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Country Reports

Pakistan Country Report

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Risk Level

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Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Pakistan's economy faces major challenges over the two-year horizon. These include sizeable fiscal and current-account deficits, rapidly returning inflation, and unsustainably low levels of foreign-exchange reserves. Recent stabilisation policy measures by the new government of Imran Khan and the State Bank of Pakistan will be followed by more significant fiscal and monetary policy consolidation efforts over the next 12 months, leading to a slowdown in economic growth from 5.4% in fiscal year (FY) 2018 to 4.6% in FY 2019 and 4.3% in FY 2020. Significant external financing will be needed to close Pakistan's large external liquidity gap. An International Monetary Fund loan is highly likely in the coming months, in addition to concessionary and commercial lending from China and Saudi Arabia. Chinese entities, in return, will continue to be preferred for projects installing new energy capacity and building transport infrastructure, while Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund has begun assessing investment in Pakistan's resource sectors. Intensified India-Pakistan confrontation in Kashmir is a high risk following aerial engagements between the two countries' air forces in February 2018, particularly with electoral pressure building on Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi. Any escalation will likely be limited to the disputed Kashmir region and will probably affect military assets primarily. The overwhelming interest of both parties, however, is to avoid an extremely damaging conflict that extends outside the disputed region. Furthermore, India and Pakistan probably calculate that the US, China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia will intervene to mediate a negotiation that allows the respective governments to save face, and to avert an escalatory pathway. Non-state armed group activity declined for a fourth consecutive year in Pakistan during 2018, with overall attacks decreasing by 28%; there have been no major attacks on commercial assets or airports since 2015. However, suicide bombings targeting security forces and religious minorities in urban areas, including Lahore and Karachi, are likely.
Last update: March 26, 2019

Operational Outlook

The PTI-led government encourages foreign direct investment, and has signalled intent to improve the country's operating environment. Details have not yet been released, but any plan would have to tackle Pakistan's governance issues, corruption, and excessive regulation. The emphasis on CPEC is likely to shift towards developmental, industrial, and transport sectors as the initiative's focus shifts towards improving exports and actualising CPEC's primary objective of developing trade and connectivity between China, Pakistan, and the broader region. Strikes are particularly likely in the transportation and power transmission sectors, and pose risks of collateral damage to property.

Last update: February 16, 2019

Terrorism

Non-state armed group attacks decreased by 28% across the country during 2018, marking a fourth consecutive year of declining attacks. The data underline that Islamist militant groups continue to struggle to reorganise following military operations against their strongholds in 2014, reducing the frequency and capability of their attacks. We expect the terrorism risk to airports, ports, hotels, infrastructure, and government installations to reduce further over the coming year, although there is an increasing risk of separatists staging suicide assaults or improvised explosive device attacks against restaurants and hotels frequented by Chinese nationals in Balochistan and Sindh.

Last update: January 24, 2019

War Risks

India and Pakistan have been engaged in a significant military conflict along the Line of Control (LoC) in disputed Kashmir since February 2018. This was triggered by a 14 February suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) attack against Indian security forces in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir, which was claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammed (a Pakistan-based Kashmiri separatist group). India and Pakistan have subsequently launched airstrikes, reportedly targeting non-military assets in Kashmir, and an Indian Air Force pilot was captured by Pakistan. Given these developments, there is a very high risk of escalation towards localised, but more intense direct Indian-Pakistani military confrontation in Kashmir.

Last update: March 26, 2019

Social Stability

Opposition parties are likely to organise regular protests against the government over anti-corruption investigations against senior opposition figures. However, these are unlikely to cause major disruption or result in violence. More violent unrest is likely to be driven by Islamist groups campaigning in support of blasphemy laws, resulting in intermittent periods of violent protests and road blockades across all major cities. Security forces will probably use tear gas, water cannon, and baton charges if protesters break police cordons or threaten high-security areas. Although there are civil society campaigns against some commercial projects, these rarely turn violent or derail projects politically.

Last update: March 27, 2019

Health Risk

Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for travelers over nine months of age arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever (YFV) transmission and for travelers who have been in transit for >12 hours in an airport located in a country with risk of YFV transmission.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Japanese Encephalitis: For stays of longer than one month in a rural zone during the rainy season (for children over the age of one). The vaccine is administered in a local medical facility.

Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Pakistan is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters. A massive earthquake took place in October 2005 in Azad Kashmir, resulting in 80,000 deaths.

The country regularly experiences flooding, which is often deadly. In June 2017, severe flooding killed 164 people and injured 200 more. Unprecedented flooding that occurred in August 2010 after an unusually heavy monsoon season left 3 million people homeless and impacted 17 million people overall.

The Pakistani state's capacity to deal with the challenges presented by natural disasters is often insufficient.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Due to locals' dangerous driving habits, often substandard highways, and a general disregard for rules of the road - in addition to the added risk of an armed attack - the use of public transportation (buses as well as trains) is ill-advised. Travelers should be extremely cautious while driving on highways outside of cities.

Driving becomes particularly hazardous during the winter months, as the sudden increase in the demand of electricity prompted by falling temperatures results in heavy smog and poor visibility on the roads, especially in the densely populated urban areas of Sindh, Punjab, and Baluchistan provinces. No less than 50 smog-related traffic accidents were reported in the Lahore region in a three-day period of severe air pollution in early November 2017.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Pakistan has a continental climate; weather conditions can vary greatly from region to region as well from season to season and from day to day. Generally speaking there are three main seasons: a cool to cold winter (October to February), a hot summer (March to June), and a hot, humid, and rainy monsoon season (July to September). Temperatures tend to be higher in the south, cooling progressively as you travel north.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +92
Police, Fire Dept., Ambulance: 171

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019