About Islamabad

Islamabad – World’s Second Most Beautiful Capital City.

Access Islamabad

Islamabad has an international airport, located on main Islamabad Highway that has daily flights to and from the rest of the country, in addition to a host of international flights from all over the region, the UK, the USA, and other major international destinations. Many international airlines operate regular flights to and from Islamabad international airport and few of them are:
Pakistan International Airlines, Air Blue, Aero Asia International,  Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways,  Qatar Airways, Kuwait Airways, Thai Airways, Gulf Air, Saudi Arabian Airlines.

Public transportation

Visitors to Islamabad have a number of options for getting around the city and the rest of the country with public transportation. Public busses are slow and crowded, but very cheap.  They are easily identified by their bright colors.  Seats in the front, near the driver, are for women and children.
Note: sometimes drivers expect passengers to jump off at stops while the bus is moving.

The Pakistan Railway Company has a large network of routes that link the major destinations around the country, including Islamabad.  For information about available routes to and from Islamabad, check out this Plan a Trip link.

Taxis are a good way of getting around the immediate city of Islamabad.  Fares are to be negotiated before starting a trip, and are usually very cheap.  Think about arranging for round trip fares, because taxis can be hard to come by in many areas.  Generally, taxis will be waiting outside of major public areas such as the airport, train station, bus station, and large hotels.  Because most drivers do not speak English, make sure to carry a map with your destination distinctly circled.

Demographics 

Islamabad had an estimated population of around 1.67 million in 2011which, according to the estimate of Population Census Organization will rise to around 2 million in 2020.  Urdu, the national language of the country, is predominantly spoken within the city as well as English. The mother tongue of the majority of the population is Punjabi  and the major dialect is Pothohari.

The majority of the population lies in the age group of 15–64 years around 59%. Islamabad has the highest literacy rate in Pakistan (88%), 9.8% of the population has done intermediate education 10.26% have a bachelor or equivalent degree while 5.2% have a master or equivalent degree. Unemployment rate is 15.70%.

Islam is the largest religion in the city, with 95.53% of the population being Muslims. The second largest religion is Christianity, with 4.07% of the population, Hinduism accounts for 0.02% of the population, and other minorities account for 0.03%.

History of Islamabad

After the formation of Pakistan in 1947, it was felt that a new and permanent Capital City had to be built to reflect the diversity of the Pakistani nation. It was considered pertinent to locate the new capital where it could be isolated from the business and commercial activity of Karachi, and yet be easily accessible from the remotest corner of the country.

A commission was accordingly set in motion in 1958, entrusted with the task of selecting a suitable site for the new capital with a particular emphasis on location, climate, logistics and defense requirements, aesthetics, and scenic and natural beauty.

After extensive research, feasibility studies and a thorough review of various sites, the commission recommended the area North East of the historic garrison city of Rawalpindi. After the final decision of the National Cabinet, it was put into practice. A Greek firm, Doxiadis Associates devised a master plan based on a grid system, with its north facing the Margallah Hills. The long-term plan was that Islamabad would eventually encompass Rawalpindi entirely, stretching to the West of the historic Grand Trunk road.

Islamabad nestles against the backdrop of the Margallah Hills at the northern end of Potohar Plateau. Its climate is healthy, pollution free, plentiful in water resources and lush green. It is a modern and carefully planned city with wide roads and avenues, elegant public buildings and well-organized bazaars, markets, and shopping center.

The city is divided into eight basic zones: Administrative, diplomatic enclave, residential areas, educational sectors, industrial sectors, commercial areas, and rural and green areas.

The metropolis of Islamabad today is the pulsating beat of Pakistan, resonating with the energy and strength of a growing, developing nation. It is a city which symbolizes the hopes and dreams of a young and dynamic nation and espouses the values and codes of the generation that has brought it thus far. It is a city that welcomes and promotes modern ides, but at the same time recognizes and cherishes its traditional values and rich history.

Visa for Pakistan

It is advised to apply for visa as early as possible, to ensure that you will get it in time for traveling to Pakistan.
Please click on the link below to find out more: http://www.embassyofpakistanusa.org/consa6.php

Electricity & power

  • Voltage: 230 V
  • Frequency: 50 Hz
  • Power sockets: type C / D

You can use your electric appliances in Pakistan, if the standard voltage in your country is in between 220V – 240V (as in the UK, Europe, Australia and most of Asian and African countries).

Transport/Communication

Airports: Islamabad is connected to major destinations around the world through Benazir Bhutto International Airport, previously known as Islamabad International Airport.

The airport is the third largest in Pakistan and is located outside Islamabad, in Chaklala, Rawalpindi. Islamabad Gandhara International Airport is under construction at Fateh Jang to cope with the increasing number of passengers. When completed, the airport will be the largest in Pakistan. The airport is expected to be complete and operational by 2017.

The Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metrobus is a 24 km (14.9 mi) bus rapid transit system that serves the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad in Pakistan. It uses dedicated bus lanes for all of its route covering 24 bus stations.

All major cities and towns are accessible through regular trains and bus services running mostly from the neighboring city of Rawalpindi. Lahore and Peshawar are linked to Islamabad through a network of motorways, which has significantly reduced traveling times between these cities. Islamabad is itself situated on G.T Road (N-5).

Currency, Money & Banks

The Pakistani rupee (PKR) is the official currency of Pakistan. The Rupee (R) equals 100 paisa. $1.00 (US) is about 105.39 PKR.

Pakistan is primarily a cash-based society. Few establishments take credit cards, and virtually no establishments take traveler’s checks. So be sure to bring plenty of cash, while taking necessary precautions.

Pakistan’s banking sector is one of the developed sectors of Pakistan. Every Bank has it’s own ATM Machines and online branches in almost  every city. If you carry an ATM card of any bank with Maestro, Cirrus or other common types you can use your card here in some banks- though they may be somewhat hard to find, or due to some recent changes, more difficult than before. Some ATM networks such as Star and Plus and more difficult to find, especially in smaller cities. There are many money changers, and there will be at least one in the international airports.Western Union is working almost in every city of Pakistan.

Climate 

The climate of Islamabad has a humid subtropical climate with five seasons: Winter (November–February), Spring (March and April), Summer (May and June), Rainy Monsoon (July and August) and Autumn (September and October). The hottest month is June, where average highs routinely exceed 38 °C (100.4 °F). The wettest month is July, with heavy rainfalls and evening thunderstorms with the possibility of cloudburst and flooding.

Health & Safety

Islamabad can be a fairly safe place to visit.  Having said this, there are certain precautions that should be taken in order to ensure a smooth trip through the capital city of Pakistan.  Like always, common sense is the most important tool to be used in staying safe.

Pickpockets are not a major problem in Islamabad, but they have been known to hit unsuspecting tourists in certain areas.  Be aware that the prime spots for pickpockets are crowded, public areas such as train and bus stations, as well as markets.Demonstrations, protests and mass gatherings occur in major public areas.  Avoid these situations as they can be dangerous.

There are certain diseases and illnesses that can be dangerous in Pakistan.  Make sure to consult a doctor a few months before departing to ensure having gotten the proper vaccinations and immunizations.  Avoid walking alone at night (especially women).

This is a general recommendation for any unfamiliar area, but should be followed in Islamabad as well.  If staying with a group is not an option and walking is unavoidable, try to remain in lighted, public areas.

Dress for men and women should be conservative.  No shorts or tank tops.  Women should cover their arms and legs.

Food & Beverage

Muslims follow the Islamic law that lists foods and drinks that are Halal and permissible to consume. Halal foods are food items that Muslims are allowed to eat and drink under Islamic dietary guidelines. The criteria specify both what foods are allowed, and how the food must be prepared.

Pakistani dishes are known for having aromatic and spicy flavors, and some dishes often contain liberal amounts of oil, which contributes to a richer, fuller mouthfeel and flavour. Cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, mace, and black pepper are the most commonly used spices in the making of a wide variety of dishes throughout Pakistan. Cumin seeds, chili powder, turmeric and bay leaves are also very popular.

Curries, with or without meat, combined with local vegetables, such as bitter gourd, cauliflower, eggplant, cabbage, potatoes, and chili peppers are most common and cooked for everyday consumption

Meat and grilled meat have played an important role in Pakistan for centuries. Kebabs are a staple item in Pakistani cuisine today, and one can find countless varieties of kebabs all over the country.

Pakistanis drink a great deal of tea, which is locally called “chai.” Both black and green teas are popular and there are different varieties common in different parts of Pakistan.

Besides tea, there are other drinks that may be included as part of the Pakistani cuisine. All of them are non-alcoholic as the consumption of alcohol is prohibited by Islam. Beverages such as coffee and soft drinks have also become popular in Pakistan.

It is advised not to drink water from the tap but bottled water.