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Moving to Islamabad from London (UK)

Some of the "advice" here are very funny...
I think a lot of circumstances also depends on family...If MOST of your extended family is outside or well settled - earning well...it usually isnt the case (financial matters as some have pointed out).

The story is different if your family happens to be the only one that is abroad while rest all in Pakistan or majority in Pakistan...
Salaam Brother,

Welcome to the forum and it's good you're researching and asking before making any decision.

I live in the US and have a home in Lahore (originally from Gujranwala), and I travel back and forth have businesses in both countries.

My recommendation is make Pakistan your home but do not transfer fully as you'll need to grow using your UK finances. Pakistan is a late stage developing country and you might not get the results right away you need. However, Islamabad is an excellent place to create a future and establish links for your family as well.
What does this mean exactly?

Great idea.
Hi All,

I am SEAD (a new member) and currently living in London, UK for the past 18 yrs. I have been lurking on this site for years and finally decided to join in. The primary reason of coming on here is to seek advice/guidance from the fellow members who are currently residing in Pakistan - as I plan on making a move back home!

I was born in Pakistan and moved here due to my father's job. I was 12 when I moved here so studied here from secondary school onwards. My immediate family are here and I am grateful to UK for the life I have lived here so far. Not wishing to brag or show off, but I am financially settled and can't really complain tbh - on the face of it, I have everything (house, car, job, family etc) but yet I don't feel at 'home' for some reason.

I have been contemplating a move back for a while now and believe now is the time to do it - within 6 to 12 months. With Pakistan's economy picking up and the future looking promising, I am keen on moving back sooner rather than later. The plan is as follow:

* I don't currently have a house in Pakistan but do intend to purchase one soon after my arrival. The areas that are of interest to me are F-6/7 or surrounding areas within these Zones in Islamabad. Though my budget is flexible, I was actually quite shocked when I saw prices of some of the properties online (10 crore+). Can any local members give me any advise, please? Are these prices shown online negotiable - and do houses tend to sell for nearer to asking prices or is it the case of sellers starting high and eventually settling for a more reasonable price? Is it just a case of having to be good at negotiating? Any advice/guidance is welcome on this topic. Although I would welcome views of everyone on here, I am particularly keen to hear from fellow members currently residing in Islamabad.

* The plan is to "test the waters out for approx 5 years". During this time, I will give everything to settle in ISB permanently but if the plan goes south, I will simply move back to UK & restart - though I hope it doesn't come to that.

* I plan on running a business whilst I am there. I currently run an online based e-commerce business here in UK and plan on doing something similar in Pakistan - though I understand the online market there is pretty small so I will be looking more towards a high street presence (Retail). I am also open to trying out other ventures such as Restaurants, takeaways and even considering Travel & Tourism (though I will need good local knowledge in this). Whilst I am not expecting any fellow businessmen out here to let me in on their secrets, I would appreciate any advice and pros & cons to look out for and what sort of costs I can expect.

* What's life generally like in ISB? I have heard of some really positive feedback and from my limited knowledge, the city appears to be nice, clean, quite and pretty green with good access to local amenities. I know in other cities life is pretty hard for an average citizen, and issues with lack of Gas, electricity & water etc. Is it the same in ISB, too? What are the things to look out for? What's private education like for kids of 4 -10 years of age in a decent private school?

* What's the job market currently like in ISB? My Mrs works in IT sector and, as shes not used to being a full-time house bound (yet), she will struggle with boredom in general whilst there. So, she maybe interested in a part-time job just to keep sane lol - once again, any advice on this is welcome.

Now, in case any of you out there wondering what on earth is wrong with me and why I am so keen on risking a decent & comfortable lifestyle in UK and making a move that is clearly very risky - let me try and explain. I consider Pakistan to be my home & true identity. Granted there are loads of issues, but I am happy to face them and would rather live proudly live amongst my own - rather than be a "foreigner" abroad. With the expected arrival of our first child soon (Inshallah), I would want him/her to start their life there - ideally going on to serve in the Armed forces but that would be their decision, not mine.

Thank you for your time and I look to hearing from you...

If you want to come to Pakistan, then for now don't buy property here (to live). Keep a low profile and rent out a small house in F-sectors/ DHA or Bahria.

Property prices in F sectors is quite high. However, you can get a better deal by buying a house in F-10/11 or DHA instead of one in F-6/7 (However, DHA would be quite far from city centers).

Buy a hybrid Toyota aqua or Honda Fit. Keep a low profile. It will do you good later on.

Don't trust any relatives with the money.

Feel the business environment in the city, then move forward.

Once you establish business then get a UK bank to issue a SBLC (using your UK collateral) on your behalf and use that as collateral to get loan from a local PK bank (if needed) to expand the business here.

E commerce here is cash heavy here and courier companies remit the cash back with delay so you might have a liquidity crunch.

Similar is the case if you use a bank's merchant services to clear CC transactions.

If you want to open a restaurant e.t.c then use the food panda app to locate all the restaurants (while using different locations) and then go visit those restaurants to get a feel of which type of restaurant works best in each locality.

One more thing, if you have excess funds left then please do open a peanut/almond butter business here. There is a serious gap that can be exploited by local producers.
Hi All,

I am SEAD (a new member) and currently living in London, UK for the past 18 yrs. I have been lurking on this site for years and finally decided to join in. The primary reason of coming on here is to seek advice/guidance from the fellow members who are currently residing in Pakistan - as I plan on making a move back home!

Hi, welcome to the forum!

A few points to note re your post;

  1. Do NOT buy a house for the first one or two years, at least. Rent a portion in DHA (secure, clean, low priced, good crowd, good schools, but far from city center) Or somewhere near Blue Area (F, G, I, E sectors ordered by rental values). F-6/7 are super expensive and IMHO not worth it. Sure its a nice view, but you can go hiking anytime you want from DHA/Bahria (farthest of options. about 45 mins drive to the trails).
  2. Business in Pakistan is a bit different, to put it mildly. I love this country but as in most developing countries where justice is not a priority you'll find more shady characters than good ones. From CEOs to cooks, most people will try to take your money and run away. Some people may disagree with me on this one, but this is my experience. Point is, start with what you can afford to loose. You can make a lot of money here in the ideas you mentioned. But just keep above points in mind.
  3. Private schools in ISB are very good, if you can afford them. Good ones start 20k + per month.
  4. Since you haven't made it very clear WHY you want to move back and I apologize in advance if this offends you. But if you are the molvi type, a few of expats wanting to move back are, then you'll be disappointed by the changing culture here in cities. Its not the Pakistan of your childhood or your parent's Pakistan. Middle school kids are selling and consuming ice and cocaine in our schools. Or if you are the hyper patriot type, then you'd be able to better serve this country by making something of yourself in the UK and use your influence. Your kids can always join any military branch here as they'll always be Pakistanis. Finally if you are the entrepreneur type please just keep in mind that we do not have shortage of entrepreneurs, IT experts, doctors, engineers running restaurants, travel agencies, IT consultancies etc in Pak. No offence intended:)
Good luck!!
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