos, etc. Limited automobile repair and maintenance service is available (at low cost for labor, high for parts). Bring cars for which parts are available locally and that local mechanics are familiar with (see Transportation), or else be prepared to provide your own spare parts. Employees have had mixed experience with fuel injection vehicles-some mechanics here are not familiar with them. Some employees, however, have had no trouble with fuel injection engines. Beauty shops and barbershops are available. Service and quality varies and can be expensive.

Supplies and Services

Domestic Help Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:22 AM

Most American households employ at least one domestic employee. Single employees often share. The quality of domestic staff in Pakistan varies depending on the length of service and the prior contact the domestic has had with expatriates. Most domestics who have worked with foreigners have a working knowledge of English. Many claim that they are English speakers but experience has proven that they do not always understand instructions. Pakistan's labor force is extremely rigid. A cook will cook, and a dhobi washes and irons. (However, the latter will not sew on a button nor notify the employer when a button has been removed.) Most domestics will do only what they are asked to do and nothing more. It is best to hire a domestic based upon referrals from departing employees or other domestics. Most domestics require instruction and close supervision until they have become familiar with their new employer. The following types of domestic employees are available at post: a cook or cook-bearer who does the shopping, cooking, serving, some cleaning, and general supervising of the house; a bearer, who does most of the housework, helps with serving, and washes dishes; a sweeper who cleans bathrooms, verandas, walks, and driveways (usually part-time, but necessary because most indoor servants will not clean outside areas, floors, or bathrooms, as these are considered low-class chores); a gardener (mali); and a twice-a-week laundryman (dhobi). The Embassy provides a 24-hour guard for every residence. Average monthly salaries for domestic employees are: cook-$135; bearer-$90; cook-bearer-$110; dhobi-$36; sweeper-$30; mali-$40. (These are U.S. Dollar equivalents, but domestics are paid in rupees.) In addition to their salaries, domestics are usually provided living quarters (at least for the main employee), a bed (charpoy), uniforms, tea, sugar, and milk (or tea money), time off (average 4 days a month), and an annual bonus (sometimes split into two bonuses). Most employers pay for medical examinations and routine medical expenses. Workmen's compensation for domestic staff is available locally at low rates. A single person or small family may need only a cook-bearer and dhobi. Employees and couples who entertain frequently may split the duties of a cook-bearer between two servants and add an inside sweeper. Tasks are more rigidly divided in larger households than in smaller ones. Consideration must be given to the observance of religious customs, particularly prayer times, religious holidays, and Ramazan (the month of fasting). Since personal tastes, family size, etc., influence the choice of staffs, these decisions should be left until arrival at post. If, however, your predecessor leaves behind a ready-made staff that can work together and understand the idiosyncrasies of your particular fuse box, water system, or garden maintenance, consider retaining them.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:23 AM

Pakistan is 97% Muslim, but religious minorities are free to practice their faiths. Proselytizing is subject to restrictions. Pakistan has about 1.6 million Christians, many of whom live in the Punjab.

For church services, contact the Human Resources Office for locations and times.


Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:25 AM

Few formal educational opportunities for adults are available. However, most American universities and colleges provide on-line courses.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:31 AM

The USEA operates the American Club in Islamabad located on the Embassy compound. Full club membership is available to all USG personnel stationed in Islamabad, including personal services contractors. American Club memebrship fee is $200/singles and $300/couples. For those Americans not employed by the U.S. Government or who are citizens of other nations, membership is available with some limitations. The American Club has four tennis courts (two clay and two hard) with two full-time tennis instructors, an Olympic-size swimming pool, a Universal equipped exercise/weight room, a volleyball court, a basketball court, a softball diamond, a soccer field, and a circumferential path used as a track. The tennis courts are lit for night use and tournaments are held throughout the year, both within the club and in the international community. Bring your own tennis equipment and clothes. The club sells tennis balls and restrings rackets. Rackets and balls are available on the local market, tennis shoes are generally inexpensive but of low quality (unless imported). In the hot weather the pool is a favorite place to relax and enjoy meals poolside or in the Terrace Cafe. Swimsuits are not available here and sunblock can be purchased at the commissary and local pharmacies. The pool is open year round. The Islamabad Club offers an 18-hole golf course, tennis and squash courts, and horseback riding. Membership fees are reasonable. Capitol Stables offers horseback riding and lessons (bring a helmet, riding pants and boots-British type).

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:38 AM

Due to secutity restrictions, travel within Pakistan is severly limited. Travel to Lahore, Taxila, Murree, and hiking/biking in the Margalla Hills may be permissible--with RSO approval.

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:40 AM

American movies are provided by ODRP and shown Thursday through Sunday at 7pm in the Embassy auditorium. A limited amount of entertainment is available in Pakistan, due to the current security restrictions. The Marine Guard Detachment sponsors "happy hours" and other special events throughout the year. The Marine Ball is considered to be the social event of the year.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:41 AM Social life is informal and centers around the home or the American Club. Informal dinners and buffets are the most common entertainment. Parties within the American community are frequent, especially around holiday seasons. The American Club sponsors traditional parties at Christmas, New Year, and Independence Day and for special occasions.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

International Contacts Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:42 AM Many of the international social activities are in the diplomatic community. The most common form of entertainment is the informal buffet dinner. Small luncheons often associated with a charity are popular. A Diplomatic Golf Association has social gatherings following its tournaments. A women's golf group meets weekly for play. Cocktail parties may be large and official. National Day receptions are an example of these popular gatherings. Pakistani nationals usually enjoy attending these and other international events. Many Pakistanis enjoy entertaining Americans and appreciate return invitations. It is not unusual for a husband to attend without his wife, and it should not disturb the host if no advance warning is given. Should you visit a home where women are secluded, it is important for the female guests to pay their respects by visiting the women's area of the house. If you receive an invitation to a wedding celebration, you may want to ask for details as to what you will encounter. A city wedding may be an elaborate affair in a hotel, but a country wedding could mean a long walk on rough paths to a village.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:43 AM

Representational and official functions fall into the same pattern as unofficial entertaining. Buffet dinners and small luncheons are common, as are medium-to-large cocktail receptions and cocktail buffets. Official entertaining is more formal than unofficial entertaining, but black tie events are rare. Senior officers can expect to give and attend a considerable number of official functions. The demands on junior members of the staff are lighter.

Official Functions

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:46 AM

In place of business cards, the Embassy circulates among the other foreign missions notification of the arrival and departure of diplomatic staff members. Officers frequently use business cards when meeting with government officials and foreign diplomatic colleagues. In addition, business cards may be used within the U.S. Mission. An officer will need at least 200 cards during a tour. Principal officers may have need of several hundred cards. After arrival, employees can order both business cards and a small supply of fold-over or note-size informal cards with engraved initials or name for coffee, tea, and luncheon invitations, if required. Engraved and printed cards are available locally and are much cheaper than in the U.S. For employees without diplomatic status, cards are not obligatory, but are useful for notes and invitations. Printed invitations are available locally at very inexpensive prices. GSO will reimburse the cost of business cards. Protocol requirements within the Mission are generally light, and specific guidelines are given to new arrivals.

Special Information Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:48 AM

In 1956, Pakistan was proclaimed an Islamic Republic; Islam is, therefore, part of Pakistan's national identity. Some understanding of Islam and the social pattern it encourages is essential for Americans living in Pakistan. In general, good taste and common sense will tell you how to avoid offending your Muslim acquaintances, but a few specific points may be helpful. For example, men shake hands with men without hesitation, but it is a good idea to wait for a woman to extend her hand first in greeting. The custom of "purdah," strict seclusion and veiling of women, is gradually disappearing as more educated Pakistani women take their places in public life. Purdon is still observed, especially in small towns and rural areas, where women may still wear the burka, a traditional black veil and coat. Even among the unveiled, a certain reticence persists about socializing outside the home. In many cases, this is reinforced by the husband's attitude. A Pakistani guest may commonly appear at a dinner party without his wife whether or not she observes purdah. This tradition also accounts for the advice that women should cover-up when in public areas. The crowd in the bazaar, for instance, is unaccustomed to seeing bare arms and short sleeves on a woman, and can lead to unwanted jostling and touching. Staring is culturally common, and while at times discomforting it should not be considered threatening. Propriety is particularly important when visiting a mosque. Shoes are always removed for visits to mosques and holy places. The public consumption of alcohol is banned in Pakistan. Foreigners registered in international hotels can get a permit to be served alcoholic beverages. These drinks are expensive. In their own homes, Americans are free to follow their usual customs concerning liquor. One should not offer alcohol to a Muslim Pakistani. It is thoughtful to have an adequate supply of soft drinks and juices for your Pakistani guests. Devout Muslims will not eat or touch pork; some cannot bear the sight of it. To avoid embarrassment, do not serve pork or foods containing pork when Muslim guests are present. Some Muslim servants object to cooking pork. Some Muslims consider dogs unclean. Family pets should be confined when Pakistanis are in your home. It is a good idea to keep your dog away from maintenance workers when they are in your house. Ramadan is a religious period observed by abstaining from eating, drinking, or smoking from sunrise to sunset for one month. You will want to refrain from daytime entertaining of your Pakistani friends during this month and should be considerate of your servants' physical limitations.

Photographs should be taken with discretion to avoid giving offense. Always obtain permission before photographing people, particularly women. For security reasons, it is also forbidden to photograph military installations, airports, and bridges.

Post Orientation Program The Personnel Office has a check-in procedure designed to take care of the paperwork involved in moving to a new post. The Human Resources Office assigns a sponsor who meets the newcomer at the airport, assists in completion of check-in duties, helps familiarize the newcomer with the post, and assists new arrivals in settling into their homes and the general community. This assistance may include showing newcomers around the compound, arranging a trip to the commissary, a shopping trip in Islamabad, or help in finding domestic employees. A mandatory security briefing by the RSO office will be provided to all employees every Tuesday after arrival at post. For interested employees, the Human Resources Office encourages participation in the Urdu language program.

Consulate General - Karachi

Post City Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:44 AM

Karachi is Pakistan's largest and most cosmopolitan city. As the center of Pakistan's economic, commercial, and communications activity, it links areas inside the country with the rest of the world through both its port and its international airport. Located northwest of the mouth of the Indus River, Karachi separates the blue waters of the Arabian Sea from the brown sands of the Sindh Desert and is the gateway to the fertile region of the Punjab, the historic Northwest Frontier, and to Afghanistan. A four-lane highway connects Karachi with Hyderabad, located 2 hours northeast on the Indus River, and continues as a narrow road 800 miles north to Lahore (a 2-3 day trip). Karachi's excellent harbor is the source of both business and pleasure. It serves as the center of Pakistan's sea borne trade, which consists largely of textile goods, and also as a place to boat and fish. Unlike other Pakistani cities, Karachi has a short history. A hundred years ago, it was a small fishing village with a ditch called "Karachi-jo-Kun." When the Suez Canal opened for international shipping in 1865, the British needed a nearby seaport. They developed the harbor and built the fishing village into a city of close to 300,000 people. However, up to partition in 1947, Bombay, now in India, served as the major harbor for the eastern region of former British India. Following independence, Karachi, as Pakistan's only major harbor, took on new significance and rapidly expanded to its present population of about 10 million people. Though Karachi has few of the architectural and historical attractions that distinguish Lahore, Peshawar, or other areas, it is the main commercial, financial, and industrial center in Pakistan. Teeming with the undisciplined traffic of a variety of vehicles, Karachi is a vibrant place in which to live and work.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:45 AM

Karachi at present houses 15 official Americans and 7 Marines. All offices are located in the Consulate General Building at 8 Abdullah Haroon Road, near the city's main commercial area. Duty hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The duty officer may be reached at any hour by calling (92)(21) 5685170-9. APO mailing addresses are: STATE: (Name) AmConGen-Karachi Unit 62400, (Box #) APO AE 09814-2400 Marines: (Name) AmConGen-Karachi Unit 62402 APO AE 09814-2402 New employees are met at the airport by a customs expediter and an American sponsor. Cable flight arrangements and arrival date to the management officer as early as possible.

Housing Last Updated: 12/31/1999 6:00 PM

Housing assignments are made by the GSO in collaboration with the Inter-Agency Housing Board. Contact the GSO as early as possible regarding any special requirements or concerns.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:46 AM

Permanently assigned housing is usually ready for occupancy on arrival. Temporary assignments are sometimes made to other government-provided quarters pending readiness of permanent quarters. Newcomers are rarely housed in nearby hotels while awaiting permanent housing.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:46 AM

Housing for Consulate General personnel is located in two secure compounds in better areas of the city. Both housing compounds are well protected with drop bars, police and local guard force personnel stationed at each entry point. Additionally, a local guard is posted at every residence and roving patrols make regular rounds. All houses have alarm systems, including panic buttons, and safe havens equipped with radios.

The Frere Hall compound houses the Consul General's residence, several single family and duplex houses, the Marine House and the American Club. Located very close to the consulate office building, Frere Hall also contains a tennis court and small pool (on the grounds of the Consul General's residence) and the Marine Gym, which permanent and American TDY personnel are allowed to use with the permission of the MSG Detachment Commander. All the buildings at Frere Hall are government-owned and are of masonry construction. Stone and terrazzo tile are common. Rooms are large with high ceilings, but living space is not always efficiently planned. Most homes have balconies or patios, and small yards or gardens. Kitchens and bathrooms are relatively modern.

The Askari housing compound is located about 10 minutes away from the consulate office building. The houses at Askari are large leased single-family residences, most of which have been converted into duplex units. Constructed only recently, each unit is spacious with marble floors, high ceilings and up-to-date kitchens and bathrooms. Every house has balconies, patios and small yard.


Furnishings Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:45 AM

Government housing is provided with all basic furnishings, including lamps, draperies, carpeting, and basic patio furniture. Major appliances provided include air-conditioners, water heaters, space heaters, kitchen stoves, refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, and gas dryers. Pakistani garden tools are also provided. Bring small kitchen appliances, irons, ironing boards, and other personal effects. Video cassette recorders are popular, as are stereos. Sporting goods, including accessories for beach trips, hunting trips, or other excursions are useful.

A Welcome Kit and basic supply of food are placed in the houses of new arrivals. Since the Welcome Kit is basic (pots, pans, dishes, and linens), it is intended to serve only until the arrival of an employee's airfreight, which is usually cleared quickly after arrival in Karachi.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:47 AM

Electricity in Pakistan is 220 volt/50 cycle, which means that all appliances made to U.S. domestic standards (110/60) require transformers. The Consulate supplies transformers in limited numbers and additional units can be purchased locally at moderate prices. Each housing unit is equipped with a standby generator, making truly disruptive power outages rare. Uninterruptible power supplies and quality surge protectors are recommended for computers and other sensitive electronics. Karachi's landline and cellular telephone infrastructure are modern and reliable. The American Consulate Employee Association Karachi (ACEAK) provides cable television with extensive English language programming as well as high-speed DSL internet service to all residences for a reasonable monthly fee. ACEAK also provides Armed Forces Radio and Television Service free of charge. Multi-system televisions are recommended in order to receive all types of cable and satellite broadcasts. All utilities, with the exception of telephone, cable and internet, are provided free of cost by the Consulate.

Food Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:48 AM

Food stores in Karachi sell dry and frozen goods but are not up to Western standards of quality or variety. Imported goods are available in uncertain quantities and at higher prices. The ACEAK commissary stocks a limited range of hard to find products. Employees should be cautious when purchasing dairy products. Many employees use long-life products from the commissary and make homemade yogurt and ice cream. Fresh meat, including lamb, beef, and veal, is available in local markets at very reasonable prices. American cuts are not available, however, and quality is sometimes below Western standards. Local meat must be cooked thoroughly to prevent parasitic infection. Seafood is readily available. Snapper, king mackerel, pomfret (a pan or grill fish), shrimp, and crab are relatively expensive staples. Karachi's commissary is located on the Consulate compound. All American direct- hires and contractors whose contracts so stipulate may use its facilities. The commissary requires a refundable deposit of $150 for singles and $300 for married couples. Marine Security Guards are exempted from this requirement. The commissary carries an ample supply of canned, packaged and frozen foodstuffs, as well as soft drinks, beer, wine and liquor. Sundries and pet supplies are limited in kind and quantity. Commissary prices are slightly higher than U.S. retail prices.

Clothing Last Updated: 12/31/1999 6:00 PM

Karachi’s winter is delightful, but unfortunately, lasts only about 8–10 weeks. From December to late February, temperatures vary from 50°F at night to 80ºF in the daytime.

Summer weather is quite hot and humid and usually lasts from the end of February to November. A larger supply of light clothing is needed than in Washington. All-cotton and drip-dry fabrics are the most comfortable; synthetic fibers are sticky in the hot, humid weather.

The Consulate General office building and U.S. Government houses are air-conditioned, but most shops and other buildings are cooled, if at all, by electric fans.

Because the winter is short and not very cold, winter suits, dresses, and coats are rarely worn, but a sweater or evening wrap is useful. Attractive shawls are available locally and are often used to keep the chill off during winter evenings. The most practical winter fabric is washable synthetic knit, but regular wash-and-wear and summer clothing may be worn throughout the year.

Except for locally embroidered things for women and children, local ready-made clothing is not satisfactory. Local dressmakers and tailors can make better clothing to order for women and girls than for men and boys, although men’s casual wear or “bush suits” are well made and attractive. Tailoring and dressmaking services are available to make, alter or repair clothing. Quality of work varies, but with a little trial and error you can usually find a good tailor. Some tailors can copy from pictures, but a few have Western-style patterns and most do best by copying an existing piece of clothing. Fabrics available locally include plain wash-and-wear, washable woolen and cotton prints, and silks, all of which must be checked for color fastness.

Those desiring ready-made clothing should bring an ample supply. You can also order from J. C. Penney, Spiegel, and other mail-order firms; delivery takes about 2–6 weeks by APO. In any case, bring an adequate supply of lingerie, underwear, hose, socks, washable sweaters, and bathing suits and caps. Bring baby supplies such as rubber pants, diapers or Pampers, underwear, and pajamas. Get as many washable things as possible, and avoid “dry-clean only” clothing if possible.

Bring an adequate supply of shoes. Locally made sneakers and sandals are cheap and reasonably good. Other shoes are available, but many find the style, fit or quality unacceptable. Some people have had trouble finding properly fitting children’s shoes.


Men Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:49 AM

Local taste and tailoring in men’s clothing are similar to that in the U.S. Coats and ties may be worn year round in the office, although they are not required. During the long, hot summer, entertainment is usually casual and either short-sleeved or sport shirts are worn. Black tie attire is used perhaps twice a year.


Women Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:49 AM

Women's dress tends to be more modest than in the U.S. Women are advised to wear skirts with hemlines below the knees and to avoid low necked or sleeveless dresses, or tight, revealing pants while in public. Shorts are not appropriate. Cocktail dresses or pants outfits are worn for evening entertainment. Formal dresses are needed only a few times a year.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 12/31/1999 6:00 PM

See Islamabad.

Supplies and Services

Domestic Help Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:53 AM

Household help is readily available, though it often takes a few tries before finding compatible help. Full-time general-purpose servants earn $100 - $150 per month, with gardeners earning $70 - $80.

Consulate - Lahore

Post City Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:49 AM

Lahore is a city of 5 million people, 800 miles north-northeast of Karachi (1-1/2 hours by jet), and 170 miles south-southeast of Islamabad (35 minutes by jet). Lahore lies 17 miles west of the Indian border, 700 feet above sea level, in the middle of the Great Punjab Alluvial Plain. It is Pakistan's second largest city after Karachi. Lahore has been the capital of several empires in the subcontinent, with a history going back at least 1,000 years. The old city and its environs have many examples of the art and architecture of the Moghul empire, such as the Lahore Fort, Badshahi Mosque, Emperor Jahangir's Tomb, and the Shalimar Gardens. The city was the capital of the Sikh empire in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. One pleasant legacy of British rule (1849-1947) is Lahore's wide, tree-lined streets. Extensive suburbs have repeated this pattern. Today, Lahore is the capital of Pakistan's largest and most populous province. The Punjab, heartland of Pakistan, produces 69% of Pakistan's agricultural output. It is a major governmental, political, media, cultural, and economic center. Two of the country's largest engineering firms are located in Lahore, as is the headquarters of the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and the Pakistani railway system. In addition, hundreds of industrial firms produce textiles, steel products, carpets, processed food, shoes, electric motors, and a wide variety of consumer goods. Lahore has the country's two largest printing plants; newspaper circulation is the largest in the country. Six English dailies and two English weeklies are available. Lahore has two major universities: the University of the Punjab and the Pakistan University of Engineering and Technology, along with many training institutions. The private Lahore University of Management Sciences is a leading business school. The Lahore Museum, the oldest in the country, has outstanding examples of the nation's heritage. The city is on the Ravi River, one of the five great rivers from which the Punjab (Persian for "five rivers") takes its name. The climate is delightful from November to April. December and January are dry and almost cold with night temperatures occasionally dropping to near freezing. Summer starts with dry, very hot days in May and becomes humid from June through August, with daytime temperatures regularly reaching 100ºF for weeks and occasionally soaring to 114ºF. Activities slow down markedly during summer. Monsoon showers give some relief from the hot summer breezes and dust storms, but increase the humidity to uncomfortable levels. Temperate weather returns at the beginning of October. Air quality is noticeably affected by industrial pollution, dust, and pollen in summer and smoke in winter.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:50 AM

Lahore has 9 official Americans all of whom are with the Department of State. The Consulate (tel. (92)(42) 636-5530; FAX no. (92)(42) 636-5177) was established in 1947 and is located at 50 Empress Road. It is located in a new and modern office building, opened in July 1991. Duty hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The APO mailing address is: (Name) AmConsul Lahore Unit 62216 APO AE 09812-2216


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:51 AM

The Pearl Continental and the Avari Hotel can provide temporary housing in Lahore. The daily cost of a room at either hotel is about $101 for a single room and $125 for a double room. Meals cost about $25 per day.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:51 AM

Personnel will find government-furnished quarters awaiting them. Homes are mostly located in three residential sections of the city. The Principal Officer's residence in the Gulberg area has adequate representational space and four bedrooms. Houses in Lahore are large by American standards with large yards, but the newest housing may have smaller outdoor areas. Residences are constructed of masonry and have airy rooms with high ceilings, terraces, verandas, and screened windows. Ceiling fans and air-conditioners keep the rooms cool. Most residences and apartments have servants' quarters.


Furnishings Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:53 AM

Ship little or no furniture. Quarters are supplied with basic appliances, carpets, and furniture. Some units have one double or queen-sized bed, although many have twin beds. Check with your agency before shipping fitted sheets. State Department employees are provided automatic washers and dryers, room heaters, vacuum cleaners, and trash cans. Each agency's standards vary, but tenants usually are provided with a choice of new draperies and upholstery. Bring comfort items such as special lamps, bric-a-brac, throw rugs, pictures, electrical appliances, radios, VCR/DVD/CDs, cassette players, etc. Include only sturdy pans and working utensils. Detailed inventories may be obtained from each agency's administrative officer. The Welcome Kit, you are lent on arrival, contains dishes, glasses, pots and pans, towels, and sheets. State Department has a list of suggestions for your airfreight.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:54 AM

Utilities, except telephones, are paid in the government owned and leased quarters, as are night-guard services. A gardener is provided at the Principal Officer's residence. Electric power failures and scheduled outages occur frequently in Lahore. In the winter, "load shedding" is scheduled daily. Residences are equipped with emergency generators that permit refrigerators and freezers to function, as well as emergency lighting. The power may build up to 250-280v, and the usual step-down transformers offer U.S.-made appliances limited protection. Voltage regulators with automatic cutouts should be used for VCRs, stereos, and small appliances. These regulators are available locally in a wide variety of models. Transformers and some voltage regulators are supplied with State housing. Other agencies issue transformers and regulators to meet normal requirements. The average charge for local telephone service is less than $20 a month. It is difficult to obtain a phone for a new house. Telephone service is erratic; wrong numbers and crossed lines are frequent. Calling the U.S. direct is possible if the telephone has that facility or, if not, by booking a call via the operator.

Food Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:55 AM

With the exception of chicken, meat is not sold in shops or restaurants on Tuesday or Wednesday in Lahore. Meat and meat cuts are different from those in the U.S. Meat must be well cooked, since markets often have no refrigeration. High quality seasonal fruit and vegetables are available, including bananas, oranges, grapes, tangerines, mangoes, pomegranates, apples, peaches, melons, apricots, potatoes, green beans, carrots, onions, tomatoes, green peppers, broccoli, okra, ginger, cucumbers, eggplants, and peas. For commissary information, see Food-Islamabad.

Clothing Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:56 AM

Dress in Lahore outside the office is much more conservative than in Islamabad. American women employees generally wear Western clothes to work. Conservative Western dress is often acceptable outside the office, but many foreign women feel more comfortable in a shalwar kameez (Pakistani national dress) or slacks with a loose, thigh-length, long-sleeved blouse with a high neck. Either western or Pakistani dress is acceptable at evening functions, except that long dresses or skirts are rarely worn. Clothing for social functions, particularly weddings, is sometimes quite dressy. Sandals are popular for daytime and eveningwear. All-cotton clothing, including underwear, is most comfortable in hot weather. Dry cleaning service is unreliable, and clothing wears rapidly due to the need for frequent washing. Women should be well covered all year round. Tight-fitting or low-cut clothing, sleeveless or halter-tops are not acceptable in Lahore. Western style ladies wear is not available in local stores. If you intend to use local tailors, bring a supply of buttons, interfacing, zippers, thread, and especially elastic. Locally made items of this type are often not satisfactory. Tailoring is cheap but not always of good quality. Tailors usually do not follow patterns, but can copy clothing. A woman's blouse costs about $10 to make, pants $15. Men's pants can be made for $20 and a suit for $70 to $90. See also Clothing-Islamabad.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:57 AM

See Islamabad.

Supplies and Services

Domestic Help Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:58 AM

Help is plentiful, but good servants are scarce and becoming more expensive. Current monthly estimates are: cook $100–120; bearer $80; gardener $60–70; laundryman $20–30.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:58 AM

English-language religious services are readily available at Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Seventh-Day Adventist churches. The International Christian Fellowship, an interdenominational English-language congregation that meets in the Chapel of Forman Christian College, also conducts services. Also, there is a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. No Jewish services are available in Lahore.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 8/31/2004 5:59 AM

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:02 AM

Some sports equipment, when locally available, is reasonable in price, but not always of high quality. Excellent locally made squash racquets may be bought here but bring a supply of golf and tennis balls. Hobby materials are generally unavailable or expensive.

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:03 AM

Dinners and parties in private homes are the most common form of entertainment. Lahore is often said to have the best restaurants in Pakistan, offering Continental, Chinese, and Pakistani cuisine. The Lahore American Club (LAC) is open to all official Americans. A bar, restaurant, billiards and darts room, tennis court, and other attractions make LAC a center of community life. A swimming pool is also available at the Consulate.

Ample opportunities exist to study area history and culture and to acquire folk products and art objects. Shopping, especially for Oriental/Pakistani rugs, is a favorite event.

PTV, the Lahore government-run television station has a 10-minute nightly news program in English. There may also be a rerun of an English or U.S. program. A second, privately owned and operated channel began operation in 1991. STN runs many U.S. and British reruns and several hours of CNN programming around the clock. Pakistani television is on the PAL system which is not compatible with the standard U.S. system. Indian television may also be viewed in Lahore. No local FM radio exists, and English language short-wave reception is only fair. Pre-recorded cassette tapes are readily available. CDs are difficult to obtain. The American Women’s Club is active and provides opportunities for meeting people as does the International Women’s Club.

In 1977 the Government of Pakistan passed legislation dramatically restricting the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Some hotels have “bars” where foreigners and non-Muslims with the proper permits can purchase a limited selection of alcoholic beverages, but at exorbitant prices.

Special Information Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:05 AM

Mail. Lahore post currently receives mail via APO every day, except Mondays. Mail is sent out via APO 3 times a week. The State bag is sent out twice a week.

Household Effects. Consign airfreight directly to Lahore. Seafreight is normally sent via the port of Karachi. Goods cannot be cleared through customs until the employee has arrived at post.

Special Note. A car is essential in Lahore. Local mass transportation is prohibitted.

See Transportation—The Host Country.

Consulate - Peshawar

Post City Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:28 AM

Peshawar, an ancient city in the heart of the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), lies 15 miles east of the famous Khyber Pass, 35 miles from the Afghanistan border, and close to the Pakhtun tribal agencies. The city, with a population of approximately 1,000,000, lies on a flat plain surrounded by mountains on three sides. For most visitors, Peshawar has three main districts: the Old City, the Cantonment area, and University Town. The Old City resembles a typically busy Central Asian town with a colorful bazaar teeming with people and vehicles. Multi-storied houses with elaborate latticework and balconies line the narrow twisting streets. The Cantonment, in contrast, has a suburban atmosphere with spacious houses set back from broad, tree-lined avenues. Much of the Cantonment area is occupied by military installations of the Pakistan Army and Air Force. University Town, a modern district of Peshawar, is located west of the airport and south of the university campus. The NWFP and Peshawar host well over a million Afghan refugees, many of who have established businesses and who have integrated into the economy and life of the region. Pakhtun Culture. Pakhtuns represent the dominant ethnic group in the NWFP. Although cultural mores are slowly changing, particularly in Peshawar, Pakhtun culture remains conservative and religious. The "Pakhtun Code" (Pakhtunwali) is still defined in terms of three basic concepts: "melmastia" - hospitality to every guest, not only providing food and shelter but also protection; "badal" - revenge under any circumstance; and "nanawati" - obligation to protect or forgive an offender who is seeking forgiveness. The Pakhtunwali, however, extends beyond these three concepts. According to Pakhtuns, any action that upholds honor represents a part of Pakhtunwali. As a result, Pakhtun men are greatly protective of their women and their honor. Although education is slowly preparing Pakhtun women for a more public role, few Pakhtun women work outside of the home or participate actively in public affairs. Pakhtun culture is especially strong in the tribal areas that encompass the western third of the province. The federal government administers these areas, and life there remains subject to tribal rules.

Security Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:29 AM

Peshawar and the surrounding tribal areas can be dangerous to uninitiated newcomers. Although the indiscriminate bombings, which were a hallmark of terrorist campaigns in Peshawar at the height of the Afghan conflict, have largely disappeared, random violence in the city continues to be a problem and could threaten the security of expatriate residents. Visitors should travel with U.S. Government Agency officials, volunteer agency representatives, or with a reputable travel guide. Travelers should only provide personal information and trip schedules to authorized government and hotel officials. The Government of Pakistan must approve all visits to the tribal areas, including the Khyber Pass. Such visits are normally limited to daylight hours and special permits (obtained by the Embassy or the Consulate with a two-week's advance notice) are required.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:30 AM

There are 12 full-time direct-hire Americans (including two DEA agents) assigned to the Consulate. The DEA office is located in University Town. The Consulate and the Principal Officer's residence are located in the U.S. Government-owned compound at 11 Hospital Road in the Cantonment. The telephone number is (92)(091)279801-3, and the FAX number is (92)(091)284171. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The APO mailing address is: (Your Name) Unit 62217 - Peshawar APO AE 09812-2217

Housing Last Updated: 7/21/2003 1:52 AM

The Principal Officer's residence is a large, 14-room house facing a spacious garden. A large living room and dining room, a small study downstairs, spacious verandas and two guest bedrooms with baths make the house well suited for entertaining and accommodating guests. Other USG employees in Peshawar are assigned to government-furnished housing in University Town. Since there are no apartments in Peshawar suitable for USG employees, staff members live in large single-family homes, many with pleasant gardens. For information on furniture, furnishings, utilities, and equipment, see related entries for Islamabad.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:32 AM

Temporary staff may be housed in an USG-leased house in University Town, in one of the guest rooms of the Khyber Club, or at the Pearl Continental Hotel.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:31 AM

The Principal Officer's residence is a large, 14-room house facing a spacious garden. A large living room and dining room, a small study downstairs, spacious verandas and two guest bedrooms with baths make the house well suited for entertaining and accommodating guests. Other USG employees in Peshawar are assigned to government-furnished housing in University Town. Since there are no apartments in Peshawar suitable for USG employees, staff members live in large single-family homes, many with pleasant gardens. For information on furniture, furnishings, utilities, and equipment, see related entries for Islamabad.


Furnishings Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:33 AM

For Furnishings, Utilities, and Equipment, see entries for Islamabad.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:33 AM

For Furnishings, Utilities, and Equipment, see entries for Islamabad.

Food Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:34 AM

Peshawar maintains a small but generally well-stocked commissary that carries many items needed to supplement available goods on the local market. Frozen meat (including pork products), fish, frozen goods, and a wide variety of vegetables and fruits are available year round. The commissary only carries a limited supply and variety of personal care products.

Clothing Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:35 AM

The Northwest Frontier Province is conservative in both custom and practice and both men and women must be modestly clothed at all times. Wearing of form-fitting and tight clothing for either sex is not appropriate and should be avoided. Men should not wear shorts or sleeveless shirts in public and women should wear trousers and long (to the hip or below) overshirts. Pakistani women almost never wear dresses or skirts, but ankle length dresses or skirts with long sleeves may be acceptable for foreigners. Acceptable dress for the work place is similar to that in the United States. For men, slacks and an open collar shirt are appropriate for the office, while a coat and tie are appropriate for calls on government officials and at official functions. Western women generally wear slacks and long (to the hip or below) overshirts or jackets. During the warm summer months, short sleeve shirts are worn. Jackets and blazers are useful. Fabrics can be found in local markets and stores at reasonable prices, but tailoring is of uneven quality.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:36 AM

The electrical current is 220v, 50 Hz. Computers, stereo components, VCRs, radios, televisions, and other sensitive electronic equipment require voltage regulators (available locally) due to frequent voltage fluctuations. Laundry, dry-cleaning, film developing, and barber and hair dressing facilities are available in Peshawar. Slide film is not locally available, nor is slide developing reliable. Several bookstores sell office supplies, maps, magazines, and a wide variety of hard cover and paperback English books. Individuals coming on permanent assignment should strongly consider importing or purchasing a right-hand-drive vehicle; driving is precarious for those negotiating the NWFP roads in left-hand-drive vehicles. Repair parts are available for most right-hand-drive Japanese automobiles. (For details on vehicle issues see Islamabad.)

Religious Activities Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:37 AM

Protestant and Catholic services are available.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:39 AM

Peshawar has three clubs: the Peshawar Golf Club with an excellent 18-hole course; the Peshawar Club which offers swimming, squash, and year-round tennis on grass courts; and the Khyber Club (Peshawar American Club) with two clay tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a basketball court. The Pearl Continental Hotel offers a health club and pool. A fitness room, located in the same compound as the commissary in University Town, equipped with a universal gym and aerobic machines is available to USG personnel.

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:40 AM

The Khyber Pass, a famous historical landmark 15 miles from Peshawar on the main road to Afghanistan, traces the path conquerors of the subcontinent traveled centuries ago. The Kohat Pass, less well known, but more spectacular than the Khyber Pass, is also nearby. Visits to these areas may be restricted because of tribal unrest or other security conditions. Chitral, the northernmost mountain district in the NWFP, is accessible by scheduled air service from Peshawar and by road between May and November (road conditions depend on snowfall). Chitral offers dramatic views of 26,000-foot Tirich Mir, fine trout fishing, visits to spectacular mountain terrain including the three valleys which are home to the non-Islamic Kalash "kafirs."

The Northwest Frontier Province has numerous significant archaeological sites dating back to the 2,400-year-old Buddhist Gandhara civilization. One of the most important sites is the Buddhist monastery at Takht-i-Bhai, near Mardan. The Peshawar Museum holds one of the finest collections of Gandhara civilization statuary, including the famous "Starving Buddha."

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:42 AM

The Khyber Club has a large collection of DVD movies. Internet access through dial-up connections is available through a number of reliable and inexpensive Internet service providers. There are several good Pakistani, Afghan, and Chinese restaurants in Peshawar. The Khyber Club also has a restaurant and a lively members-only bar. In accordance with local law, Muslims and Pakistani citizens may not be served alcohol. Most expatriate tourists stay at the modern Pearl Continental Hotel or the Khyber Club which also rents rooms. Peshawar remains famous for its Afghan carpets, tribal jewelry, lapis, and furniture. More than a hundred carpet shops offer a wide variety of Afghan carpets, kilims, and other woven products. The Shinwari Plaza in the Old City offers a wide array of tribal jewelry, old coins, war medals, lapis and other semi-precious stones, and modern Pakistani gold jewelry. Peshawar's furniture makers craft excellent woodwork at relatively inexpensive prices. Several outlet stores operated by volunteer agencies market handicrafts made by Afghan refugees.

Notes For Travelers

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:58 AM

Diplomatic and consular officers are entitled to duty-free import privileges of household effects and an automobile. Other official personnel not having diplomatic or consular titles are entitled to duty-free import of household effects and personally owned vehicle no later than 6 months after an employee’s arrival in the country. The Government of Pakistan’s regulations prohibit clearance of household effects, unaccompanied baggage, or personally owned vehicle before arrival of the employee in the country. Employees must be sure their shipments do not arrive in-country before they do. See also Islamabad-Transportation

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Passage Last Updated: 8/31/2004 6:59 AM

All Americans traveling to Pakistan are required to have a visa before arrival. Apply at the nearest Pakistani Embassy or Consulate as far in advance of your scheduled arrival as possible.

Bring with you an up-to-date inoculation record. Yellow fever inoculations are required before entry into Pakistan, if you have come from Africa or South America. Typhoid, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, meningitis, and pre-rabies inoculations are also advised. Remember to start your malaria prophylaxis 2 weeks before arrival.

Visiting or resident Americans are encouraged to register with the Consular Section of the Embassy in Islamabad or with the Consulates in Lahore, Karachi, and Peshawar. Travelers are urged to consult the U.S. Embassy or Consulate before travel in remote or disturbed areas. Travel to tribal areas requires special permits from the Government of Pakistan. Mountain climbers should pay particular attention to the requirements for traveling in the East Karakoram Range.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Pets Last Updated: 8/31/2004 7:05 AM

No regulations restrict importation of household pets (dogs, cats, birds); however, health and vaccination certificates may need to be presented. Certificates should be issued no more than two weeks prior to arrival in Pakistan. Rabies shots must have been given within four weeks preceding arrival. The easiest way to bring a pet into the country is to bring the pet along as accompanying air baggage. Special rules apply to the importation of pet monkeys. Be sure to check with all airlines for their specific requirements.

Rabies is endemic in Pakistan, heartworm is present, and ticks are plentiful, even in the city. Vaccinate your pets as applicable for rabies, distemper, leptospirosis, hepatitis, parvo, and feline leukemia. Bring an ample supply of special medicines for your pet, including heartworm medicine, deworming medicines, flea/tick and mange/scabies preparations, pet vitamins, rawhide bones, and grooming needs. Ship bird seed and gravel, as the commissary only stocks dog and cat food and kitty litter.

There are a few veterinarians in Pakistan, but services and facilities are below U.S. standards. Fatal anesthesia overdosing during surgery is one risk to pets. There is one kennel of limited quality in Islamabad. There are no kennels in Karachi or Lahore. People with older animals or pets not in excellent health might want to consider leaving them behind. Between the climate and veterinary care, a tour in Pakistan can be hard on a family pet. Animals are not allowed in hotels in Pakistan.

If you plan to acquire a pet at post, consider including a shipping container in your HHE. Cat-sized kennels may be ordered through the internet.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 8/31/2004 7:08 AM

The currency of Pakistan is the rupee (Rs), which is divided into 100 paisa. The rate of exchange is was 57 rupees to the dollar. Paper money is used in notes from Rs. 5 to Rs. 1,000. Coins are in short supply.

Travelers are restricted in the amount of rupees they can bring into and out of the country. In Pakistan the rupee is the only currency that can be used.

Pakistan uses the metric system but be prepared to figure in miles and yards as well. Gasoline is sold by the liter (1.0567 quarts), cloth by the meter (39 inches), food by the kilogram (2.2 pounds), and distance is measured by the kilometer (0.625 miles).

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 8/31/2004 7:10 AM


All items imported duty-free must be for the exclusive use of the employee or their family members; they may not be imported for the purpose of sale or exchange. Free-entry property may be authorized for sale to other privileged persons.

Alcoholic beverages may not be brought into Pakistan, nor may they be given to or served to a Muslim or Pakistani by law.

Diplomatic personnel can import two personal cars, but can sell only one in Pakistan. Many diplomatic and privileged personnel order a new car, duty-free, from Japan. The car, which may take 4–5 months to arrive, cannot be cleared through customs until the employee is in the country. Transit insurance should be arranged to final destination.

Nondiplomatic personnel are not allowed to purchase a duty-free car in-country. They are allowed to import either new or used cars free of taxes only during the first 6 months of their tour. Nondiplomats’ cars can not be sold to a diplomat or to the Government of Pakistan unless customs are paid.

U.S. Government personnel must pay sales taxes on gasoline subject to rebate. Vehicles must be insured; this can be done by a local insurance company. Liability insurance in Pakistan is inexpensive. Bring proof of a 5-year claim-free record from your U.S. insurance company for a reduced premium rate. It is the responsibility of all Mission personnel to obtain a Pakistani driver’s license before driving in this country. You must have a valid U.S. driver’s license and two photos. Temporary or international licenses are not accepted. The driving age is 18 years.

Personnel planning to sell an automobile when leaving should be aware that regulations differ for diplomatic, privileged, and non-privileged personnel. In general, the seller is responsible for payment of taxes, if due. The seller must not deliver an automobile until a “no objection certificate” has been issued by the Ministry of Financial Affairs. Forms for the application to sell a personally owned vehicle are available at the GSO and must be approved by the administrative counselor, Islamabad (see policy on “Importation and Sale of Vehicles/Personal Property”) before the employee’s departing air ticket is issued.

Personnel planning to sell luxury items (stereo and radio equipment, tape recorders, video cassette recorders, cameras, projection equipment, furniture, and mechanical equipment) must obtain approval of the Government of Pakistan. Facilities

U.S. Government personnel usually have their salaries and allowances directly deposited in their bank in the U.S. A checking account in a U.S. bank is essential to pay commissary and American Club bills in Pakistan. It is also necessary in order to pay bills due in the U.S., to pay for items ordered through the mail, and to purchase travelers checks available at the commissary or Bank of America, which provides accommodation exchange services at Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore. Personal checks of a reasonable amount will be exchanged for rupees at the Embassy and Missions by the Bank of America cashier at those locations, and by the consulate cashier in Peshawar, during specified hours.

An account with a Pakistani bank is easy to open although not considered necessary.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 8/31/2004 7:10 AM

These titles are provided as a general indication of the material available on this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

Blood, Peter R., ed. Pakistan: A Country Study. 6th ed. Federal Research Division, Library of Congress: Washington, 1995.

Burke, S. M. and Lawrence Ziring. Pakistan’s Foreign Policy: An Historical Analysis. Oxford University Press: Karachi, 1990.

Burki, Shahid Javed and Robert LaPorte, Jr., eds. Pakistan’s Development Priorities: Choices for the Future. Oxford University Press: Karachi, 1984.

Collins, Larry and Dominique LaPierre. Freedom at Midnight. Simon & Schuster: New York, 1975.

Cohen, Stephen P. The Pakistan Army. 2nd ed. Oxford University Press: Karachi, 1992.

Durrani, Tehmina. My Feudal Lord. Vanguard Press: Lahore, 1991.

Hasan, Aitzaz. The Indus Saga and the Making of Pakistan. Oxford University Press: Karachi, 1996.

Jalal, Ayesha. Democracy and Authoritarianism in South Asia: A Comparative and Historical Perspective. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1995.

Kipling, Rudyard. Plain Tales From the Hills. Macmillan: New York, 1888.

Lamb, Alastair. Kashmir: A Disputed Legacy. Roxford Books: Hertfordshire [England], 1991.

Mittmann, Karin and Zafar Ihsan. Culture Shock! Pakistan. Graphic Arts Center: Portland, 1991.

Mumtaz, Khawar and Farida Shaheed. Women of Pakistan. Vanguard Press: Lahore, 1987.

Mustafa, Sayyid Ghulam. General Zia, His Winged Death and the Aftermath. Shah Abdul Latif Cultural Society: Karachi, 1994.

Naipaul, V.S. Among the Believers. Penguin Books: New York, 1981.

Newberg, Paula R. Judging the State: Courts and Constitutional Politics in Pakistan. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1995.

Rafat, Taufiq. Arrival of the Monsoon: Collected Poems. Vanguard Books: Lahore, 1985.

Russell, Ralph. Hidden in the Lute: An Anthology of Two Centuries of Urdu Literature. Carcanet: Manchester, 1995.

Santiago, Jose Roleo. Pakistan—A Travel Survival Kit. Lonely Planet Publications, 1987.

Shaw, Isobel. Pakistan Handbook. The Guidebook Company Limited, 1989.

Shafqat, Sayeed. Contemporary Issues in Pakistan Studies. Gautam Publishers: Lahore, 1995.

Sidhwa, Bapsi. The Crow Eaters: A Novel. 2nd ed. Milkweed Editions: Minneapolis, 1992.

Sidhwa, Bapsi. The Pakistani Bride. Penguin Books, 1990.

Sisson, Richard. War and Secession: Pakistan, India, and the Creation of Bangladesh. University of California Press: Berkeley, 1990.

Syed, Muhammed Aslam, ed. Islam and Democracy in Pakistan. National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research: Islamabad, 1995.

Wolpert, Stanley. Jinnah of Pakistan. Oxford University Press: New York, 1985.

Local Holidays Last Updated: 8/31/2004 7:22 AM

*Eid-ul-Azaha Feb. 2 & 3 *9th an d10th of Muharram Mar. 2 & 3 Pakistan Day March 23 *Eid-i-Milad-un-Nabi May 5 Independence Day Aug. 14 *Eid-ul-Fitr Nov. 15-17 Birthday of Quaid-i-Azam Dec. 24

Year: 2004

*Tentative dates, they are subject to the appearance of the moon. These lunar calendar holidays occur about 11 days earlier each succeeding year. Avoid arriving in Pakistan on a holiday. Take special care to avoid arriving on Eid-ul-Azha, Eid-ul-Fitr, and the 9th and 10th of Muharram.

All posts generally observe Pakistani holidays except when they fall on a Saturday or Sunday, already non-working days.

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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