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  #1  
Old 26 Feb 2014
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NOC Pakistan

Hi All
Anyone in Pakistan at present?
We are planning to cross into Pakistan end of next week.

Questions
1. Been told no escorts are given to foreigners between Quetta and Taftan at present?
2. Require NOC which will allow me a army/police escort to Taftan?
3. Can we get a NOC in Lahore or do we have to go to Islamabad?
4. How long does it take to get a NOC issued

Cheers
Fearless
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  #2  
Old 26 Feb 2014
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When I tried to get one for Azad Kashmir last year, I was sent to the Ministry of Home affairs in Islamabad, However when I tried to get one for the Khyber pass I was sent to the Khyber agency in Peshawar!
I would suggest try Islamabad first.
UB.
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  #3  
Old 26 Feb 2014
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Surely Quetta would be the logical place to obtain one? It's the capital of Baluchistan Province and I doubt you would get one elsewhere. That is unless they are insisting on NOCs for all of Baluchistan, and strictly enforcing this at the border. This doesn't sound likely to me though. I would play it by ear as you go along.

That said, I tried driving to Muzaffarabad in order to get an NOC for AJ&K and was refused entry, but the situation there is not the same as for the regular provinces of Pakistan such as Baluchistan. Similar situation for FATA; one time I got the permit beforehand (Khyber, in Peshawar), the other I just drove through (a spectacular corner of South Waziristan).

Pakistani bureaucracy can be utterly shambolic; speak to five people and you will get at least five different answers, and generally be passed around by people who either don't know how to, or can't be bothered to do what you ask. In my experience there is also no chance of getting anything done unless one is personally present.

For example, I once spoke to a gentleman in Quetta and as advised, sent a fax from Islamabad to apply for an NOC to visit the Makran Region. A week later I try to contact the same gentleman, only to be told he had buggered off on Hajj. I realised my quest was totally futile, so just drove in. I was eventually picked up by the Police in Ormara, and given a gunman after that for the drive to Gwadar, and in the city itself.

So I would just drive to Quetta and get an NOC there, in person, once the police pick you up. Also, do you really want an escort? I generally felt safer without one. Don't take that as a recommendation, but maybe think about it.

If you want any route advice, just drop me a PM. I lived in Pakistan for some time (in Hyderabad), absolutely love the place and saw most parts

Daniel
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Old 27 Feb 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uselessbaba View Post
When I tried to get one for Azad Kashmir last year, I was sent to the Ministry of Home affairs in Islamabad, However when I tried to get one for the Khyber pass I was sent to the Khyber agency in Peshawar!
I would suggest try Islamabad first.
UB.
Many thanks for the response, however you did not state if you received the NOC.
Do you have a adress in Islamabad?

Cheers Fearless
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  #5  
Old 27 Feb 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielsprague View Post
Surely Quetta would be the logical place to obtain one? It's the capital of Baluchistan Province and I doubt you would get one elsewhere. That is unless they are insisting on NOCs for all of Baluchistan, and strictly enforcing this at the border. This doesn't sound likely to me though. I would play it by ear as you go along.

That said, I tried driving to Muzaffarabad in order to get an NOC for AJ&K and was refused entry, but the situation there is not the same as for the regular provinces of Pakistan such as Baluchistan. Similar situation for FATA; one time I got the permit beforehand (Khyber, in Peshawar), the other I just drove through (a spectacular corner of South Waziristan).

Pakistani bureaucracy can be utterly shambolic; speak to five people and you will get at least five different answers, and generally be passed around by people who either don't know how to, or can't be bothered to do what you ask. In my experience there is also no chance of getting anything done unless one is personally present.

For example, I once spoke to a gentleman in Quetta and as advised, sent a fax from Islamabad to apply for an NOC to visit the Makran Region. A week later I try to contact the same gentleman, only to be told he had buggered off on Hajj. I realised my quest was totally futile, so just drove in. I was eventually picked up by the Police in Ormara, and given a gunman after that for the drive to Gwadar, and in the city itself.

So I would just drive to Quetta and get an NOC there, in person, once the police pick you up. Also, do you really want an escort? I generally felt safer without one. Don't take that as a recommendation, but maybe think about it.

If you want any route advice, just drop me a PM. I lived in Pakistan for some time (in Hyderabad), absolutely love the place and saw most parts

Daniel
Hi Daniel
Many thanks for your response.
We have just spoken via Email to a German Couple who tried to get a NOC in Quetta (staying at the Bloomfield Hotel) and were told this has to be organized in Islamabad or Lahore? Hence they are now driving back?!?!?
understand the bureaucracy It should be noted that this was This week.
Mate it would be of great help if you would have any contacts and more importantly adress details. All going well we will enter Pakistan from India end of next week.
Our route will be Lahore-Islamabad towards Quetta and then Taftan.

Cheers
Fearless
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  #6  
Old 27 Feb 2014
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OK, that sounds like very bad news.

I imagine that you will need to be very persistent, and make multiple visits. Start at the Interior Ministry; try to search online, I have no recollection of Islamabad addresses as they are all zone / blocks, e.g. F/9 etc. I would be almost certain that nothing relating to Baluchistan will be done in Lahore, there is no logical reason why it would be.

Write a letter and state your requirement to transit to Iran (if this is your wish; do so at your own risk), stating that it is impossible for you to enter China with a private vehicle, and that it is forbidden for foreigners to cross the Khyber Pass into Afghanistan, so that there is no feasible alternative route for you to reach Europe. Keep your cool and don't mention shipping your bike / car. Pakistani bureaucracy is intractable, but Pakistanis are reasonable and ingenious people. This is not the UK's 'Computer says no' culture; sooner or later by making a pragmatic argument you should be able to find someone willing to stick their neck out and help you.

On the other hand, Pakistanis will almost never flat out say 'No' to you, so you might have to read between the lines, that being passed from pillar to post is a 'polite' and roundabout (and yes, frustrating and inconvenient) way of being told 'No' and that you need to start considering an alternative solution. It may well be that the German couple have been refused an NOC in Quetta and sent to Islamabad / Lahore just to get them out of the office in Quetta. I wouldn't be surprised if the first thing they'll be told in Islamabad when asking for an NOC is to go to Quetta!

It may well be that following the incident with the Spanish cyclist, the Pakistani authorities are basically banning foreigners from crossing Baluchistan. In that case, you have to look at alternatives. There is shipping, or China as an easy but expensive alternative. I made the case that I could not enter Iran due to electrions and problems issuing visas to UK passport holders, and managed to get to the Khyber Pass and into Afghanistan after making some connections. Alternatively, if you are determined to do so I can suggest some wild backroads which will get you into Baluchistan, and avoid Quetta. Once in the region, you stand a much better chance of being escorted out towards Iran, than towards Islamabad.

My last piece of advice would be to enjoy Pakistan. I am probably rather biased, but it seems like a good number of independent travellers (admittedly usually male ones) rate it as their favourite country. See as much as you can, from top to bottom. Just transiting this country from Lahore to Taftan would be a crying shame.

Oh, and the Islamabad Campsite is a great place to meet other overlanders with logistical woes!

Best of luck, keep me in the loop,

Daniel
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