Renowned for its love of cricket and breathtaking snow-capped mountains, Pakistan is a country rich in history that has shown considerable economic progress since its independence. Officially known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the name Pakistan translates to 'Land of the Pure' and is the fifth-most populous country in the world. Despite some hardships associated with life in the country, expats moving to Pakistan are in for an exciting cultural experience.
Pakistan is bordered by the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman to the south and shares land borders with India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest and China to the northeast. This makes the country home to an assortment of cultural influences introduced through the various kingdoms, empires, and dynasties that have ruled the country throughout its history.
Living in Pakistan as an expat
Pakistan is one of the largest producers of natural commodities, and its economy is semi-industrialised. Due to the political instability and other hindering factors the country has faced, the economy is still developing. Export forms a major part of the economy, and expats may be able to find work opportunities in sectors such as manufacturing, tourism and technology.
Pakistan has both public and private healthcare facilities, but the standard of public healthcare is often low, and most expats opt for private care instead. It is of paramount importance that expats have a comprehensive health insurance plan that covers them for repatriation, if necessary.
The public transport system in Pakistan tends to be overcrowded and bus drivers frequently drive recklessly. We recommend that expats hire a car, preferably with a driver, to navigate and get around the country.
Safety will be a major concern for expats, as Pakistan has been the target of terrorist attacks in the past. The best way to stay safe is to keep up to date with the political situation in the country and avoid going to very crowded places.
Cost of living in Pakistan
Expats will be pleased to know that the cost of living in Pakistan is relatively low, especially when compared to more prominent expat destinations. Accommodation is likely to be the biggest monthly expense, but even very affordable accommodation is available if expats know where to look.
For parents moving to Pakistan with their children, education is the second-highest expense. Most expats send their children to international schools, which are often pricey. Eating out and grocery shopping is also cheap, as is transport.
Families and children in Pakistan
Public schooling is free and compulsory for all children in Pakistan. Despite this, the country battles with widespread illiteracy and gender disparity. While the standard of public education is typically lacking, there are numerous international schools located in the capital, Islamabad, and other main cities popular with expats.
Expats looking for fun things to do with the family in Pakistan will discover that the country is rich with historical and cultural sites that make for a fun and educational outing. Families can also spend a day touring markets and shopping malls, or visiting beautiful mosques. Those who enjoy the outdoors will find some gorgeous hiking spots in the country that are accompanied by incredible views for those who enjoy the outdoors.
Climate in Pakistan
Pakistan has a continental climate and experiences extreme fluctuations in temperature. In general, though, the weather in Pakistan is hot. The length and onset of the seasons can vary throughout the country, but each year generally brings a cool and dry winter and a summer monsoon period, with the months in between being generally warm.
The country faces several challenges, including political instability, corruption and illiteracy. The government has implemented numerous plans to combat these issues, and the country's economy shows much promise.
In addition, Pakistan has seen an increase in tourism, as more travellers start to see its potential. Though not the easiest expat destination, those who move to Pakistan with an open mind are sure to have a vibrant and memorable experience.
Official name: Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Population: 243 million
Capital city: Islamabad
Largest city: Karachi
Neighbouring countries: Bordered by Iran to the southwest, Afghanistan to the west, China to the northeast, and India to the east, Pakistan also has a southern coastline on the Arabian Sea.
Geography: The country has a diverse landscape and can be broadly split into three main areas: the highlands of northern Pakistan, the Indus River plain in central Pakistan and the Balochistan Plateau in southeast Pakistan. Due to the country's location, parts of Pakistan are prone to earthquakes.
Political system: Federal parliamentary constitutional republic
Major religion: Islam
Main languages: English, Urdu
Money: The Pakistani Rupee (PKR) which is written as Rs.
Electricity: 230V, 50Hz. Plugs have two or three round pins.
Internet domain: .pk
International dialling code: +92
Emergency contacts: 15 (police), 115 (ambulance), 16 (fire brigade)
Transport and driving: Pakistan has decent public transport infrastructure in its larger cities. Cars drive on the left-hand side.
►For more on the safety issues facing new arrivals to the country, read Safety in Pakistan
Are you an expat living in Pakistan?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Pakistan. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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