1 Kigalrajas

Our Country Pakistan Essay Wikipedia En

"Fourteenth of August" redirects here. For other uses, see 14 August.

Not to be confused with Pakistan Day.

Independence Day of Pakistan
یوم آزادی‬

The flag of Pakistan hoisted at the mount of the Pakistan Monument in Islamabad.

Official nameIndependence Day of Pakistan
Also calledYoum-e-Azaadi
Observed byPakistan
TypeNational holiday
SignificanceCommemorates the independence of Pakistan
CelebrationsFlag hoisting, parades, award ceremonies, singing patriotic songs and the national anthem, speeches by the president and prime minister, entertainment and cultural programs
Date14 August
Next time14 August 2018 (2018-08-14)

Independence Day (Urdu: یوم آزادی‬‎; Yaum-e Āzādī), observed annually on 14 August, is a national holiday in Pakistan. It commemorates the day when Pakistan achieved independence and was declared a sovereign nation following the end of the British Raj in 1947. Pakistan came into existence as a result of the Pakistan Movement, which aimed for the creation of an independent Muslim state in the north-western regions of South Asia via partition. The movement was led by the All-India Muslim League under the leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The event was brought forth by the Indian Independence Act 1947 under which the British Raj gave independence to the Dominion of Pakistan which comprised West Pakistan (present-day Pakistan) and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). In the Islamic calendar, the day of independence coincided with Ramadan 27, the eve of which, being Laylat al-Qadr, is regarded as sacred by Muslims.

The main Independence Day ceremony takes place in Islamabad, where the national flag is hoisted at the Presidential and Parliament buildings. It is followed by the national anthem and live televised speeches by leaders. Usual celebratory events and festivities for the day include flag-raising ceremonies, parades, cultural events, and the playing of patriotic songs. A number of award ceremonies are often held on this day, and Pakistanis hoist the national flag atop their homes or display it prominently on their vehicles and attire.


See also: History of Pakistan


Main articles: Pakistan Movement and Two-nation theory

The area constituting Pakistan was historically a part of the British Indian Empire throughout much of the nineteenth century. The East India Company begun their trade in South Asia in the 17th century, and the company rule started from 1757 when they won the Battle of Plassey. Following the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the Government of India Act 1858 led to the British Crown assuming direct control over much of the Indian subcontinent. All-India Muslim League was founded by the All India Muhammadan Educational Conference at Dhaka, in 1906, in the context of the circumstances that were generated over the division of Bengal in 1905 and the party aimed at creation of a separate Muslim state.[1]

The period after World War I was marked by British reforms such as the Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms, but it also witnessed the enactment of the repressive Rowlatt Act and strident calls for self-rule by Indian activists. The widespread discontent of this period crystallized into nationwide non-violent movements of non-cooperation and civil disobedience.[2] The idea for a separate Muslim state in the northwest regions of South Asia was introduced by Allama Iqbal in his speech as the President of the Muslim League in December 1930.[3] Three years later, the name of "Pakistan" as a separate state was proposed in a declaration made by Choudhary Rahmat Ali, in the form of an acronym. It was to comprise the five "northern units" of Punjab, Afghania (erstwhile North-West Frontier Province), Kashmir, Sind, and Baluchistan. Like Iqbal, Bengal was left out of the proposal made by Rahmat Ali.[4]

In the 1940s, as the Indian independence movement intensified, an upsurge of Muslim nationalism helmed by the All-India Muslim League took place, of which Muhammad Ali Jinnah was the most prominent leader.[2]:195–203 Being a political party to secure the interests of the Muslim diaspora in British India, the Muslim League played a decisive role during the 1940s in the Indian independence movement and developed into the driving force behind the creation of Pakistan as a Muslim state in South Asia.[1] During a three-day general session of All-India Muslim League from 22–24 March 1940, a formal political statement was presented, known as the Lahore Resolution, which called on for the creation of an independent state for Muslims.[5] In 1956, 23 March also became the date on which Pakistan transitioned from a dominion to a republic, and is known as Pakistan Day.[6]


In 1946, the Labour government in Britain, exhausted by recent events such as World War II and numerous riots, realized that it had neither the mandate at home, the support internationally, nor the reliability of the British Indian Army for continuing to control an increasingly restless British India. The reliability of the native forces for continuing their control over an increasingly rebellious India diminished, and so the government decided to end the British rule of the Indian Subcontinent.[2]:167, 203[7][8][9] In 1946, the Indian National Congress, being a secular party, demanded a single state.[10] The Muslim majorities, who disagreed with the idea of single state, stressed the idea of a separate Pakistan as an alternative.[11]:203 The 1946 Cabinet Mission to India was sent to try to reach a compromise between Congress and the Muslim League, proposing a decentralized state with much power given to local governments, but it was rejected by both of the parties and resulted in a number of riots in South Asia.[12]

Eventually, in February 1947, Prime Minister Clement Attlee announced that the British government would grant full self-governance to British India by June 1948 at the latest.[13] On 3 June 1947, the British government announced that the principle of division of British India into two independent states was accepted.[13] The successor governments would be given dominion status and would have an implicit right to secede from the British Commonwealth. ViceroyMountbatten chose 15 August, the second anniversary of Japan's surrender in the World War II, as the date of power transfer.[14] He chose 14 August as the date of the ceremony of power transfer to Pakistan because he wanted to attend the ceremonies in both India and Pakistan.[14][15]

The Indian Independence Act 1947 (10 & 11 Geo 6 c. 30) passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom divided British India into the two new independent dominions; the Dominion of India (later to become the Republic of India) and the Dominion of Pakistan (later to become the Islamic Republic of Pakistan). The act provided a mechanism for division of the Bengal and Punjab provinces between the two nations (see partition of India), establishment of the office of the Governor-General, conferral of complete legislative authority upon the respective Constituent Assemblies, and division of joint property between the two new countries.[16][17] The act later received royal assent on 18 July 1947.[13] The partition was accompanied by violent riots and mass casualties, and the displacement of nearly 15 million people due to religious violence across the subcontinent; millions of Muslim, Sikh and Hindu refugees trekked the newly drawn borders to Pakistan and India respectively in the months surrounding independence.[18] On 14 August 1947, the new Dominion of Pakistan became independent and Muhammad Ali Jinnah was sworn in as its first governor general in Karachi.[19] Independence was marked with widespread celebration, but the atmosphere remained heated given the communal riots prevalent during independence in 1947.[2]

The date of independence[edit]

Since the transfer of power took place on the midnight of 14 and 15 August, the Indian Independence Act 1947 recognised 15 August as the birthday of both Pakistan and India. The act states;[20]

"As from the fifteenth day of August, nineteen hundred and forty-seven, two independent Dominions shall be set up in India, to be known respectively as India and Pakistan."

Jinnah in his first broadcast to the nation stated;[21]

"August 15 is the birthday of the independent and sovereign state of Pakistan. It marks the fulfilment of the destiny of the Muslim nation which made great sacrifices in the past few years to have its homeland."

The first commemorative postage stamps of the country, released in July 1948, also gave 15 August1994 as the independence day,[22] however in subsequent years 14 August was adopted as the independence day.[23] This is because Mountbatten administered the independence oath to Jinnah on the 14th, before leaving for India where the oath was scheduled on the midnight of the 15th.[24] The night of 14–15 August 1947 coincided with 27 Ramadan 1366 of the Islamic calendar, which Muslims regard as a sacred night.[25][26]


See also: Pakistani nationalism

Official celebrations[edit]

The independence day is one of the six public holidays observed in Pakistan and is celebrated all across the country.[27] To prepare and finalise the plans for independence day celebrations, meetings are held in the provincial capitals by local governments which are attended by government officials, diplomats, and politicians. Public organisations, educational institutions, and government departments organise seminars, sports competitions, and social and cultural activities leading up to the independence day.[28] In Karachi, drives are initiated to clean and prepare the Mazar-e-Quaid (Jinnah Mausoleum) for the celebration.[29]

The official festivities take place in Islamabad and commence with the raising of the national flag on the Parliament House and the Presidency followed by a 31-gun salute in the capital[30] and a 21-gun salute in provincial capitals.[31][32] The President and Prime Minister of Pakistan address the nation in live telecasts. Government officials, political leaders and celebrities deliver messages or speeches during rallies, ceremonies and events, highlighting Pakistani achievements, goals set for the future, and praise the sacrifices and efforts of national heroes.[33] Government buildings including the Parliament House, Supreme Court, President House and Prime Minister's Secretariat are decorated and illuminated with lights and bright colours.[34] A change of guard takes place at national monuments by the Armed Forces.[34] The Army, Air Force and Navy feature prominently in independence day parades.[35] In the cities around the country, the flag hoisting ceremony is carried out by the nazim (mayor) belonging to the respective constituency, and at various public and private departments the ceremony is conducted by a senior officer of that organisation.[29] In 2017, the Pakistan International Airlines introduced a special in-flight jam session to entertain passengers traveling on Independence Day, featuring artists singing national songs on-board a domestic flight.[36]

International governments, leaders and public figures also convey their greetings on the occasion.[37][38][39] Overseas dignitaries are invited as chief guests in ceremonies, while foreign military contingents often participate in parades.[40][35] National flags are displayed on major roads and avenues such as Shahrah-e-Faisal, Shahara-e-Quaideen, and Mazar-e-Quaid Road, leading up to Jinnah's mausoleum in Karachi. Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore, where the Pakistan Resolution was passed in 1940, is fully illuminated on the eve of the independence day to signify its importance in the creation of Pakistan.[29]

Public celebrations[edit]

As the month of August begins, special stalls, fun fairs and shops are set up across the country for the sale of national flags, buntings, banners and posters, badges, pictures of national heroes, multimedia and other celebratory items. Vehicles, private buildings, homes, and streets are decorated with national flags, candles, oil lamps, pennants and buntings.[41][42] Businesses engage in rigorous marketing,[43] as do leading designer fashion outlets which stock independence-themed clothing, jewellery and self-adornments.[44]

The day begins with special prayers for the integrity, solidarity, and development of Pakistan in mosques and religious places across the country.[28] Citizens attending independence day parades and other events are usually dressed in Pakistan’s official colours, green and white.[34] Many people meet their friends and relatives, dine over Pakistani food,[42][45] and visit recreational spots to mark the holiday. Public functions including elaborate firework shows, street parades, seminars, televised transmissions, music and poetry contests, children's shows and art exhibitions are a common part of the celebrations.[34][43][46] Along with flag hoisting, the national anthem is sung at various government places, schools, residences, and monuments on the day, and patriotic slogans such as Pakistan Zindabad are raised.[34] Musical concerts and dance performances are arranged both inside and outside the country, featuring popular artists.[47][43] Homage is paid to the people who lost their lives during the migration and riots which followed independence in 1947, as well as martyrs of the Pakistan Army and recipients of Nishan-e-Haider, and political figures, famous artists and scientists.[47]

Immigrant communities in Pakistan partake in the festivities as well.[48] The Pakistani diaspora around the world organises cultural events to celebrate independence day; public parades are held in cities with large Pakistani populations, such as New York, London and Dubai.[49][50][51][52] In addition, Kashmiris from Jammu and Kashmir who hold pro-Pakistan sentiments are known to observe the day, causing friction with Indian authorities.[53]

Security measures[edit]

Security measures in the country are intensified as the independence day approaches, especially in major cities and in troubled areas. The security is set up after various representatives of intelligence and investigation agencies meet. High alert is declared in sensitive areas such as the country's capital, to restrict security threats.[54] Despite this, there have been instances where attacks have occurred on independence day by insurgents who boycott the celebrations as a part of their protest.[55][56]

On 13 August 2010, the country witnessed floods causing deaths of 1,600 people and affecting 14 million lives. On account of the calamity, the president made an announcement that there would not be any official celebration of the independence day that year.[57]

In popular culture[edit]

See also: Culture of Pakistan

From the beginning of August, radio channels play milli naghmay (patriotic songs) and various TV shows and programmes highlighting the history, culture, and achievements of Pakistan are broadcast. Popular national songs like Dil Dil Pakistan and Jazba-e-Junoon are played and sung all over the country.[58] New patriotic songs are also released each year.[59] The film Jinnah released in 1998 follows the story of Jinnah and details the events leading up to the independence of Pakistan.[60] The events during the independence of Pakistan are depicted in many literary and scholarly works. Khushwant Singh's novel Train to Pakistan,[61]Saadat Hasan Manto's short story Toba Tek Singh,[62] Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre's book Freedom at Midnight, and poetic works of Faiz Ahmad Faiz chronicle events during the independence of Pakistan. Ali Pur Ka Aeeli by Mumtaz Mufti is an autobiography narrating the account of bringing his family from Batala to Lahore. Khaak aur Khoon (Dirt and Blood) by Naseem Hijazi describes the sacrifices of Muslims of South Asia during independence.[63]Dastaan, a Pakistani drama serial, based on the novel Bano by Razia Butt, also tells the story of Pakistan Movement and events of independence of Pakistan.[64]

Pakistan Post released four commemorative stamps in July 1948 for the country's first independence anniversary. Three of the four stamps depicted places from Pakistan while the fourth stamp depicted a motif. The stamps were inscribed "15th August 1947" because of the prevailing confusion of actual date of independence.[22] In 1997, Pakistan celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence. The State Bank of Pakistan issued a special banknote of rupee 5 depicting the tomb of Baha-ud-din Zakariya on 13 August 1997, commemorating the 50th independence day. On the front of the note a star burst is encircled by Fifty Years Anniversary of Freedom in Urdu and '1947–1997' in numerals.[65]

In November 1997, the 1997 Wills Golden Jubilee Tournament was held in Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore to mark the golden jubilee. During the final of the tournament, Pakistan Cricket Board honoured all the living test cricket captains of Pakistan by parading them in horse-drawn carriages and presenting them with gold medals.[66] On 14 August 2004, Pakistan displayed the largest flag of the time with the dimensions of 340 by 510 feet (100 m × 160 m).[67]

Since 2011, the Google Pakistan homepage has featured special doodles designed with Pakistani symbols to mark Pakistan's Independence Day.[68][69][70][71] Such symbols have included the star and crescent, national monuments and colours, historic and artistic representations, geographic landscapes and other national symbols.[72][73]Facebook allows its users in Pakistan to post an independence day status with a Pakistani flag icon on it; or greets users in the country with a special message on the home page.[74][75]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ abJalal, Ayesha (1994) The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-45850-4
  2. ^ abcdMetcalf, B.; Metcalf, T. R. (9 October 2006). A Concise History of Modern India (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-68225-1. 
  3. ^Shafique Ali Khan (1987), Iqbal's Concept of Separate North-west Muslim State: A Critique of His Allahabad Address of 1930, Markaz-e-Shaoor-o-Adab, Karachi, OCLC 18970794
  4. ^Choudhary Rahmat Ali, (1933), Now or Never; Are We to Live or Perish Forever?, pamphlet, published 28 January
  5. ^"Lahore resolution". Story of Pakistan: A Multimedia Journey. 1 June 2003. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  6. ^John Stewart Bowman (2000). Columbia chronologies of Asian history and culture. Columbia University Press. p. 372. ISBN 978-0-231-11004-4. Retrieved 22 March 2011. 
  7. ^Hyam, Ronald (2006). Britain's declining empire: the road to decolonisation, 1918–1968. Cambridge University Press. p. 106. ISBN 978-0-521-68555-9.  
  8. ^Brown, Judith Margaret (1994). Modern India: the origins of an Asian democracy. Oxford University Press. p. 330. ISBN 978-0-19-873112-2.  
  9. ^Sarkar, Sumit (1983). Modern India, 1885–1947. Macmillan. p. 418. ISBN 978-0-333-90425-1.  
  10. ^Hanson, Eric O. (16 January 2006). Religion and politics in the international system today. Cambridge University Press,. p. 200. ISBN 0-521-61781-2. Retrieved 9 December 2011. 
  11. ^"South Asia | India state bans book on Jinnah". BBC News. 20 August 2009. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  12. ^*Wolpert, Stanley. 2006. Shameful Flight: The Last Years of the British Empire in India. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. 272 pages. ISBN 0-19-515198-4.
  13. ^ abcRomein, Jan (1962). The Asian Century: a History of Modern Nationalism in Asia. University of California Press. p. 357. ASIN B000PVLKY4. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  14. ^ abRead, Anthony; Fisher, David (1 July 1999). The Proudest Day: India's Long Road to Independence. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 459. ISBN 978-0-393-31898-2. Retrieved 4 August 2012. 
  15. ^"India and Pakistan celebrate Independence Day". The Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  16. ^"Indian Independence Act 1947". The National Archives, Her Majesty's Government. Retrieved 17 July 2012. 
  17. ^Laird, Kathleen Fenner (2007). Whose Islam? Pakistani women's political action groups speak out (PhD). Washington University. Retrieved 7 February 2012. 
  18. ^Keay, John (2000). India: A History. Grove Press. p. 508. ISBN 9780802137975.  
  19. ^"A call to duty". Government of Pakistan. Archived from the original on 28 October 2006. Retrieved 7 January 2007. 
  20. ^"Chapter 30"(PDF). Indian Independence Act, 1947. p. 3. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  21. ^"Pakistan coinage: 1947 – 1948". Chiefa Coins. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  22. ^ abZahedi, Mahbub Jamal (1997). Fifty years of Pakistan stamps. Sanna Publications. p. 17. 
  23. ^M,I, Choudhary (2006–2007). The Most Comprehensive Colour Catalogue Pakistan Postage Stamps (11 ed.). Lahore, Pakistan. p. 26. 
  24. ^Farooqui, Tashkeel Ahmed; Sheikh, Ismail (15 August 2016). "Was Pakistan created on August 14 or 15?". The Express Tribune. 
  25. ^Bhatti, M. Waqar. "Independence Day: muted affair?". The News International. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  27. ^Malik, Iftikhar Haider (2006). Culture and customs of Pakistan (Illustrated ed.). Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 152. ISBN 9780313331268. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  28. ^ ab"All set to celebrate I-Day". The Nation (Pakistani newspaper). 13 August 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  29. ^ abcSanain. "Independence Day Of Pakistan: Its History and Celebrations". Allvoices. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  30. ^"Independence Day: President, PM call for unity | Pakistan". Dawn (newspaper). 14 August 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  31. ^"Pakistani leaders call for unity on independence day". Xinhua News Agency. 14 August 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  32. ^"Pakistan turns green for Independence Day celebrations". The Express Tribune. 14 August 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  33. ^"14th August–independence day of Pakistan". Asian-women-magazine.com. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  34. ^ abcde"Independence day in Pakistan". Timeanddate. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  35. ^ abAnwar, Shahzad (14 August 2017). "All set to celebrate Independence Day". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 14 August 2017. 
  36. ^"Leo Twins surprise passengers on PIA flight with 'Dil Dil Pakistan'". The Nation. 14 August 2017. Retrieved 14 August 2017. 
  37. ^"Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on Pakistan's Independence Day". Prime Minister of Canada. 14 August 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2016. 
  38. ^"Statement by the President on Pakistan's Independence Day". White House. 13 August 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2016. 
  39. ^"Modi extends greetings to Pakistanis on Independence Day". The Express Tribune. 14 August 2015. Retrieved 14 August 2016. 
  40. ^"Chinese Vice Premier arrives in Pakistan for Independence Day celebrations". The Hindu. 13 August 2017. Retrieved 14 August 2017. 
  41. ^Muhammad, Peer (11 August 2011). "Independence day: prepping for celebrations as the city slumbers in Ramazan". The Express Tribune. Karachi. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  42. ^ abWaseem, Natasha (12 August 2017). "Pakistanis outside Pakistan: What August 14 means to them". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 14 August 2017. 
  43. ^ abc"Preparations to mark 70th Independence Day in full swing". The News. 12 August 2017. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
Jinnah chairing a session in Muslim League general session, where Pakistan Resolution was passed.
Cover of a press release; "Independence Anniversary Series" by the Press Information Department of Pakistan, in 1948 in relation to the country's first independence day which was celebrated on 15 August 1948.

The change of guard ceremony takes place at various monuments throughout the country. Here the Pakistan Navy cadets salute the tomb of the father of the nation, Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Girls lighting candles at midnight to celebrate the day

An office building in Islamabad illuminated by decorative lighting

WARNING: Most foreign governments advise against all nonessential travel to Pakistan due to continued violence. The Government of Pakistan maintains heightened security measures, especially in major cities, varying from day to day. For further information, see war zone safety.
Government travel advisories:Australia • Canada • New Zealand • United Kingdom • United States
Quick Facts
Government Islamic Federal Republic
Currency Rs. Pakistani rupee (PKR)
Area 803,940 km²
Population 162,419,946 (July 2006 est.)
LanguageUrdu (official, national) 8%, English (official, government), Punjabi 48%, Sindhi 12%, Seraiki 10%, Pashto 8%, Balochi 3%, Hindko 2%, Brahui 1%, Burushaski and others 8%
Religion Muslim 97%, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Sikhs and others 3%
Electricity 230V, 50Hz (Europlug & old British Plug)
Country code +92
Internet TLD .pk
Time Zone UTC+5 (UTC + 6 in summer)

Pakistan (Urdu: پاکستان) is a large country (1.5 times the size of France) in South-Central Asia at the crossroads of Central Asia, East Asia and South Asia and is a part of the Greater Middle East Region. Located along the Arabian Sea, it is surrounded by Afghanistan to the west and northwest, although Tajikistan is separated by the Wakhan Corridor, Iran to the southwest and also shares maritime boundary with Oman, The Republic of India is to the east, and China to the northeast. It is strategically located astride the ancient trade routes of the Khyber and Bolan passes between the countries of South-Central Asia and rest of Southern Asia.



The history of Pakistan traces back to the beginnings of human life in Southern Asia. Pakistan is home and heir to the infamous Indus Valley civilisation, which is amongst the oldest in the world. The earliest archaeological traces of Ancient Pakistanis are from 7000 BC in Mehrgarh, which grew to be the "Indus Valley Civilisation". By 3300 BC, this civilization had well-planned towns and well-laid roads, but gave no evidence of weapons or fortifications. This declined and disintegrated around 1900 BC, possibly due to drought and geological disturbances. By 3300 BC, this civilisation had well-planned towns and well-laid roads, but gave no evidence of weapons or fortifications. This declined and disintegrated around 1900 BC, possibly due to drought and geological disturbances. Most historians say that the Vedic people, or Aryans, were later migrants, who encountered a civilization in decline and perhaps hastened that decline. According to this view, the Vedic people eventually occupied most of North India, while the descendants of the Indus Valley cultures moved south and gave rise to the Dravidian culture. The minority view challenges this Aryan Migration theory, claiming that the Indus Valley people were in fact the ones who compiled the Vedas.

Prior to the 1st of November in 1857 colonial rule the area of Pakistan was the area from which the Muslims ruled over Central and Southern Asia for over 1,000 years. Because Pakistan was India it thus became part of the Imperial Indian Empire, both the countries share some of the history in the region but separated in 1947 in favour of self-rule due to state-led suppression of Muslims in British India.

The official name of Pakistan was used after the Independence and partitions of Bengal and the Punjab provincial regions within the former (British) India into the two sovereign nation-states of Modern India (Hindustan) and Pakistan in 1947. However, the word Pakistan was first used by Ch. Rehmat Ali back in 1933 in his declaration, Now or Never - calling for its separation from the Empire. Afterward, British-ruled India was divided into the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. A dispute over the Occupied territory of Indian-administered Kashmir is ongoing between Republic of India and Pakistan ever since 1947, three direct wars have been fought and over for this geostrategic Himalayan region respectively.


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


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


  • Eid-ul-Fitr - the largest holiday of the year, it celebrates the start of the holy month of Shawwal. Food is the highlight, and if you're lucky you'll be invited into a private home for a feast. Businesses close for at least a couple days if not a week.
  • Eid-ul-Azha - the festival of sacrifice, commemorates Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son
  • Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi - Birthday of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.W), varies according to Hijera calendar
  • Independence Day - 14 Aug
  • Quaid-e-Azam's deathday - 11 Sep
  • Quaid-e-Azam's birthday - 25 Dec
  • Ramadan - the 9th and holiest month in the Islamic calendar. Muslims fast every day for its duration and most restaurants will be closed until the fast breaks at dusk. Nothing (including water and cigarettes) is supposed to pass through the lips from dawn to sunset. Foreigners and travellers are exempt from this, but you should still refrain from doing it in public.


Azad Kashmir
Pakistan-administered portion of the Kashmir region
the largest and most remote province, its lack of infrastructure can make for rough traveling. Most foreign visitors here are just passing through from Iran, stopping briefly in Quetta
Federally Administered Tribal Areas
this area is mostly off-limits to foreigners, and is not under the control of Provicial Government instead affairs are federally administered through Governor of NWFP. Home to the legendary Khyber Pass, and the gun making city of Darra Adam Khel.
Gilgit-Baltistan (formerly known as the Northern Areas)
home to some of the world's tallest mountains, it's brimming with dramatically fantastic landscapes and can easily compete with Nepal for trekking opportunities
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province)
Home of the rugged Pashtuns, for some it's forbidding and mysterious... yet below the surface are some of the most hospitable people in the country
The most populous and agriculturally fertile region in the country and home to many historical shrines and mosques
Most visitors head for Karachi or the ancient ruins of Moenjodaro.


Ramadan dates

  • 16 May–14 Jun 2018 (1439 AH)
  • 6 May–3 Jun 2019 (1440 AH)
  • 24 Apr–23 May 2020 (1441 AH)

Exact dates depend on local astronomical observations and vary from one country to another.
Ramadan ends with the Eid ul-Fitr festival extending over several days.

Pakistan has many cities and towns. Below are nine of the most notable. Other cities are listed under their specific regions.

  • Islamabad - The Federal capital, a relatively new planned city with a much more laid-back feel than the rest of the country's cities
  • Karachi - the Financial capital and the largest city of the country, it's an industrial port city and the provincial capital of Sindh
  • Lahore - City of the Mughals, bustling and a very historical city that shouldn't be missed.
  • Multan - The City of Saints, famous for blue pottery, ornamental glasswork, and Khussa - a type of shoes
  • Quetta - a large, beautiful and slightly unruly city in the southern state of Balochistan, you'll pass through here en route to or from Iran
  • Sialkot - The city of sports goods, famous for its exports industry, one of the oldest cities in the region

Other destinations[edit]

  • Hunza Valley – one of the more stunning and popular parts of the high mountain areas, some liken it to paradise on Earth. Supposedly the setting for James Hilton's Shangri-La, and the valley lives up to that reputation.
  • Skardu - is a major tourism, trekking and expedition hub in Gilgit–Baltistan. Popular among trekkers and mountaineers from around the world due to Mount K2. It is also famous for its Shangrila resort and ancient forts such as Kharphocho, Shigar and Khaplu.
  • Murree - a popular Himalayan hill station, one hour drive from Islamabad
  • Mountain peaks and glaciers – Gilgit-Baltistan is home to some of the highest mountains in the world, including K2, Rakaposhi and Nanga Parbat, and offer incredible trekking opportunities. In an area of about 500 kms in width and 350 kms in depth, is found the most dense collection of some of the highest and precipitous peaks in the world, boasting more than 700 peaks above 6000 metres, and more than 160 peaks above 7000 metres.
  • Kalasha Valleys – witness the decline of a truly unique culture in Chitral District
  • Deserts – Pakistan is home to the Thar desert in Sindh and the Cholistan desert in the Punjab, which it shares with neighboring India.
  • Beaches – Pakistan is home to some of the worlds most beautiful beaches located between Karachi and Gwadar along Makran coastal highway. The Makran Coastal Highway is well known as one of the most scenic drives starting from Karachi and going all the way to the Iranian Border. The route takes nine hours to complete at a leisurely pace with no stops. Other popular beaches include French Beach, Hawksbay to name a few.
  • Archaelogical treasures – the country's rich history has left many things to explore; Taxila, Moenjodaro, Thatta and Harappa are some of the more famous

See also: Sacred sites of the Indian sub-continent

Get in[edit]


Visa Restrictions:

Entry will be refused to citizens of Israel, except those with diplomatic passports. Israeli stamps and visas usually pose no problems for entry into Pakistan, though you may be subject to more stringent questioning by immigration officers.

The Government of Pakistan derives its economy of foreign currency revenues by requiring visas from almost all nationalities. These are usually easier to obtain in your home country, though recently the individual missions around the world have been given more authority to issue visas without checking with Islamabad, which should help in getting applications turned around quicker.

Nationals of Iceland and the Maldives may enter visa-free for stays of up to 3 months. Nationals of Nepal and Samoa may enter visa-free for 1 month. Nationals of Tonga and Trinidad and Tobago do not need a visa, and can stay for an unlimited amount of time.

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

Nationals of Turkey with valid visa for the Schengen Area, United Kingdom or the United States can obtain a visa on arrival.

Nationals of most other countries (and those not wanting to travel with a tour operator and group) need to apply in advance for a visa, which is usually issued for 30-90 days depending on nationality and where you apply. Double-entries are sometimes given, but be clear and persistent that you need this when applying.

Indian nationals can apply for 30 day tourist visas but must travel in a group through an authorised tour operator. Visitor visas to meet relatives or friends are more easy to obtain, and come with some restrictions. Religious visas are granted for groups of 10 or more for 15 days.

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

Holders of Taiwan passports are refused entry except in airport transit.

Business visas are now being issued for up to 5 years, multiple entry, as soon as 24 hours before arrival.

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

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

The High Commission for Pakistan in New Delhi issues visas with varying degrees of difficulty, taking at least 1 day (and sometimes several) to process the application. Applications are only accepted in the mornings c. 09:00-11:00. Arrive early and expect the process to take a few hours and possibly a few return visits. Window 5 is for foreign tourist and business visas (under the big white sign).

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

By plane[edit]

Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad are the main gateways to Pakistan by air. However, there are 134 airfields in Pakistan. Six other international airports are in Quetta,Gawadar, Peshawar, Sialkot, Multan, Rahim Yar Khan and Faisalabad.

  • Jinnah International Airport in Karachi[3] is served by many international airlines, including Air Arabia, Air China, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, Cathy Pacific, Etihad, Emirates, Flydubai, GMG Airlines, Gulf, Qatar Airways, Saudi Arabian Airlines, SriLankan Airlines, Iran Air, Iraqi Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Oman Air, Thai Airways , and Turkish Airlines . It's also the main hub of the national carrier "PIA"and 2 private airlines (Air Blue and Shaheen Air).
  • Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore[4] has been completely renovated with a new terminal for international arrivals and departures. Many airlines are currently operating to the airport including Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Gulf Air, Pakistan International (PIA), Saudi Arabian Airlines, Thai Airways, Kuwait Airways, Oman Air, Uzbekistan Airways and two private airlines from Pakistan.
  • Benazir Bhutto International Airport (Islamabad International Airport)[5] is currently in review to be expanded and modernized to meet the needs of the future passenger numbers as demand for air travel has increased dramatically. There are many airlines operating into Islamabad including many of the above with Ariana Afghan Airlines, Kam Air, Kyrgystan and China Southern Airlines. The only problem is that the airport is also used by Government officials as well as arrivals from foreign diplomats so the airport may shut down as security is increased so flights are delayed. Despite the no-smoking signs, smokers puff way freely in the departure lounge.

Whatever airport you arrive (or even depart), airport staff are certain to demand a bribe, especially from foreigners. Beware of anyone who insists on helping you- they won't be so friendly when demanding you pay them. Furthermore, there is NO special airport tax due at check-in, despite what your check-in clerk might tell you.

By train[edit]

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

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

From Iran: There is only one link, from Zahedan to Quetta. Pakistan has train links with India and Iran, though none of these trains are the fastest or most practical way to enter Pakistan. Should speed be a priority it is better to take the bus, or if you are really in a hurry, to fly, however the trains are sights in their own right. Nowadays Pakistan Railways is going through recession. The number of trains has been lessened and trains don't usually reach the destinations in time.

By car[edit]

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

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

From Afghanistan:

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

By bus[edit]

From India: While there is international service running from Delhi to Lahore it is just as fast, much more flexible, and much cheaper to take the journey by stringing together local transport and crossing the border on foot. As of October 2009, the bus was Rs. 1500. The journey details can be found here: http://dtc.nic.in/lahorebus.htm. You cannot buy the ticket on the spot, rather you will need to show up a few days before at Delhi Gate with photocopies of your Pakistani and Indian visas. The bus leaves at 6 a.m. but you will need to be at Delhi Gate at 4 a.m. to check in for it.

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

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

Get around[edit]

Getting around the country has become much easier in recent years with the completion of some motorways, and an increase in private airlines.


There are three good online maps for Pakistan; Travelo Pakistan Map, Naqsha, and Google Maps. Whilst the cities are well covered, roads in rural areas are not, with many minor roads missing - Google Maps in particular has a worrying habit of marking dried up river beds as minor roads, so if exploring out in the sticks it is a good idea to use Google Earth to double check your route.

Nelles produces a good printed map of Pakistan - this map and others are available in Saeed Book Bank in F7 markaz in Islamabad - and at cheaper prices than available online from Western booksellers.

By plane[edit]

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) [6] serves numerous domestic destinations and is the only airline to serve the three airports in the north of interest to trekkers or climbers: Chitral, Gilgit, and Skardu. There are usually two flights from Islamabad to these cities daily, but they are often canceled due to bad weather, and often over-booked — show up early to guarantee a seat.

Other domestic carriers include Shaheen Air International[7] and Airblue[8].

By train[edit]

Pakistan Railway [9] provides passenger rail service. The stations tend not to have their timetables in English, but sales agents can usually explain everything to you. There are several different classes of fares depending on amenities. Foreign tourists and students with an ISIC card can get 25% and 50% discounts, respectively, by first visiting the PTDC (Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation) office, getting q verification certificate there, and bringing it with them to the train's commercial ticket office (which is different from the regular ticket office, but usually close by).

By bus[edit]

A large portion of travel between cities in Pakistan is carried out by bus. Travelling between Karachi and any of the country's other major cities by bus may take days, travel by bus is often the cheapest and most convenient alternative. The Daewoo Sammi company [10] runs a regular bus service between several major cities, with air-conditioned buses and seats booked one day ahead. While rather unexpensive, they are still almost five times as expensive as the cheap and uncomplicated rides offered by minibuses or larger buses between the major bus stations of the cities. Northern Areas Transport Corporation (NATCO) [11] runs buses between Islamabad and Gilgit-Baltistan region. Fares are often (though not always) paid directly on the bus, there is no aircondition, and sometimes very little knee space, but you get where you are going all the same, and I have never met with anything but kind interest and friendly conversation on my many rides. Buses leave almost incessantly from the major bus stations for all the major cities, and many smaller locations, so booking ahead is neither possible nor necessary on the simpler buses. When travelling between major cities, smaller buses are to be preferred over the larger ones, as the larger ones tend to take up passagers along the way, and therefore travel more slowly.

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

By rickshaw[edit]

For local transport within cities, auto rickshaws are a cheap and flexible alternative. A development of the bicycle rickshaw, the auto rickshaw is a small vehicle powered by a two-stroke or four-stroke engine. The original gasoline versions constantly emit a stuttering noise and foul blue-black smoke, but many are opting for the CNG (compressed natural gas) versions, which are less polluting and a little quieter. Blue-and-yellow auto rickshaws take passengers, other colors tend to be privately owned. Always negotiate a price before entering the rickshaw.

Rickshaws are banned in the capital Islamabad.


Highly Persianised form of Urdu is and shall be the "National language" and is spoken throughout Pakistan as a lingua franca. In addition to Urdu most Pakistanis speak their regional languages or dialects such as Punjabi, Pothohari, Sindhi, Pashto (Pushtun), Balochi, Saraiki, Shina, Burushaski, Khowar, Wakhi, Hindko etc.

Pakistani English is designated as the "Official language" used in all government and most educational purpose and business entities, and is also understood and spoken at varying levels of competence by many people around Pakistan, especially the upper classes and people who have gone through higher levels of education, and those residing in the larger cities.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Karachi. Observe the wonders of Karachi, Pakistan's former capital and its largest city, situated on the shores of the Arabian Sea. The magnificent Quaid-e-Azam's Mazar, the mausoleum of the founder of Pakistan, is made entirely of white marble with impressive north African arches. Other places to visit are the National Museum, Dream world (Amusement & Water park, hotel & golf), Alladin (Amusement & Water Park), Hill Park, Port Grand (Food Street), I.I. Chandrigar Road, PAF Museum, Maritime Museum, Arena and the beach at Clifton & DHA.  edit
  • Shah Faisal Masjid (Mosque), Islamabad. A majestic white building comprises four 88m (288ft) minarets and a desert tent-like structure, which is the main prayer chamber and can accommodate 1 hundred thousand worshippers. is closed to the public for inside view these days, but you can enjoy its outside view .  edit
  • Mountains, including K2, Nanga Parbat. Pakistan boasts some of the highest mountains in the world in Kashmir, including the famous Nanga Parbat and the second-highest mountain in the world, K2. The Baltoro Glacier and the Batura Glacier are the largest outside the polar regions.  edit
  • Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The city was in ancient times surrounded by high walls with 20 entry gates. Much of the surrounding area is still under the jurisdiction of tribal law. These areas can only be visited with a permit from the relevant authorities.  edit
  • The Khyber Pass, Afridis. Visit the legendary 1,067m- (3,501ft-) high break in the sheer rock wall separating Afghanistan and Pakistan.  edit
  • Chitral, Hindu Kush Mountains north of Peshawar. Visit this wild and beautiful area of Pakistan. It is inhabited by the Kalash people, the last of the non-Islamic tribes of Kafiristan. This valley is noted for its hot springs and trout-filled rivers.  edit
  • Swat Valley, East of Chitral. An area of wild mountains and fantastic alpine scenery. In ancient times, it was home to the famous Gandhara school of sculpture, a manifestation of Greek-influenced Buddhist forms. The ruins of great Buddhist stupas, monasteries and statues remain. It also boasts popular mountain retreats such as Miandam and Mingora.  edit
  • A Cricket or Polo Match. Some of the most popular sports in Pakistan. Polo is particularly popular in the northern towns of Gilgit and Chitral.  edit
  • Khewra Salt Mines, (Lahore - Islamabad Motorway (M-2) cuts through the centre of the Salt Range, with exit points at Kallar Kahar and Lillah). Located near Kallar Kahar about 160 kilometres from Islamabad and 260 kilometres from Lahore on the Islamabad-Lahore (M2) Motorway, Khewra Salt Mines are the world's second largest salt mine. A tourist train runs inside the mine tunnels and passes through some incredible sculptures & structures made up of salt. There is also a twelve-bed therapy centre inside the mine called the Khewra Asthma Clinic, which have the reputation of having healing powers owing to health benefits of its micro-climate. Shops inside the mine sells crafted lamps, sculptures and ornaments made up of salt.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

Pakistan is a world class destination for trekking and hiking. Horse riding is also very affordable, cycling opportunities abound. You can also shop to your heart's content, in massive range of markets and bazaars without worrying about your budget, as a recent survey by Times Newspaper (UK) found Karachi as the world's cheapest city.

  • Tour de Pakistan. Participate in Tour de Pakistan. Its a bicycle race held every two years covering more than 1,648 kilometres (1,024 mi) from Karachi to Peshawar. It is the longest cycling race in Asia.  edit
  • Helicopter Tours, 5-A The Mall, AWT Plaza, Rawalpindi, ☎051-9272400-4, [1]. Enjoy the scenic beauty and mountain valleys of Pakistan through a helicopter. Askari Aviation provides aviation services of helicopter and aircrafts for adventures and safaris. They have several itineraries on their website and each trip starts from Islamabad.  edit
  • Sightseeing in Pakistan (Hunza Explorers), Islamabad, ☎+92 321 4364658, [2]. Hunza Explorers is leading tour company in Pakistan, they organize tours, treks, Safaris and Expeditions throughout the country.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

The national currency of Pakistan is the rupee (PKR). Coins are issued in 1, 2, and 5 rupee denominations while banknotes come in 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000, and 5000 rupee values.

ATMs exist in most areas and accept major credit cards.

  • You can buy very cheap garments, bed sheets, shirts, T-shirts, It is to be mentioned that many world renowned brands like Adidas, Levis, Slazenger, HangTen, Wal-Mart etc get their products prepared from Faisalabad which has got one of the largest textile industries of the world. You can find cheap products of these brands at local stores. You can get a pair of Levis jeans (or any other good brand for that matter) at a very reasonable price ranging between 1400-2500 PKR (16-29 USD).
  • Buy leather goods like shoes, jackets and bags.
  • Buy sports goods like cricket bats, balls, kits, footballs, sports wear and almost anything related to sports you can imagine. You will not find such high quality equipment at such low cost anywhere else. To mention, Sialkot produces 90 percent of the world’s sports goods and is the largest provider of sports equipment to FIFA for the World cup.
  • Pakistan produces economical and high quality musical instruments. You can even get an acoustic guitar for as low as 2000 PKR (23 USD).
  • Buy surgical instruments
  • Buy computer accessories
  • Buy Chinese goods especially Electronics & Cameras which are re-exported from Pakistan and is cheaper than other parts of the world.
  • Buy Arabian, Afghan, Iranian and Pakistani carpets
  • Buy Wood Carvings such as decorative wooden plates, bowls, artwork, furniture, and other miscellaneous items.
  • Buy Jewellery such as necklaces, bracelets etc are very inexpensive in Pakistan.
  • Buy gems, handicrafts (Ajrak from Sindh, Blue pottery from Multan, Clay pottery from Karachi), glassware, brassware, marble products, crystal works and antiques Also buy pashmina, rugs, wool-shawls or wraps, which can cost anywhere between $15 to as much as $700. Remember to bargain.
  • Buy Books
  • Buy souvenirs such as decorative items from Sea Shells.
  • For food stuffs go to any super store like Dmart, Makro, Metro, Hyperstar. Good Quality and inexpensive local products include Swat honey, Biscuits, local made chocolate.
  • Buy home accessories
  • Buy Kitchen Utensils and Cutlery
  • For art lovers, get in touch with a local to take you around. There are so many art galleries in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad that are worth visiting and each will offer a completely different range of artwork, style and pricing. All the facilities should be visited if you are an art lover.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Pakistani food mainly consists of various kinds of kebabs eaten with either flatbread or rice. Food tends range from mild to spicy depending on where you are and who your cook is. So state your preference before beginning to eat. In general, most of the food that you find in the high end hotels is also available in the markets (but European-style food is generally reserved for the former). Note: your definition of spicy may easily vary from the restaurant you order your food from, so tread lightly.

  • The types of flatbread (collectively referred to as Naan are:
    • Naan - A soft and thick flat bread that often requires special clay ovens (tandoor) and cannot be properly made on home stoves.
    • Roti/Chapatti - A homemade bread, much thinner than naan and usually made out of unrefined flour, and which is ready in minutes.
    • Paratha - An extremely oily version of the roti. Usually excellent if you're going out to eat, but beware of health concerns; often it is literally dripping with oil because it is meant to be part of a rich meal. Paratha is more declicious if you cook it in pure oil like "desi ghee".
    • Sheer Mal - This is a slightly sweetened, lightly oiled bread that has waffle-like squares punched in it. It is often considered the most desirable bread and is a delicacy to most people. Often paired with nihari. Another breakfast version of sheermal is very much like the Italian Panettone (albeit in a flat naan-like shape) with added dried fruits and candy.
    • Taftan - Much like the 'sheer mal' but with a puffed-up ring around it.

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

  • Types of 'kababs' (mainly made of Beef or Lamb):
    • Seekh Kabab (سيخ کباب) - A long skewer of minced beef mixed with herbs and seasonings.
    • Shami Kabab (شامي کباب) - A round patty of seasoned beef and lentils, softer than seekh kababs.
    • Chapli Kabab (چپلي کباب) - A spicy round kabab that is a specialty of Peshawar.
    • Chicken Kabab (مرغ کباب) - A popular kabab that is found both with bone and without.
    • Lamb Kabab (کبابِ برہ گوشت) - The all lamb meat kabab is usually served as cubes.
  • More Pakistani Foods:
    • Roasted Chicken (whole) (مرغ بريان) - A whole chicken roasted. Very famous around Pakistan. You'll see them on the rotisserie while driving on Lahore streets. Also known as 'charga' locally.
    • Biryani (برياني) - A dish with mixed pieces of chicken and rice. It smells nice from the saffron and other seasonings added.
    • Chicken Tikka - Barbequed chicken with a spicy exterior. Looks like a huge, red chicken leg and thigh. For all meat lovers. Is available most anywhere.
    • Haleem - Thick stew-like mix of tiny chunks of meat or chicken, lentils and wheat grains.
    • Nihari - Thick gravy made from local spices. Is made with both chicken and beef. Is oily and spicy. Available mostly everywhere.

There are too many shorbas, or sauces/soups, to enumerate. However, you should know of the most common ones.

  • Vegetarian
    • Daal - Yellow (made of yellow/red lentils) or brown (slightly sour) lentil "soup". Usually unspiced. Common to all economic classes.
    • X + ki sabzi - A vegetarian mixture with 'X' as the main ingredient.

Meat is a major ingredient in most dishes. The variety is endless, but here are a few examples:

    • Aloo Gosht (Potatoes and Meat) - Chunks of potato and goat meat in gravy. Levels of spice vary. One example of a generic dish that includes most things + Gosht(meat).
    • Nihari- Beef simmered for several hours. A delicacy often eaten with Nan, Sheer Mal, or Taftan. Few people will have this available without spice. Eat with lemon, fried onion and caution: it is one of the spiciest curries.
    • Paye - or 'Siri Paye' is a stew of goat/beef/mutton bones (typically hooves, skull) and bone marrow. Extremely nutritious and generally eaten for breakfast with naan.
  • Desserts
    • Enjoy a variety; ice cream can be found in an abundance of flavors such as the traditional pistachio flavoured Kulfi;
    • Falooda (فلودہ) is tasty rosewater dessert. Traditional ice-cream known as 'kulfi' mixed with vermicelli, pistachio nuts and flavored with rose-water. Most ice-cream shops have their own versions.
    • Shirini or Mithai: is the generic name for a variety of sweet treats in Pakistan. The sweets are extremely popular in Pakistan and called different things depending on where you go. Eat small chunks at a time, eating large pieces can be rude and will generally be too sweet.
    • Kulfi is a very traditional made ice-cream mixed with cream and different types of nuts.
    • If you want to go to some ice-cream parlors, there are some good western ice-cream parlors in Lahore like "Polka Parlor" "Jamin Java" "Hot Spot". For traditional ice creams, the 'Chaman' ice cream parlor across town is quite popular.

A part from local restaurants, international fast food chains have also popped up throughout Pakistan. They include, KFC, Pizza Hut, McDonalds, Subway, Nandos, Mr.Cod, Papa Johns, Dominoes etc. You are also prone to finding more European chains than North American.

Drink[edit][add listing]

The legal drinking/purchasing age of alcoholic beverages is 21..

Tap water can be unsafe for drinking. However, some establishments have water filters/purifiers installed, in which case the water is safe to drink. Packed drinking water (normally called mineral water in Pakistan) is a better choice.

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

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

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

Being a Muslim country use of alcohol (both imported and local) is not allowed openly in the country. It is available to non-Muslim foreigners at licensed bars in most top end hotels. The local alcoholic beer is called 'Murree Beer. It is illegal for Muslims to buy, possess or consume alcohol in Pakistan.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Pakistan, as a middle income country with a sizeable middle class and significant domestic tourism industry has a decent range of hotels covering all price ranges. International tourists often are disappointed by the cleanliness of Pakistani hotels - bedding is often clean but bathrooms can be a bit grungy. Currently Pakistan is facing a significant slump in international tourist numbers, in the northern areas in particular you'll find yourself the only guests.

Budget The cheapest hotels are usually found around busy transportation hubs like bus and train stations. Don't be fooled by an impressive lobby - ask to see the room and check the beds, toilets, lights, etc before checking in. Hot water and air conditioning will be luxuries in this class.

Mid range covers a wide spectrum of hotels - often listed in your guide book or online. All mid-range places will have a/c and hot water - although check if they have a working generator - air conditioning isn't of much use without electricity! Always check the room before handing over any money - ask for a no smoking room away from the street - and haggle to get a better rate. PTDC (government run) hotels fall in to the mid range section and warrant a special mention - often these places are the oldest hotel in town, in an excellent location, but the facilities will be showing their age. They are still a good option however, and discounts can be negotiated. Mid range prices are around Rs2,000 - Rs6,000 per night.

Top end covers the Serenas [12], Pearl Continentals [13] and Marriotts [14]. The Serena hotels are almost always excellent, whilst the Pearl Continental hotels are more patchy (eg the one in Rawalpindi is a bit grungy whilst the one in Muzaffarabad is very nice. At top-end places security is very visible, with small armies of security guards stationed around the perimeter. Prices are from Rs6,000 and up, with the big city luxury hotels charging at least Rs10,000 a night.

Government rest houses[15] are mentioned in numerous guide books and are located in rural and mountainous areas for local civil servants to use on their travels, with many built pre-independence and exuding a quaint English charm. Back in the day the adventurous tourist could book these places for the night for Rs1,000 or so, and have a lovely time. But the tourist slump means that the forestry departments who run these places don't bother any more - phones will go unanswered - tourist information offices won't have any details etc. so count yourself lucky if you manage to arrange to stay in a Government rest house.

Solo female travelers are at a disadvantage when it comes to hotels. All budget and many mid-range places will be the sole reserve of men, in particular in the cities - and hotel owners may be uncomfortable with the idea of an unaccompanied women staying at their hotel. Hence you may be forced to stay at the upper-mid range and top end places - which will eat through your budget that much quicker.

Note that in some places the term "hotel" in Pakistan is reserved for simpler establishments, with "Guest House" referring to medium-sized establishments where the standard is typically higher. Also note that restaurants are also called "hotels", creating a fun potential for confusion.

Stay safe[edit]

Pakistan has endured several bomb attacks over the last few years against security forces, so called western institutions (e.g the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad) and has seen the public assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto upon her return from exile. Attacks typically increase when there is military action against the Taliban and the ordinary traveller should not venture into the tribal areas. It's a fairly hospitable country but social protests tend to turn violent and political demonstrations are always sensitive. Before travelling you should check with your embassy about off-limits areas, the latest political and military developments and keep a close eye on current issues with independent news sources.

Stay away from military convoys as they are a potential target for suicide bombing. Similarly, going near military or intelligence facilities can be dangerous.

Carrying firearms can land you in police custody, except if you get a special permit from a relevant authority.

Use common sense and a healthy dose of courtesy when in conversation with Pakistanis. Kashmir is a particularly sensitive topic and best avoided altogether. Discussion about religion and Islam should remain respectful and positive — some Pakistanis are not tolerant of other religions, and if theirs is spoken about negatively, it could result in violence.

The line of control between Pakistan-administered Kashmir and the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is off-limits for foreign tourists, though domestic tourists can visit Azad Kashmir without any restriction (but should keep their identity cards with them).

The Federally Administered Tribal Areas & all regions near the sensitive Afghan border should not be visited at any time


Lansdowne Bridge of Rohri
Biafo Glacier, Karakoram Mountains
Dudiptsar Lake, Kaghan Valley, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
The epic Lake Saiful Muluk
Shangrila Resort at Skardu in Pakistan
Cold Desert of Skardu in Pakistan
Saindak & Reko Diq: The Land of Gold & Copper
The Great Trango Tower, 6,286 m (20,608 ft)
Bridge over a river on the railway track from "Rohri to Quetta"

Leave a Comment


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *