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Country Reports

Pakistan Country Report

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Risk Level

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Moderate
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High
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Severe
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Overview

Executive Summary

Pakistan's economy is facing significant 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. The annual number of militant attacks have fallen by almost 70% since a 2014 military campaign against Islamist bases in northwest Pakistan; 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. Deteriorating relations with India are likely to encourage small-scale incidents involving small-arms and artillery fire between the armies of the two countries in Kashmir and along the international border in northern Punjab. This is unlikely to affect commercial assets, other than possibly affecting civilian helicopters. Election of a coalition government after the Indian elections in early 2019 would increase prospects of bilateral talks resuming between India and Pakistan. © 2018, IHS Markit Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Last update: November 14, 2018

Operational Outlook

The government encourages foreign direct investment, but its efforts have been undermined by Pakistan's challenging security situation. China's commitment of USD57 billion to an economic corridor in Pakistan, focusing on energy and infrastructure, will significantly alleviate Pakistan's energy crisis and logistical issues – but only in the long term, as delays are likely. Governance issues, corruption, and excessive regulation will probably hamper investment in nearly all sectors. There remains little political will to tackle endemic corruption despite opposition protests. Strikes are particularly likely in the transportation and power transmission sectors, and pose risks of collateral damage to property.

Last update: September 4, 2018

Terrorism

Total militant attacks in Pakistan fell to 367 in 2017 from 414 in 2016, marking a year-on-year decrease of 12% and the third consecutive year of declining attacks in the country. A further decline is likely following death of TTP leader Mullah Fazlullah in June 2018. Islamist militants nevertheless continue to carry out high-casualty attacks, but their targeting has increasingly focused on schools, the judiciary, civil society, and religious minorities, particularly in Sindh and Balochistan. Harder targets, including airports and government/military installations, face a lower threat level. Nationalist groups in Balochistan and Sindh are likely to target security forces and Chinese personnel, but have low capability.

Last update: November 2, 2018

War Risks

The Kashmir dispute continues to strain relations with India, and skirmishes between the two countries have increased since 2014. Intensified cross-border fighting along the Line of Control, as well as less likely along the northern borders of Punjab, is unlikely to abate in the one-year outlook. Full-scale military confrontation with India nevertheless remains unlikely despite increasing rhetoric in both countries. A major militant attack in India, however, would increase the likelihood of limited conflict. Challenging relations with Afghanistan and border fencing by Pakistan will also raise the risks of intermittent fighting on Pakistan's western border, but wider escalation is unlikely.

Last update: November 2, 2018

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: November 9, 2018

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: November 28, 2013

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: February 13, 2018

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: February 13, 2018

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: December 12, 2013