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Life in Islamabad

The Country

When you view Pakistan on the map, you’ll see China to the northeast, old Russia to the north, Afghanistan and Iran to the west and India to the southeast. Imagine high mountain passes and the history of caravans moving back and forth between ancient cultures. Imagine the sights and smells of market trading. Pakistan is a land of contrasts with the old and the modern side by side. Pakistan is also a country of spectacular beauty, culture, and diversity.

Islamabad

Islamabad is nestled against the backdrop of the Margalla Hills. It is a modern, planned city with wide tree lined streets, large houses, elegant public buildings and well-organized bazaars. It is however; always under construction to improve transportation or develop new housing areas for its growing population. The walkways are shaded, safe, and separated from the traffic by rows of flame trees, jacaranda and hibiscus. Roses, jasmine and bougainvillea fill the parks, and scenic viewpoints show the city to its advantage.

Climate

From mid-September to mid-December and February-March, the weather in Islamabad is absolutely perfect. December and January are chilly; we even have a hard frost from time to time. The monsoon season starts in June. Rains are heavy and the air is very hot and humid in July and August.

Safety & Security

Security within Islamabad and its entrances is strictly controlled. Islamabad, as do many other cities, employees multiple strategies to ensure the safety of its citizens. The Superintendent liaises regularly with various Embassy security personnel, who routinely assess and advise on the School security. ISOI has been pronounced one of the safest schools world-wide. As in any city, residents are advised to be alert, follow safety advice and check with security before frequenting public venues. Residents entertain in small groups.

Women in Pakistan

Women can drive automobiles and circulate in Islamabad without fear of harassment. Conservative dress would always be prudent. Western dress is common in Islamabad.

Travel

Several major airlines serve Islamabad directly. Car travel is relatively easy, but “defensive” driving will serve you well. Air travel within the country is inexpensive. Travel to the northern areas is often dictated by weather, road conditions, and security updates.

Recreation

If you like to walk, golf, play tennis or hike, Islamabad will probably meet your recreational needs, but there is much more. The school boasts the finest swimming pool in Pakistan. Both Islamabad and Rawalpindi have better-than-average golf courses. Tennis, horseback riding, darts, and yoga are popular activities. The local Asian Study Group also schedules a wide variety of outings and events.  There are more than enough opportunities to occupy your leisure time.

Cultural Entertainment

Maybe Islamabad falls short of New York City or London, but there are surprises and new discoveries. The various embassies have clubs, which sponsor dances, musical concerts and social events. Pakistan has unique cultural and tribal music. Again, the Asian Study Group sponsors a wide variety of cultural activities, programs and study groups.

Shopping

We hear few complaints about the availability of desired foods, meats and vegetables. If you are into carpets, leather, brass and antiques, Pakistan is where you want to be. Almost everything, with the exception of pork and alcohol, is available in the local markets. Electronics are readily available and should be purchased in Pakistan to avoid import duties.

Technology

Broadband is available, as is cable television. Both are exceptionally reasonable in cost. Internet speed is excellent.

Family Visits

Tourist visas can be obtained to allow parents, family members and friends to visit Pakistan. Many choose to have guests during the Christmas holiday when the weather is cooler.