World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide



Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

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Map of Indian Subcontinent

Pakistan Travelling Guide
Pakistan Travelling Guide

General background: The separation in 1947 of British India into the Muslim state of Pakistan (with two sections West and East) and largely Hindu India was never satisfactorily resolved. A third war between these countries in 1971 resulted in East Pakistan seceding and becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. A dispute over the state of Kashmir is ongoing. In response to Indian nuclear weapons testing, Pakistan conducted its own tests in 1998.

Area comparative: Slightly less than twice the size of California.

Climate: Mostly hot, dry desert; temperate in northwest; arctic in north.

Terrain: Flat Indus plain in east; mountains in north and northwest; Balochistan plateau in west

Population: 147,663,429 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtun (Pathan), Baloch, Muhajir (immigrants from India at the time of partition and their descendants)

Religions: Muslim 97% (Sunni 77%, Shi'a 20%), Christian, Hindu, and other 3%

Language: Punjabi 48%, Sindhi 12%, Siraiki (a Punjabi variant) 10%, Pashtu 8%, Urdu (official) 8%, Balochi 3%, Hindko 2%, Brahui 1%, English (official and lingua franca of Pakistani elite and most government ministries), Burushaski, and other 8%

Government type: Federal republic

Capital: Islamabad

Legal system: Based on English common law with provisions to accommodate Pakistan's status as an Islamic state; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations.

Economic overview: Pakistan, an impoverished and underdeveloped country, suffers from internal political disputes, lack of foreign investment, and a costly confrontation with neighbouring India. Pakistan's economic prospects, marred by poor human development indicators, low levels of foreign investment, and reliance on international creditors for hard currency inflows, were nonetheless on an upswing through most of 2001. The MUSHARRAF government made significant inroads in macroeconomic reform - it completed an IMF short-term loan program for the first time and improved its standing with international creditors by increasing revenue collection and restraining the fiscal deficit in the 2001/02 budget. While Pakistan has capitalized on its international standing after the 11 September terrorist attacks on the US by garnering substantial assistance from abroad - including $1.3 billion in IMF Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility aid and $12.5 billion in Paris Club debt rescheduling - long-term prospects remain uncertain. GDP growth will continue to hinge on crop performance; dependence on foreign oil leaves the import bill vulnerable to fluctuating oil prices; and foreign and domestic investors remain wary of committing to projects in Pakistan. Pakistani trade levels - already in decline due to the global economic downturn - worsened in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.

Communication/Telephone system: The system is mediocre, but improving.

Places of interest: Pakistan has some of Asia's most mind-blowing landscapes, extraordinary trekking, a multitude of cultures and a long tradition of hospitality.

Travel tips: In light of the escalating dispute over Kashmir and the possibility of war between India and Pakistan, many governments are urging against travel to both countries and advising their citizens who are already there to leave as soon as possible.