The official language in Pakistan is Urdu but this is not the most prolifically spoken tongue, with only eight percent of Pakistanis using it. There are many regional dialects throughout the country which are more popular including Punjabi, which is spoken by 48 percent of the population, along with Sindhi and Pashto. English is widely spoken, especially in the tourism and business industries.
The official currency is the Pakistan rupee (Rs) which is accepted all over the country. Most major credit cards are accepted including MasterCard, Visa and American Express. Cash is generally more useful, however, especially when travelling in more remote areas of the country. ATMs can be found in all areas of city centers. Currency exchanges can be made at large banks and at official exchange offices.
Pakistan is in the Pakistan Time Zone, which is GMT +5.
Pakistan operates electricity at 230V/50Hz and uses the Europlug outlet or the old British outlet.
The international dialing code for Pakistan is +92 and for Islamabad, the capital city, is +51. Roaming facilities are available for some international cell phone companies but travelers should double check with their home service providers before departing. There are, however, several reputable local cell phone providers in Pakistan including Mobilink, Telenor, Ufone, Warid and Jazz Mobile. SIM cards and inexpensive handsets are available at most local stores in city centers. There are many wireless hotspots at hotels, cafés and restaurants and at malls around the country. There are also many internet cafés to be found which offer reasonable hourly rates.
Duty-free regulations generally depend on the country of entry but the following stipulations can be used as a guideline. Travelers are permitted to carry 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 500g of tobacco, one liter of alcohol and gifts to the value of no more than US$200.
Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC): +92-51-927-1591-92 or www.tourism.gov.pk
Consulates in Pakistan
American Embassy, Islamabad: +92-51-208-0000 Chinese Embassy, Islamabad: +92-21-587-4266 British Embassy, Islamabad: +92-51-201-2000 Canadian Embassy, Islamabad: +92-51-208-6000 German Embassy, Islamabad: +92-51-227-9430 Italian Embassy, Islamabad: +92-51-282-8982 French Embassy, Islamabad: +92-51-201-1414 Norwegian Embassy, Islamabad: +92-51-282-8982
Ambulance: 115 Police Emergency: 15 Fire Brigade: 16