Karachi

ABOUT THE CITY

Karachi is the largest city, seaport and the financial capital of Pakistan.  It is locally termed as the City of Lights for its liveliness.  The city credits its growth to the mixed populations of economic and political migrants and refugees from different national, provincial, linguistic and religious origins that have largely come to live here permanently. Karachi is the financial capital of Pakistan.  Besides banking and finance, Karachi also hosts the offices of foreign multinational corporations as well as corporations based in Pakistan. It is home to the largest stock exchange of Pakistan: the Karachi Stock Exchange. It is also a region of ample sunshine and cool sea breezes is. Two hours away from Karachi main city you will be able to enjoy white sandy beaches for a day, or stay the weekend in a rented villa.

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    About Karachi

    Karachi is the largest city in Pakistan and is the provincial capital of Sindh province. Located on the coast of the Arabian Sea, north-west of the Indus River Delta, it was the original capital of Pakistan and remains the cultural and economic hub, as well as being the largest seaport of the country.

    Its leading economic sectors include finance, business services, transportation, media, television production, publishing, software production, medical research, education and tourism.

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    Economy

    Karachi continues to be an important financial and industrial centre for the country and handles most of the overseas trade of Pakistan and the central Asian countries. It accounts for a large portion of the GDP of Pakistan and a large chunk of the country’s white collar workers. Karachi’s population has continued to grow and is estimated to have passed the 20 million mark, although official figures still show a population of around 14.5 million. The current economic boom in Pakistan has also resulted in a new period of resurgence in the economy of Karachi.

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    Fast Facts

    Population  17,000,000

    Province Sindh

    Area  3,527 km²

    Elevation  8m

    Calling code  21

    Time Zone  UTC+5

    About Pakistan

    Fast Facts
    Population – 164,741,924
    Capital – Islamabad
    Government type – Federal Republic
    Unemployment rate – 6.5% plus substantial underemployment
    Internet country code:     .pk
    Currency (code) – Pakistani rupee (PKR)
    Official language(s) – Urdu, English, Punjabi
    Religion – Muslim (majority), Christian, Hindu
    Largest Cities – Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi
    Calling code –  92
    Area
    total: 803,940 sq km
    land: 778,720 sq km
    water: 25,220 sq km
    Elevation
    lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
    highest point: K2 (Mt. Godwin-Austen) 8,611 m (28,251 feet)

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    Climate

    Located on the coast, Karachi tends to have a relatively mild climate with low levels of average precipitation, the bulk of which occurs during the July-August monsoon season. Winters are mild and the summers are hot, however the proximity to the sea maintains humidity levels at a near-constant high and cool sea breezes relieve the heat of the summer months.

    Month Temp Avg Precip
    Jan 68°F 0.10 in.
    Feb 70°F 0.30 in.
    Mar 76°F 0.30 in.
    Apr 81°F 0.20 in.
    May 85°F 0.00 in.
    Jun 87°F 0.20 in.
    Jul 86°F 2.60 in.
    Aug 83°F 1.80 in.
    Sep 82°F 0.90 in.
    Oct 82°F 0.00 in.
    Nov 77°F 0.10 in.
    Dec 71°F 0.20 in.

    By Car

    Traffic in Pakistan moves on the left, opposite of U.S. traffic.  In addition to this source of potential confusion, travel by road in Pakistan has a variety of other risks.  Roads are crowded, drivers are often aggressive and poorly trained, and many vehicles, particularly large trucks and buses, are badly maintained.  Donkeys, cattle, horse carts, and even the occasional camel can pose roadside hazards in some areas.  Roads, including most major highways, also suffer from poor maintenance and often have numerous potholes, sharp drop-offs and barriers that are not sign-posted.  Extreme caution should be exercised when traveling at night by road since many vehicles do not have proper illumination or dimmers nor are most roads properly illuminated or signed.  Driving without experienced local drivers or guides is not recommended.

    Air Transportation

    Jinnah International Airport
    http://www.karachiairport.com.pk/

    The Jinnah International Airport is located in Karachi. It is the largest and busiest airport of the country. It handles 6 million passengers a year. The airport also receives the largest number of foreign airlines, a total of 27 airlines fly to Jinnah International predominantly from the Middle East and South East Asia. All of Pakistan’s airlines use Karachi as their Primary hub including Pakistan International Airlines, Aero Asia International, Airblue and Shaheen Air.

    Local Phone Numbers

    Police: 15
    Ambulance: 115
    Fire: 16
    Hospital: (92-21) 7729719
    Time: 14
    Weather: (92-21) 4572811

    Telephone
    Dialing from New York to Karachi:
    Dial: 011 92 21 XXXX-XXXX
    How the number is composed:
    011 is the international prefix used to dial somewhere outside of U.S.A.
    92 is the international code used to dial Pakistan.
    21 is the local area or city code used to dial Karachi.
    XXXX-XXXX is the local number. Exchange X with your number.

    Dialing  from Karachi to New York:
    Dial: 00 1 212 XXX-XXXX
    How the number is composed:
    00 is the international prefix used to dial somewhere outside of Pakistan.
    1 is the international code used to dial to U.S.A.
    212 is one of multiple city/area codes in use for New York.
    XXX-XXXX is the local number. Exchange X with your number.

    Time Zone
    The definition for time zones can be written in short form as UTC±n (or GMT±n), where n is the offset in hours. Here is an example given the local time in Pakistan and New York City at 12:00 UTC when daylight saving time is not in effect:

    Pakistan Standard Time Zone: GMT/UTC+5 hour= 5:00 am
    NYC Standard Time Zone: GMT/UTC – 05:00 hour = 7:00 pm (previous day)

    Pakistan does not observe Day Light Savings Time.

    Electricity
    220 V, 50 Hz AC.

    Currency & Banking

    Pakistan is largely a cash economy.  Personal checks are not commonly accepted.  Most Pakistanis do not use checking accounts for routine transactions.  Outside of major cities and tourist destinations, even credit cards and travelers’ checks are generally not accepted, and there have been numerous reports of credit card fraud.  There are bank branches as well as registered moneychangers in all international airports.  ATMs can also be found in major airports.  English is widely spoken by professional-level airport staff.

    Business Hours

    Office Hours: 9 am to 5 PM with one hour break from Monday to Thursday and with two hours break on Fridays, Saturday is half working day from 9 am to 1:30 PM without break. Sunday is off.

    Dining

    Pakistani Cuisine is famous all around the world for its spices, aroma and flavors. It has earned Pakistan a name in gastronomical delights. Pakistani cuisine is based on curry or masala (hot and spicy) sauces accompanying chicken, lamb, shrimps and a wide choice of vegetables.

    National specialties:
    Biryani (seasoned rice with mutton, chicken and yogurt).
    Sag gosht (spinach and lamb curry).
    Shish kebabs (charcoal-grilled meat on skewers).
    Shami-kebabs (patties of chopped meat fried in ghee or butter).
    Halwa (sweetmeat made with eggs, carrots, maize cream, sooji and nuts).
    Firni (similar to vanilla custard).

    National drinks:
    Tea (drunk strong with milk and often very sweet).
    There are no bars since there are strict laws concerning alcohol, and it is illegal to drink in public. Waiter service is provided in the larger hotels and restaurants. Visitors should avoid drinking water from the tap; bottled water is available everywhere, but it is necessary to make sure it comes in properly sealed plastic bottles.

    Tipping:
    Most high-class hotels and restaurants add a 10 per cent service charge. Other tipping is discretionary.

    Pakistan is an agricultural nation and its produce is beautiful. Fruits and vegetables are available in abundance in Karachi. There are seasonal and year round fruits, among them the coveted mangoes of the summer, and the tangerines, oranges, plump grapefruits and pomegranates that are sought after in winter Bananas, apples and coconut are common year round. All kinds of seafood, poultry and meat products are easily available in supermarkets and the commissary.

    Embassy & Visa

    Embassy of Pakistan
    3517 International Court Avenue, NW
    Washington, D.C. 20008
    (202) 243-6500
    www.pakistan-embassy.org

    The U.S. Consulate General in Karachi, located at 8 Abdullah Haroon Road, closed its public operations indefinitely due to security concerns.  U.S. citizens requiring emergency assistance should call the Consular Section in Karachi

    (92-21) 520-4200
    http://karachi.usconsulate.gov/

    Visa
    Official Registration with the U.S. Embassy
    https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/
    The State Department has launched a secure online travel registration website which will allow you, as an American citizen, to record foreign trip and residence information that the Department of State can use to communicate with you and assist you in case of an emergency.

    Travel registration is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. Registration allows you to record information about your upcoming trip abroad that the Department of State can use to assist you in case of an emergency. Americans residing abroad can also get routine information from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.  U.S. citizens around the world who travel or reside abroad can access this site.

    Etiquette

    Pakistan has a rich and unique culture that has preserved established traditions throughout history. Many cultural practices, foods, monuments, and shrines were inherited from the rule of Muslim Mughal and Afghan emperors. The national dress of shalwar qamiz is originally of Central Asian origin derived from Turko-Iranian nomadic invaders and is today worn in all parts of Pakistan. Women wear brightly colored shalwar qamiz, while men often wear solid-colored ones. Women are advised to dress conservatively, with arms and legs covered, and avoid walking around alone. In cities western dress is also popular among the youth and the business sector.

    English is widely spoken in Karachi. It is the language of the educated classes, the military and the corporate world, and is considered vital for anyone wishing to get ahead. All signs are in English and Urdu.

    Healthcare

    Adequate medical care is available in major Pakistani cities, but is limited in rural areas.  Facilities in the cities vary in level and range of services, resources, and cleanliness, and Americans may find them below U.S. standards; facilities in rural areas are consistently below U.S. standards.  Medical facilities require prepayment and do not accept credit cards.

    Pakistan and sanitation in many restaurants is inadequate.  Stomach illnesses are common and can be life-threatening.  Effective emergency response to personal injury and illness is virtually non-existent in Pakistan.  Ambulances are few and are not necessarily staffed by medical personnel.  Any emergency case should be transported immediately to recommended emergency receiving rooms.  Many American-brand medications are not widely available, but generic brands from well-known pharmaceuticals usually are.  The quality of the locally-produced medications is not known.

    Taxes

    If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien living or traveling outside the United States, you generally are required to file income tax returns, estate tax returns, and gift tax returns and pay estimated tax in the same way as those residing in the United States. Your income, filing status, and age generally determine whether you must file a return. Generally, you must file a return if your gross income from worldwide sources is at least the amount shown for your filing status in the Filing Requirements table in Chapter 1 of Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad (available at www.irs.gov). The IRS web site has a wealth of information available for the overseas taxpayer. Follow the ‘Individuals’ and ‘International Taxpayers’ links, or search for IRS Publication 54.

    U.S. Tax Information
    Internal Revenue Service
    P.O. Box 920
    Bensalem, PA 19020
    (215) 516-2000 (not toll-free)
    Phone service available from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm (EST) M-F

    Mail Service

    Pakistan Post Office
    (92-51)9260025
    Help Line 111-111-117
    www.pakpost.gov.pk

    Pakistan Post has a broad and varied role to play beyond provision of communication link for individuals and businesses. Keeping pace with the changing communications market, Pakistan Post is emphasizing in the use of new communication and information technologies to move beyond what is traditionally regarded as a its core postal business.  Pakistan post is committed to make secure and timely delivery of mail, money and material at the doorsteps of the customers at affordable cost.

    K-12

    Karachi American School
    Amir Khusro Road, KDA Scheme #1
    Karachi, 75350Pakistan
    (92-21)453-9096/9

    USA
    Department of State – Karachi
    6150 Karachi Place
    Washington, D.C.  20521-6150
    www.kas.edu.pk

    The Narayan Jagannath High School at Karachi was the first government school established in Sindh. It was opened in October 1855. Karachi has well known educational institutes of international standards. Most universities of Karachi are considered to be amongst the premier educational institutions of Pakistan.

    Higher Education

    Karachi is host to the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), one of the most sought after business schools of Pakistan. IBA, founded in 1955, is the oldest business school outside North America. Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Mr. Shaukat Aziz, is an MBA from this institute.

    Other universities include the Virtual University of Karachi (introduced by the Science and Technology Ministry), Szabist (Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology — it started off in Karachi and is now in selective cities in Pakistan and Dubai), Agha Khan University (among the best Medical universities in Pakistan), Iqra University and Institute of Business and Technology (BIZTEK).