Staying out of trouble in Pakistan: Guide to local laws

In addition to government sanctioned laws, there is also Islamic law to consider in Pakistan.

Pakistan is a Muslim country in the midst of severe sectarian violence. Most of the laws reflect one or both of these things and the enforcement of them tends to be related to both as well.

Despite some wide spread drug use in various areas of Pakistan, the penalty for drug offences tend to be quite severe and do include the death penalty. Even possessing small quantities of "soft" drugs for personal recreational purposes can result in long jail sentences, heavy fines, deportation or all of them at once.

Pakistan also has the death penalty for serious crimes such as murder and rape, but it also includes blasphemy and unlawful assembly. So if a member of the police or security services informs you that you are, or are about to commit blasphemy, take it very seriously as the sentence may be death.

Certain forms of sexual conduct are illegal under Pakistani law. Homosexuality and sodomy are both illegal, with penalties ranging up to life imprisonment. It is also illegal for unmarried heterosexual couples to live together, although the punishment is not as severe as those for homosexual activities.

Importation of alcohol or pork related products is illegal in Pakistan, and yes, they do mean it.

If you think some of these laws are onerous, be very careful about what you say in Pakistan as attempting to convert a Muslim or encouraging one to abandon religion altogether is illegal.

It is rare, but corporal punishment is sometimes enforced for Muslims who commit such crimes as robbery, public drunkenness, and general consumption of alcohol.

There are certain things that aren't quite illegal exactly, but should be avoided. As in all countries experiencing violent outbreaks avoid taking photographs of airports, military and government buildings or installations or anything that might be considered sensitive.

Pakistan is a Muslim country, and general precautions should be taken because of this. Be careful not to offend the strict Islamic codes of dress and behaviour, this may cause unwanted attention from both the populace and the police. Take care to wear long sleeved garments at all times, and avoid physical contact between men and women in public.

Sadly, women may be targets of harassment, and especially so if they are unaccompanied.

Lastly, during Ramadan, eating, drinking and smoking between sunrise and sunset is forbidden to Muslims and while technically not illegal for non-Muslims, is something that should be avoided in public just to stay on the safe side.

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  • nate n said

    This is very helpful! Thanks!

  • Gary hart said


  • Muhammad Khan said

    Hello sirs
    Basicly one of my friend is homosexual and he want to come back uk to pakistan is there any chance to live a life freely or is there any protection from any organisations
    What will happen with him... and his family also know he is gay and they don't like him
    They said to him when you will come they will burn him etc so he is scare is there any solution..

  • erza said

    The stories people tell you are way too much. Yes it is forbidden in Pakistan to have a same sex marriage. Its not like they are gonna burn you or something. If you stay low key no one will even bother ,because people are too busy solving their own problems.

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