A man uses a public telephone at a shopping complex in Islamabad PTO2000 Public phone booths, there are several different phone companies
Pakistan A man uses a public telephone at a shopping complex in Islamabad on Monday. Pakistan announced the opening of its fixed-line telephone sector to private investors on Sunday after abolishing the monopoly of the state-run Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited earlier this year.
� AFP 
Phone calls can be made at public phones that take phone cards or at a Public Call Office (P.C.O.) Purchase phone cards at small grocery stores. Be certain to verify the number of minutes the card will cover for various types of calls. It is not very practical to use phone cards for international calls which tend to be very expensive. At a P.C.O. an attendant will time the call and then the caller pays the attendant. To avoid surprises ask ahead how much a call of a certain length and to a destination will be.

International calls are very difficult and expensive to make. In general it is best to rely on e-mail since internet cafes are common. Making a long distance call requires booking a call with the operator and then waiting (sometimes hours) for the operator to call back and say the call has gone through. It is not unusual for the call-back to never occur (although it may later be billed regardless). It is not possible to make collect calls to or from Pakistan.

Because wrong numbers are common, many phone conversations start by verifying whether one has the correct number or establishment. When one is already acquainted with the members of a household, it is polite to carry on a brief conversation about the family's well-being before asking for whomever one is calling