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Pakistan Travel Information

Pakistan Travel InformationOn March 21, Pakistani authorities suspended all commercial international flights to Pakistan. This is valid until 15 May. For more information about coronavirus and entry/exit, see Health.

Safety

There is increased tension between Pakistan and India. Travelers to Pakistan should keep abreast of developments.

It is always a personal responsibility for the individual to ensure their own safety on all trips abroad.

Before traveling, it is recommended that travelers always provide up-to-date information on the security situation in the area to be visited. It is further recommended to follow the advice and instructions given by the country's own authorities as well as by the Norwegian authorities.

The terrorist threat: The terrorist threat in Pakistan remains real, although the number and extent of terrorist attacks has decreased in recent years. The security situation can change quickly. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs encourages travelers to exercise caution.

Military operations targeting extreme environments are ongoing in parts of the country. In parts of Pakistan, the security situation is very challenging. The security situation varies in different parts of Pakistan and is now most precarious in Baluchistan, in the tribal areas (Fata), and in parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

In some areas, there is regular political and sectarian motivated violence. In some cities, there is a high crime rate, which also includes violent crime.

Crime: There is a certain danger of kidnapping of foreigners, especially in western Pakistan.

  • Countryaah: Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan. Check to find information of population, geography, history, and economy about the capital city.

Natural Disasters: Pakistan is at a high risk zone in earthquakes, and earthquakes occur relatively frequently. The most vulnerable areas for such incidents are in the north and west. Often, buildings have no or poor earthquake protection. The last major earthquake was October 26, 2015. This measured 7.5 on a Richters scale.

There is also a certain danger of landslides and flooding in parts of Pakistan due to heavy rainfall.

Travel Insurance: It is strongly recommended to take out extended travel insurance when traveling to Pakistan.

Traffic: The embassy does not recommend the use of local taxis. In case of transport, it is recommended that a rental car with a driver from a reputable car rental company or from hotels is used instead.

Travel registration : The Embassy recommends everyone, regardless of the duration and destination of the trip, to register on reiseregistrering.no/.

Emergencies: In an emergency situation, it will depend on whether the embassy in Islamabad can help Norwegian citizens and possibly how quickly such assistance can be provided. This is especially true in the areas mentioned earlier in the article.

Contact information: The Norwegian Embassy in Islamabad has telephone +92 51 849 7700. The telephone is answered during office hours, Monday to Thursday 0800 - 1600 and Friday from 0800 - 1300.

Except during office hours and on weekends and holidays, the same number is answered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' operational center in Oslo. The center is staffed around the clock.

The direct number of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' operational center in Oslo is +47 23 95 00 00. E-mail: emb.islamabad@mfa.no

The Foreign Service has honorary consulates in Lahore and Karachi.

Consulate General of Karachi
C-44, Block: 2, Clifton
Near Fatima Jinnah Park
Karachi
Phone: +92 21 3529 2845-47
Email: norwayconsulate@yahoo.com
Consul General: Ms. Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy

Consulate of Lahore
Associated House
Building No. 2, Floor No. 2,
7 Egerton Road
Lahore-54000
Phone: +92 42-3630 1315
Fax: +92 42-3630 1316
Email: rnc.lahore@gmail.com
Consul: Ms. Naveen Fareed

Entry

Please note that entry rules may change. The Foreign Service cannot be held responsible for changes in entry regulations or visa requirements at short notice. It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid before entry and to familiarize themselves with the current entry rules for each country.

Norwegian citizens are required to have a visa for entry and residence in Pakistan, unless traveling on an official passport is a service or diplomatic passport.

The main rule is that visas must be obtained before entering Pakistan and cannot be arranged at border crossings/airports.

There is an exception to the rule that allows for applying for a group of tourist visas when crossing a border into Pakistan. This requires that the tour operator is pre-authorized by the Pakistani authorities.

Please note that some areas in Pakistan require the approval of the Pakistani authorities before entry.

Norwegians traveling in Pakistan should also particularly note that it is a criminal offense to be in the country beyond the period of validity of the visa. In such cases, a travel permit from Pakistan is also required which, in experience, is a lengthy process and also entails a penalty fee based on the number of days the visa is "overlooked".

Contact the Pakistani Embassy in Oslo well in advance of departure for visas and more information.

It is the traveler's responsibility to ensure that travel documents are valid.

Health

Coronavirus (covid-19): Cases of coronavirus in Pakistan have been confirmed. The situation is changing rapidly. Norwegian travelers should stay updated through local media and follow the advice and directions given by both the Norwegian and Pakistani authorities.

The Pakistani authorities are monitoring the situation and have created a telephone line which is encouraged to use for symptoms, 1166 (local Pakistani number).

Curfews have been introduced in whole or in part in several provinces. In Punjab and Islamabad, one is advised not to stay outdoors.

Every country is free to introduce the measures and restrictions they deem necessary to prevent the spread of infection within its own borders. Norwegian citizens in Pakistan are encouraged to comply with the restrictions imposed by the Pakistani authorities.

Pakistan closed its border with Iran on February 24 to limit its spread of infection. On March 2, Pakistan also closed the Chaman-Wesh border crossing to Afghanistan for the same reason. March 19, the Wagah-Atttari border crossing to India was also closed.

On March 21, Pakistani authorities suspended all commercial international flights to Pakistan until April 4. This period has since been extended to 15 May. It is currently uncertain whether airlines will be able to resume flights to and from Pakistan after this date. At present, only a few special flights are operating.

Norwegian citizens traveling in Pakistan should consider taking advantage of any travel opportunities set up by the Norwegian authorities or other countries, as well as follow the airlines 'and/or travel agencies' websites for information on possible new flights.

Updated travel and coronavirus information can be found on the government's website.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against travel that is not strictly necessary for all countries. The reason is the increase in the spread of the international corona virus and the unpredictable and difficult situation for many travelers. The Travel Council initially applied from March 14 to April 14, but was extended until April 3.

You can find more information and guidance from Norwegian health authorities on the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

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The best way to stay healthy in Pakistan is to exercise common sense and take common precautions. Reference is made to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health for official health professional travel advice and guidance to Norwegians when traveling abroad.

The public health services in Pakistan have consistently low standards. For more serious cases of illness it is recommended if possible to leave, as the hospital standard is not good on a European scale. A relatively new hospital in Islamabad, "Shifa International", has a good standard and can be a good alternative.

Before leaving, various vaccines should be updated. Contact your health care provider in Norway well in advance of your departure for Pakistan for assessment of vaccination. The quality of medicines varies in Pakistan. People who depend on special medicines should therefore bring these from Norway.

It is recommended to contact the Pakistani authorities for information on special restrictions on different types of medicines.

Gastrointestinal infections are common, especially before getting used to the local bacterial flora.

Practical information

Telephony: Area code for Pakistan is +92. The telephone network is relatively stable. There is good GSM coverage in urban areas. The coverage area and the capacity of the network are constantly increasing outside the cities as well. Mobile phones with Norwegian SIM cards work largely. NB! Not prepaid!

In the event of major crises or demonstrations, the mobile network will be rendered inactive.

The time difference means that the clock in Pakistan is four hours ahead of the Norwegian during the winter season and three hours ahead of the Norwegian summer time.

The mains have 220 volts/50 hertz. Voltage stabilizer and/or UPS is recommended for computer equipment etc. Power outages occur relatively often.

The currency unit is Rupee (PKR). February 2, 2018, PKR 100 = NOK 7.16. Credit cards like Visa and Mastercard basically work. In the major cities there are ATMs that can be used (in Islamabad: HBL, CityBank and Standard Chartered). Credit cards can also be used in hotels and in larger businesses (often with 2.5-3.5 percent of the purchase price in fee). It can be difficult to use credit cards as a means of payment outside the big cities. American Express is not accepted anywhere.

USD in cash can be exchanged at various exchange offices, which often provides a better exchange rate than the banks.

Public offices are open Monday-Thursday and half-day Friday. The opening hours of the shops vary, but most of the shops are open from the morning until late in the evenings.

The Pakistani religious holidays are moving and adapted to the lunar phases, such as Eid festivals. Eid-ul-Fitr, which ends the fasting month of Ramadan and is the biggest holiday of the Muslims. Eid-ul-Azha falls approx. two months later. The holidays are moving backwards by approx. eleven days a year. Other holidays: March 23 (Pakistan Day), August 14 (Independence Day), September 6 (Quaid-e-Azam Day), November 9 (Iqbal Day) and December 25 (Jinnah's birthday).

Climate in Islamabad: The summer starts in May and lasts until September and is partly very hot, with temperatures above 40 degrees during the day and little cooling at night.

The monsoon occurs during the period July - September. The temperature then drops somewhat, but the humidity is very high.

Winter starts in late November and extends into February. It is partly chilly nights and the temperature can drop all the way to, or below, the freezing point. Heating is then required indoors. During the daytime in winter, however, the temperature can rise to 20 degrees. There may also be some rain in the middle of the period.

The temperature is at all seasons on average higher the farther south in Pakistan you come. In the mountainous areas of the north it is cool, and in the height there is winter weather with snow.

Bottled water is recommended for drinking and cooking. Imported and local bottled drinking water is available everywhere. Other water must be boiled for at least 20 minutes.

All fruits and vegetables should be thoroughly washed and disinfected using milton or potassium permagenate and then rinsed in clean or boiled water. Meat should be cooked through.

It is generally considered safe to eat in the restaurants of the larger hotels, as well as reputable eateries in the larger cities.

Alcohol and pornography must not be brought into Pakistan.

The practice of "purdah" (separation between women and men) is widespread, especially in the countryside and especially in Khyber Pakhtwunkha, Fata (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) and Baluchistan. Therefore, there are few women to look out in public places and markets. It is recommended to ask for permission before photographing people.

Women should dress with loose-fitting full-length mittens and always have a scarf (dupatta) available. In recent years, Pakistan has moved in a more conservative direction also in the clothing path. Women are advised to show consideration with regard to clothing. Men should usually wear long pants, but may wear long shorts and t-shirts as casual wear.

Pakistanis have different ethnic backgrounds and not a common mother tongue. The most widely used languages ​​belong to the Indo-European language family.

The national language is Urdu, which according to the Constitution replaced English as the official language of 1988. English is used by the central government and administration, the judiciary and the military, and has a solid position among well-educated Pakistanis. Among other regional languages, Punjabi, Sindhi and Pashto are the largest.

Light and airy clothing should be worn during the warm season between April and October.

The winter season, from November to February, has cold evenings and nights. Warm clothes can come in handy. The houses are cold and do not always have satisfactory heating.

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