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Travel Guide > Asia > Pakistan

Pakistan Health & Safety

  
 
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Visitors are strongly advised to refrain from drinking tap water; many Pakistani locals themselves drink boiled or purified water. Take every precaution to drink only boiled, filtered or bottled water. Tap water is known to contain many impurities. Ice is usually made from regular tap-water, and may be even harder to avoid. Fresh milk from the carrier should be boiled and cooled before consumption. Non-pasteurized dairy can spread tuberculosis. Be careful of the people with a hacking cough. Nestle Milk Pack, Haleeb Milk, Olpers, and others are trusted brands and are available at most grocery stores.

Take precautions against malaria, which is spread by mosquitoes. The first and most effective way is to avoid getting bitten, but if you plan to stay in a place where malaria is common, you may need to eat prophylactic medicine as well. The risk of getting Malaria decreases with higher altitudes.

In the summer it gets very hot. Be careful to stay hydrated. Temperature ranges between 40C to 50C in June-July. But as soon as Monsoon rains set in during Aug-Sept months, it gets to around 30C but with high level of humidity.

Do not eat food that has been lying out for some time, as high temperatures speed up deterioration. Avoid posh but unfrequented restaurants.

Some Pakistani dishes can be very spicy! Always notify your host, cook or waiter if you can not take very spicy food.

Safety

Pakistan has endured several bomb attacks over the last few years against security forces, so called western institutions (e.g the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad) and has seen the public assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto upon her return from exile. Currently these attacks are increasing due to increased military action against the Taliban. For the ordinary traveler it's a fairly hospitable country but social protests tend to turn violent and political demonstrations are always sensitive. Before traveling you should check with your embassy about off-limits areas, the latest political & military developments and keep an close eye on current issues with independent news sources.

Use common sense and a healthy dose of courtesy when in conversation with Pakistanis. Kashmir is a particularly sensitive topic and best avoided altogether. Discussion about religion and Islam should remain respectful and positive — some Pakistanis are not tolerant of other religions, and if theirs is spoken about negatively, it could result in violence.

The line of control between Azad Kashmir and the Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir is off-limits for foreign tourists, though domestic tourists can visit Azad Kashmir without any restriction (but should keep their identity cards with them).

The Federally Administered Tribal Areas & all regions near the sensitive Afghan border should not be visited at any time by foreign tourists, as the Pakistan government has little to no authority in these areas and cannot aid you in an emergency. If you do have reason to visit, seek expert guidance, including that of your embassy, who can advise you on the special permissions required.

Peace has returned to Swat Valley and the army holds full control with lots of Foreign Nationals working in the form of NGOs. Road infrastructure was destroyed due to the 2010 floods but the army does massive efforts to restore the infrastructure. Northern and Western Balochistan are considered dangerous and not fit for travelers.

Prostitution has no legal recognition in Pakistan. Moreover despite growth of male prostitution, homosexuality is outlawed in the nation. Under Section 377 of the Pakistan Penal Code, whoever voluntarily has "carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal" shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than two years nor more than ten years, and shall also be liable to fine. Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offense described in this section. Arrests are not common for homosexuality evidenced by a vibrant gay nightlife existing in many metropolitan areas.





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