Both the scenery and architecture on offer in Pakistan are attractive and in some places breathtaking. Whilst the national sport is known as hockey, it is widely regarded that the country’s most popular sport is cricket.
However, expatriates planning their life in Pakistan should be aware that crime rates are known to be particularly high, with Pakistan often featured high in international lists for offences such as murder and other violent crimes. The emergency number 112 is in operation in Pakistan, although it is only available on mobiles.
Like most South Asian countries, living in Pakistan can present some difficulties when it comes to healthcare. The size of the population alone requires a vast healthcare system. It currently serves around 188 million people from just 13,000 healthcare facilities. The country as a whole is working towards a much healthier future, with areas such as dentistry and nursing a predominant focus. This doesn’t change the fact, however, that in most poor areas of Pakistan, healthcare facilities are scarce.
You will be able to find adequate medical care in built-up towns and cities, but free public healthcare services are extremely limited. Private healthcare and insurance is available at a substantial cost, although a number of companies in Pakistan are recognizing the benefits of a happy and healthy team and have begun supplying workers with health insurance themselves.
The quality of education provided in Pakistan varies depending on location. Literacy is as low as 28% in some of the more deprived areas of the country, with an average rate of 55%. Pakistan does, however, offer a similar education system to most Western countries, with primary, middle and high school levels, leading onto university. Across Pakistan, there are 203 accredited university institutions that offer degrees in everything from modern languages to space technology. English is widely spoken and there are an impressive 439 international schools, which provide a diverse education not just for expat kids.
Pakistan’s transport system is still a work in progress. In recent times, new infrastructure has led to a boost in both mobility and employment. The expansive highway systems were put into place by the British Raj before the end of World War II. Within the last 30 years, Pakistan has seen new additions to its infrastructure, including large motorways, airports, and seaports. These have all had a dramatically positive effect on domestic and international trading.
With 138 domestic airports and 10 international, exploration whilst living in Pakistan is also made easy. Trains are another effective way of getting from A to B, with many domestic services and international rail connections to India, Turkey, and Iran. There has even been a rail link to China proposed for the future.
The capital Islamabad can now look forward to a proposed monorail system, which will make transport around the large city much easier. A number of bigger cities, including Lahore, have their own bus transit services that often have dedicated lanes to avoid the dense traffic.
Expatriates who are planning to drive a car on their own while living in Pakistan will be able to do so with an international license in Pakistan for six months before having to acquire a Pakistani license.