How to get around in Pakistan: A few tips

Public transport is not even reliable and there is serious risk of carjackings and armed robbery..

Getting around in Pakistan is more than slightly problematic. It is advised that you not use public transport of any form and taxis in particular should be ruled out completely. Not only is public transport fairly notorious for crimes against foreign travellers, they are also seriously at risk of terrorist and militant attack.

Militants have planted bombs on various rail networks, and derailments and attempted derailments have occurred multiple times in recent years. Trains should not be considered safe for any reason, and the danger is enhanced on longer journeys.

Do not travel between urban areas outside of daylight hours. It is as simple as that. Night time travel presents an almost certain risk of carjacking, militant attack, or road accident due to the high levels of violent activity and poor road conditions respectively.

When driving during daylight hours, lock all doors and keep windows wound all the way up. Car jackings and other crimes such as kidnapping also occur within daylight hours in urban areas and there is a very real risk of being dragged from your car if you leave either the door unlocked, or the windows wound down. Under no circumstances buy anything from street vendors or have any form of contact with beggars while travelling by car.

To give you a clear idea of just how dangerous travel is in general in Pakistan and for foreigners in particular, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released this statement in October of 2008 "All foreigners, including diplomats, may not move out of their city of residence without proper security and prior co-ordination with the law enforcement agency with regard to their move or visit." While this is not generally speaking enforced, the statement has not been retracted either.

Air travel is somewhat safer, although on the 28th of July 2010, an Airblue flight carrying 152 passengers and crew crashed close to Daman e Koh in the Magara Hills with no survivors. Since 2006, you will also need one of the following forms of photo ID for domestic flights, national Identity card (computerised), passport, driving licence, photo credit card, or school ID card (for children under the age of 18). This must be an original document not a copy and obviously, must have the same name as is present on your ticket.

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