Pakistan is an Islamic Republic and its capital is Islamabad. Pakistan has four provinces: Baluchistan, North West Frontier Province (NWFP), Punjab and Sindh. Their respective capitals are: Quetta, Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi. In addition to these provinces is the Federally Administered Northern Area (FANA), which is divided into the districts of Diamer, Ghanche, Ghizer, Gilgit and Skardu. There are also seven Federally Administered Tribal Areas. (FATA)
Pakistan has a federal structure. Parliament consists of the Lower House (National Assembly) and the Upper House (Senate). Members of the National Assembly are directly elected and their term of office is five years. The National Assembly determines the major policy issues and passes an annual budget and legislation. . It elects the Prime Minister from among its members.
The Prime Minister forms the cabinet from among members of the Assembly and the Senate. Provinces have their own elected legislative assemblies and Chief Ministers. The Provincial Assemblies elect the majority of the members of the Upper House.
Banks: Monday to Thursday and Saturday 9.00 a.m. until 1.00 p.m., Friday 9.00 am.- 12 noon.
Government Offices: Monday to Thursday and Saturday 8.00 a.m. until 4.00 p.m., Friday 8.30 a.m. until midday.
Private Businesses: Monday to Thursday and Saturday 9.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m., Friday 9.00 a.m. until midday. Sunday is a weekly holiday in Pakistan. It should be noted that shorter working hours are observed during Ramadan (fasting month).
The basic unit of currency is the Rupee, which is divided into 100 paisa. Currency notes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 rupees are currently in use. Coins of 5, 10,25, 50 paisas and 1 rupee are in circulation.
Visitors should remember that Pakistan is a Muslim country and dress accordingly. Shorts, in general, are inappropriate for men and women. Also, women should wear long skirts and long sleeved tops.
Tap Water is not safe to drink. Bottled water is available at major towns and most tourist attractions.
Cars in Pakistan drive on the Left side. International or national licenses are valid and all cars must be insured and registered. The minimum driving age is 18 years. The speed limit is 65 kph on most roads.
CAR RENTAL: Private cars for hire (with a driver) are available from rent-a-car companies and Tourist Information Centers. Cars without drivers, however, are more difficult to hire as a personal or cash guarantee is required.
Pakistan's major exports include raw cotton and cotton products, rice, fish and fish products, carpets and rugs, leather and leather goods, sports and surgical goods. Major imports include tea, petroleum and its products, edible oils, chemical fertilizers, milk and milk foods, agricultural machinery, transport equipment, medicines, iron and steel. Pakistan's major trading partners are the USA, Japan, Germany, and UK. Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia and China.
220 V. 50 Hz AC.
Police: Tel: 15 (in most cities)
Fire: Tel: 16
Ambulance: Tel: 115
Export Restrictions for Tourists Leaving:
Foreign tourists can export precious stones or jewelry (except gold jewelry) up to a value of Rs.2000 without any permission or duty.
Yellow Fever vaccination certificates are required for travelers arriving from endemic zones. Vaccination against cholera, hepatitis, typhoid and polio is recommended. A malaria risk exists in Pakistan throughout the year in areas below 2000 metres. All foreigners coming to stay in Pakistan for over one year, require an AIDs-free certificate.
The national language is Urdu, while the official language is English. Some of the main regional languages include Sindhi, Baluchi, Punjabi and Pushto.
The import of liquor is not allowed. However, if somebody brings in some quantity by mistake they should declare it to the Customs Officer who shall detail the liquor against a receipt and it will be returned to the tourist on departure from Pakistan. Non-Muslim foreign tourists can purchase liquor from an authorized vendor in Pakistan (usually a five- or four-star hotel) against a permit. This permit can be obtained from the Excise and Taxation Officer of the respective area. Hotels having a liquor vending license can also sell liquor to non-Muslim foreign tourists staying in the hotel. Be aware that drinking in public places is prohibited.
Pakistan has a Population of over 130 million. At present, the growth rate is 2.8 percent per annum. The major cities are Karachi (10 million. Lahore (5.5 million). Faisalabad (2 million), Rawalpindi (928,000), Hyderabad (800,000), Islamabad (340,286).
Pakistan Railways in all classes allows a 25 percent concession foreign tourists (both for groups and individuals). This concession is allowed on production of a recommendation certificate by any PTDC Tourist Information Center and original passport, to the Divisional Superintendent of Pakistan Railways (at Karachi, Quetta. Lahore, Sukkur, Multan, Peshawar and Rawalpindi and Station Masters of other principal stations). Foreign students are allowed 50 percent concession on Pakistan Railways on production of PTDC certificate, Student Card and their passport.
Muslim (97%), Hindu (1.5%), Christian (1%) and several other minorities.
TELEPHONE INFORMATION AND CODES
Faisalabad: 411, Hyderahad: 221. Islamabad: 51, Karachi: 21, Lahore: 42, Multan: 61, Rawalpindi: 51, Gilgit : 572, Skardu: 575. Peshawar: 521. Outgoing calls can be made via an operator or from ISD Public Call Offices (PCO). For internal calls, Card Phone booths are installed at main business streets in most cities and towns. Public telephone, telex and fax facilities are available at the Customers Service Centers (CSC) or in general stores and shops, identified by a sign displaying 'PCO' on green boards.
Pakistan Standard Time is GMT plus 5 hours. It gets dark at about 5 p.m. in winter and around 7.30 p.m. in summer.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
The metric system is used as the official system of weights and measures in Pakistan.