There is so much to discover in Pakistan that it can be difficult to decide what to learn about first. From the diverse economy to the many wonderful languages, Pakistan has so much to offer to the rest of the world. Recently Pakistan has garnered a lot of attention for the scenic views and sky-touching in the northern part of the country mainly in Hunza, Kalash, Swat, and Murree. With tourism in the country on the rise, we decided to put together a guide to help you know a bit more about Pakistan.
In this guide, we’ll highlight a few key elements of Pakistani life including:
- The languages of Pakistan
- Pakistani Food/Cuisine
- Pakistani National Holidays
- Working in Pakistan
- Sport in Pakistan
- The Currency of Pakistan
- Getting a Visa to Pakistan
- Transferring Money to Pakistan
The Languages of Pakistan
There are over 70 languages spoken throughout Pakistan, 66 of which are indigenous to the region. The official national language of Pakistan is Urdu even though only about 7% of Pakistanis use Urdu as their first language.
English can be considered the second official language of Pakistan. Most, if not all, educational institutions offer curriculum in English with Urdu taught only as a mandatory subject till high school..
Alongside Urdu, there are four main languages that each have more than 10 million speakers in Pakistan namely Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto and Balochi.
According to a leading Pakistani newspaper, The Daily Times, , the most common language in Pakistan is Punjabi which is spoken by nearly 48% of the country. The next most common language is Sindhi which is spoken by 12% of Pakistanis, followed by Pashto (8%) and Balochi (3%).
The extraordinary blend of cultures and people in Pakistan means that you can expect to hear all these languages spoken on any street in the bigger cities like Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad as well as the smaller ones such as Faisalabad, Multan, Mirpur, Gujrawala, Sialkot and more.
Other languages found in Pakistan include Gujari, Brahui, Kashmiri and Shina.
Historically, Arabic, Bengali and Persian have also been spoken throughout the region.
Pakistan is known for its delicious and varied cuisine. From Halwa poori to Chaat to Nihari there is plenty to discover and enjoy.
Whether you are trying Payaand Murgh Cholay with Paratha from a stall on Gawalmandi Food Street, Lahore or digging into Beef Nihari under the stars at Burns Road, Karachi, Pakistani cuisine is a delight for your taste buds.
Even if you don’t live in Pakistan you must have come across some form of Pakistani cuisine wherever you live. Some cuisines that are favourites among the British, Europeans and Americans include Chicken Tikka, Biryani and Butter Chicken.
Sounds appetising right? Want to know more? Check out this list of the 20 Best Restaurants in Pakistan.
A variety of national and religious public holidays are celebrated across Pakistan every year.
If you have loved ones in Pakistan or you plan on visiting in the future it helps to know when these public holidays occur.
The official religion of Pakistan is Islam and a number of Islamic holidays are celebrated throughout the year including Eid-ul-Adha, Eid-ul-Fitr ( marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan), Eid Milad un-Nabi(the birthday of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad)..
There are also several national holidays including Kashmir Solidarity Day on the 5th of February, Pakistan Day, commemorating the Lahore Resolution, on the 23rd of March and Independence Day on the 14th of August, which marks the formation of Pakistan in 1947.
Working in Pakistan
At the time of independence and the introduction of the Pakistani rupee, agriculture was the largest industry.
Today, while agriculture is still significant, the economy is far more diverse and there has been a growth in skilled workers across industries as diverse as technology, finance, entertainment, manufacturing and banking.
While the ongoing global financial crisis has stunted the progress of many Pakistani businesses there is the potential for a strong economy to emerge and there will continue to be opportunities for skilled and highly-skilled workers.
In 2023, the average monthly salary of a person working in Pakistan is around 350 GBP, which, when converted to PKR makes PKR 81,800 depending on the ongoing GBP to PKR conversion rates.
This money will be able to go further in Pakistan than it would in the UK as the cost of living is considerably lower.
In general the prospects for workers in Pakistan have steadily improved over the years and the emergence of new industries are promising for skilled workers looking to make a permanent move to cities like Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad or Faisalabad.
Sport in Pakistan
The biggest sport in Pakistan is cricket. Even though hockey is the national sport of the country, it is cricket that keeps Pakistanis glued to their screens and in the stadiums.
It is an integral part of the life of millions of Pakistanis and a constant topic of conversation throughout the country.
This is illustrated in part by the fact that the current Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, is a famous former cricketer. In the 1980’s Imran Khan was the captain of Pakistan’s national cricket team and led the team when they won the Cricket World Cup in 1992.
Cricket is tied to the politics of the country but it is also the game that Pakistani children play in the streets, the schoolyards and the fields.
Part of Pakistan’s success in cricket has been attributed to the popularity of tape ball cricket, a variation on the traditional game that was pioneered in Karachi, Pakistan.
Cricket is by far the most popular sport in Pakistan but other common sports played throughout the country include football, snooker, table tennis and badminton.
The Currency of Pakistan
The currency of Pakistan is the Pakistani Rupee and is controlled and managed by the State Bank of Pakistan.
The word Rupee is derived from the ancient Sanskrit word “rup” or “rupa”, which means silver in many Indo-Aryan dialects.
The international currency code for the Pakistani rupee is PKR and the sign used is ₨.
The depictions on the Rupee notes are often famous national figures, monuments or buildings such as the Badshahi Masjid in Lahore on the Rs. 500 note or the Faisal Masjid in Islamabad on the Rs. 5000 note.
The Pakistani Rupee has emerged as one of the world’s best performing currencies and reflects the growth and strength of Pakistan's economy over the last twenty years.
However, in recent years the Pakistani Rupee has been depreciating against the USD and GBP which has opened doors to many overseas Pakistanis sending money home for family support as well as investment projects.
Getting a Visa
The process of receiving your Pakistani visa will depend on where you come from and the type of visa you are applying for.
You can find the detailed requirements for obtaining a Pakistani Tourist Visa on the Government of Pakistan’s official website.
For a tourist visa:
It will typically take up to 7-10 working days to process but it can take up to 3 months if it is delayed.
To be granted a visa you will need to be from an eligible country, and you will have to submit a photograph, a passport and hotel booking details.
Overall, Pakistan's visa process is not too different from many other countries. A large portion of the process can be conducted online.
The process for obtaining a work visa is slightly more complicated but hopefully some of the details will be managed by your employer.
Use Small World to Transfer Money to Pakistan
Small World is an international money transfer service that helps millions of people all around the world send and receive money across borders. If you need to send money to Pakistan, Small World is here to help.
You can support your loved ones in Pakistan via Small World’s money transfer services which include Instant Bank Deposit to any bank in Pakistan, Cash Pickup and Airtime top-up. Use our instant bank deposit service to send PKR to any bank in Pakistan including Habib Bank Limited (HBL), United Bank (UBL), Allied Bank, Meezan Bank and all other banks. You can also send cash for collection at over 5,201 locations across Pakistan including any of the branches of MCB Bank, Meezan Bank, HBL and Allied Bank.
Small World is verified by Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, European Payment Institutions Federation (EPIF) and IAMTN because we keep your safety first.
Your first transfer with us is always fee free so you can send money to your loved ones without stressing about the extra cost!