the crossroad junction of different civilizations and oldest trade routes of
this planet Pakistani crafts have been perfected over the centuries, from
traditions and techniques passed on from generation to generation. Each
region has its own specialties, each town its own local craftspeople and its
own particular skills. Silks, spices, jewelry and many other Pakistani
products have long been acclaimed and are widely sought after; merchants
would travel thousands of miles, enduring the hardships and privations of
the long journey, in order to make their purchases. Nowadays, the
marketplaces of the subcontinent are only eight hours away, and for fabrics,
silverware, carpets, leatherwork and antiques, Pakistan is a shopper’s
paradise. Bargaining is expected.
Fabrics: One of Pakistan’s main industries is textiles; its silks,
cottons, and wools rank amongst the best in the world. Of the wools, the
brocades from Northern Pakistan are among the most famous; other major
centers include Skardu, Chitral and Gilgit. Kashmir sells beautiful woolens,
particularly shawls. Carpets: Pakistan has one of the world’s best
carpet industries, and many examples of this ancient and beautiful craft can
be seen in museums throughout the world. Each region will have its own
specialty, such as the distinctive, brightly colored Tibetan rugs, available
mainly in Baltistan.
Clothes: Clothes are cheap, and can be quickly tailor-made in some
shops. Cloth includes silks, cottons, himroos, brocades, chiffons and
chingnons. Jewelry: This is traditionally heavy and elaborate.
Pakistani silverwork is world-famous. Gems include diamonds, lapis lazuli,
Pakistani star rubies, star sapphires, moonstones and aquamarines.
Handicrafts and leatherwork: Each area has its specialty; the
range includes bronzes, brasswork (often inlaid with silver), canework and
pottery. Woven rugs and papier mâché (some decorated in gold leaf) are a
characteristic Kashmir product. Inlaid marble and alabaster are specialties
of Agra. Sialkot is known for its sports products and surgical instruments.
Leatherwork includes open Pakistani sandals and slippers. Woodwork:
Sandalwood carvings from Chiniot.
Other goods: Pickles, spices, Pakistani tea, perfumes, soap,
handmade paper, carved wooden tables, trays, screens, silver trinkets,
pottery, camel-skin lamps, bamboo decorations, brassware, cane items,
conch-shell ornaments, glass bangles, gold ornaments, hand-embroidered
shawls, rugs and carpets, silks, cashmere shawls and saleem shahi shoes with
upturned toes. While some of the major towns have craft centers where
handicrafts from different regions are sold, bazaars often provide the most
There is a veto on the export of antiques, art objects over 100 years old,
animal skins and objects made from skins.
Mon-Sat 0930-1700 in most large stores.
Currency can be changed at banks, airports or authorized money changers. It
is illegal to exchange money through unauthorized money changers. US Dollars
and Pounds Sterling are the easiest currencies to exchange.
Credit & debit cards
American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and others besides Rupee credit
cards launched by National Bank of Pakistan & Habib Bank etc. can be used
for your shopping and other transactions.
These are widely accepted and may be changed at banks. To avoid additional
exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take travelers cheques in US
Dollars or Pounds Sterling. Some banks may refuse to change certain brands
of travelers cheques which others exchange quite happily.
Import of local currency is prohibited. Export of local currency is also
prohibited, except for passengers proceeding to Nepal (excluding notes of
denominations of Rs100 or higher), Bangladesh, Pakistan or Sri Lanka (up to
Rs20 per person). Foreign currency may be exported up to the amount imported
and declared. All foreign currency must be declared on arrival if value is
over US$5000, and when exchanged the currency declaration form should be
endorsed, or a certificate issued. The form and certificates must be
produced on departure to enable reconversion into foreign currency. Changing
money with unauthorized money changers is not, therefore, advisable.
Office Hours: 9 am to 5 pm with one hour break from Monday to Thursday and
with two hours break on Friday. Saturday is half working day from 9 am to
1:30 pm without break.
Counter Services: 9 am to 1:00 pm from Monday to Thursday and 9 am to 12:30
on Friday and Saturday, with no break.
Special timings may be observed during the month of Ramazan, and you should
make sure of these timings if you happen to be in the country in this holy
Sunday is off.