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Pakistan

hi all, i’m heading to pakistan so thought it might be a good thing to begin a thread on the country re logistics/general thoughts and experiences since it looks like there are a few of us heading/already there. 

so, let me start: re banking if anyone’s carrying cards with the cirrus symbol it seems that there’s a few locations that accepts them mainly in islambad and other larger citues, forget the smaller towns.

cirrus info: 

http://www.mastercard.com/atmlocator/geocodeAirport.sim?searchType=2&validatePage=&country=PAK&airPortNameOrCode=isb&city=&financialInstitution=&x=31&y=7

http://www.abnamro.com.pk/consumerbnk/atmnw.htm

also here’s a link with atms for those with citibank cards:

http://www.citibank.com/pakistan/consumer/aboutus/atmcn.htm

in general it’s a good idea to look into what county policies are re atm/credit cards.  for example, as of last february, uganda only accepted visa cards including visa atm cards, a real pain.

here’s a couple of numbers for those who are fans of string quartet on hold music (in other words google what you’re lookign for and save some time), regardless, for what it’s worth numbers from the usa:

citibank atm locator:
800 248 4286

cirrus atm locator
800 424 7787

safe travels,
jake

by [a former member] at 2005-10-29 18:07:37 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) nyc , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

hey jake, that is very helpful. any information about afghanistan/dubai? best, kenneth.

by Kenneth Dickerman | 29 Oct 2005 18:10 | Chicago, Il, United States | | Report spam→
Hey Jake,

In Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi cash is as easy to get as anywhere in Europe- lots of citibanks, HSBC etc, plus hundreds of local banks with ATM

Bring any camping/outdoor stuff you think you may need from home though- tough to find in theses parts…

give me a call when you get over here…

by [former member] | 29 Oct 2005 19:10 | New Delhi, India | | Report spam→

 I had no problems accessing cash in Pakistan but from memory Habibs Bank in Peshawar is the last ATM before the Khyber Pass ,2 blocks north and i block west from the Hotel Green.

by Glenn Campbell | 29 Oct 2005 19:10 | Darwin, Australia | | Report spam→
talk to you in a bit, hopefully patrick hasn’t been corrupting your mind too much i’m hearing scarry things…..


by [former member] | 29 Oct 2005 20:10 | nyc, United States | | Report spam→
intl electricity conversion guide:

http://users.pandora.be/worldstandards/electricity.htm#plugs


by [former member] | 29 Oct 2005 20:10 | nyc, United States | | Report spam→
Don’t listen to that guy- he looks so sketchy in his long beard and shalwar kameez that my landlord asked for a copy of his passport to register with the po-lice…. talk about scary.

by [former member] | 29 Oct 2005 23:10 | New Delhi, India | | Report spam→
Just a note for anyone traveling up into the quake zone to places like Balakot, Manshera and Battagram; bring dollars to exchange if possible. As I’m sure most of you know, banks outside the major cities do not have ATM machines but dollars can be exchanged in even the smallest places. I have not been in Muzaffarabad but assume the same situation exists there.

Logistically speaking, getting around Pakistan is relatively easy. If anyone is thinking about covering post-quake areas, I recommend hiring a driver full-time from Islamabad. Most of the drivers up north are getting snatched up by relief organizations. Cars are hard to come by in places like Abbottabad and Manshera. (Although, I found a rental-car place in Abbottabad, located on the main road, that still had cars and drivers available two days ago. Sorry, I can’t find the name.)

Communications are very good throughout the quake zone. I recommend getting a local, prepay SIM card from Ufone or Mobilink. Ufone has the best coverage in Balakot and Battagram but Mobilink seems to be the best in Manshera and in the smaller valleys northwest toward the villages around Ugi. Both have excellent coverage in Abbottabad. Scratch cards are widely available for both. For those who will be calling abroad often, Ufone has good, direct-dial rates to the US and Southeast Asia. A ten-minute call costs less than three US dollars.

Dial-up internet access is available and reliable via pre-paid scratch cards in the markets in most decent-sized towns. The cards are sold as a 20-hour card or an unlimited-use card for about thirty-five dollars. For those traveling without an RBgan, this is a good way to stay connected. Most hotels and guesthouses will string a direct-dial, local phone line to your room. I averaged good enough speeds to send photos and read the news. Internet cafes are few and unreliable.

Decent hotels and guesthouses are getting difficult to find. I stayed at the Pearl Continental hotel in Abbottabad, which was clean, quiet and had hot water with a good restaurant on the premises. Unfortunately, it is not part of the PC chain throughout the rest of the country, so don’t expect lavish surroundings. It is packed, so try and book ahead if possible. Stay away from the White Palace Hotel. It looks great from the outside but is horribly dirty and dank inside.

In Manshera, the best hotel in town is the Karokoram Hotel but it is fully booked by NGOs. Although I didn’t stay there, I ate in a restaurant called Taj Mahal which had a hotel above. It is located in Manshera’s main bazaar, not on the bypass road. As far as I could tell, there weren’t any more options for lodging. The UN and most NGOs have acquired houses in the southern neighborhood of the city.

Another option is camping. The Pakistan military is open to journalists pitching a tent with them in most of their many relief distribution points in the quake zone. Since the NWFP province is so conservative, I don’t recommend setting up a tent by the roadside. Although I know of no instances of violence or negative reactions toward foreigners, the local population is starting to tire of seeing so many Westerners, according to locals I spoke to throughout the region.

For military flights throughout the quake affected areas and access to relief flights arriving at Chaklala Air Base in Rawalpindi, contact the Pakistan Military’s information department called ISPR. Head of the ISPR is Major General Shaukat Sultan, who can be reached on his mobile at +92 300 855 3587 or on a landline at +92 51 927 1600. As of this week, there are no restrictions on journalists getting rides up to forward bases in the devastated areas. It is easy to fly up early in the morning, stay the day and jump on a sunset flight back to ’Pindi. The same goes for the US military, which is flying numerous sorties up to Balakot and Kashmir daily. For US military flights, check with Capt. Nuell on his mobile at: +92 300 501 2635. The US has their operations tent set up along the flight-line at Chaklala where all the aid flights arrive. ISPR also staffs a desk there during daylight hours.

I hope this helps anyone traveling to the region. If you have any other questions, please feel free to drop me a note. Good luck, Scott

by [former member] | 30 Oct 2005 03:10 (ed. Oct 30 2005) | Islamabad, Pakistan | | Report spam→
hi, thanks so much for this.  so helpful.  hope to see you when i’m there, murrees are on me, jake


by [former member] | 30 Oct 2005 07:10 | nyc, United States | | Report spam→
If anybody will planing travel to Azad Kashmir, my suggestion get to contact some NGO.. becaue They are still in there (after earthquake).. and they can get help to all passengers…

by Kerem Yucel | 12 Feb 2007 18:02 | BAM, Iran | | Report spam→
Most NGO’s have been asked to leave Kashmir, I spent quite a bit of time in Azad Kashmir at the Line of Control and the NWFP. If anyone needs a go to guy/ fixer based out of Islamabad let me know. He’s extremely resourceful and skilled.

by phil suarez | 20 Feb 2007 02:02 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Hay Jake. I wish I were you for this opportunity, going to Pakistan.

I miss my people more than I miss my family.

Take care of yourself and my people.

I wish you good luck.

by Avaiz Hashmi | 20 Feb 2007 02:02 | Oaville, ON, Canada | | Report spam→
Hey Jake,

been here a couple of years now, what you up to while you’re over here? Might be able to help out with some info if I know where you’re headed. Drop me a line anyways so we can catch up for a beer when you arrive.

Cheers,
Warrick

by Warrick Page | 21 Feb 2007 06:02 | Islamabad, Pakistan | | Report spam→

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Participants

Kenneth Dickerman, Photographer Kenneth Dickerman
Photographer
Nyc , United States
Glenn Campbell, Photographer Glenn Campbell
Photographer
(Photographer)
Darwin , Australia
Kerem Yucel, Photographer Kerem Yucel
Photographer
Istanbul , Turkey
phil suarez, Medic/ Photographer phil suarez
Medic/ Photographer
Nyc , United States
Avaiz Hashmi, Photographer Avaiz Hashmi
Photographer
(Journalism, Architecture, Pano)
Toronto, On , Canada
Warrick Page, Photojournalist Warrick Page
Photojournalist
London , United Kingdom


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