Bordered by the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman to South and sharing land borders with India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest and China to the northeast, the south Asian country of Pakistan is home to an assortment of cultural influences introduced through the various kingdoms, empires, and dynasties that have ruled Pakistan throughout its history.
Renowned for its love of cricket and breathtaking snow-capped mountains, Pakistan is a historically rich country 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.
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.
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.
Safety will be a major concern for expats, as Pakistan has often been the target of terrorist attacks. 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.
Public schooling is free and compulsory for all children in Pakistan. Despite this, the country battles with widespread illiteracy and a massive gender disparity. While the standard of public education is often lacking, there are numerous international schools located in the capital, Islamabad, and other main cities popular with expats.
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 are in possession of a full comprehensive health insurance plan that covers them for repatriation, if necessary.
The country faces a number of challenges including political instability, corruption and illiteracy. The government has implemented numerous plans to combat the issues and the country's economy shows much promise. In addition, Pakistan has seen an increase in tourism in recent years, as more and more travellers start to see the potential of this historically diverse country has to offer. 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: 202 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.
Time: GMT +5
Electricity: 230 volts, 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 our Safety in Pakistan
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