Pakistan has recently become an active tourist destination which has risen to over 1.9 million in 2018, and as of 2021, it has increased by 300%. That is hardly surprising, considering the fascinating landscapes that lie deep in the heart of the country.
However, surrounding all that natural beauty is the elephant in the room impacts freedom of expression in the country: heavy online censorship and digital surveillance impinging on the privacy and safety of bloggers, activists, and average users.
In this precarious political and social environment, using a VPN is of utmost importance than ever to attain internet freedom and exercise your right to free expression.
In this guide, I will be discussing some of the best VPNs for Pakistan that will hide all your online activities while keeping you anonymous in the eyes of the government and hackers.
How to Install and use a VPN in Pakistan?
All of the VPN providers listed in this article work extremely well from inside Pakistan, ensuring 100% guaranteed access to geo-restricted content and securing your online activities and data from prying eyes.
Here’s how to install and use a VPN in Pakistan:
- Subscribe to a VPN provider. (We recommend ExpressVPN)
- Download and install the ExpressVPN application on your device
- Log in to the application using ExpressVPN’s account details
- Connect to your desired server from the server list in the application
- That’s it; you can now enjoy complete online freedom
Note: The location of the server depends upon your purpose. If you wish to access content that belongs to the US region, then you connect to a US-based server, and if you wish to access something that belongs to the UK region, then you connect to a UK-based server.
6 Best VPNs for Pakistan in 2021
The following VPN services are perfectly capable of working in Pakistan to give you unlimited and unrestricted access to streaming websites, normal category websites and reinforce your online privacy:
1. ExpressVPN – Overall Best VPN for Pakistan
ExpressVPN is located in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), a country well beyond the clutches of surveillance states known as 5/9/14 Eyes country. Therefore, it is our top choice for Pakistan. The 3,000+ servers in over 94 countries are more than adequate in granting users access to popular geo-restricted streaming content such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+.
Not only that, with its server in Pakistan, many internet users abroad can watch their favorite shows on local channels like A-Plus Entertainment, Aaj Entertainment, Apna Entertainment, ARY Digital, and ARY Zindagi. ExpressVPN is fully compatible with macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, Firestick, Android TV, Linux, and Routers as an industry’s best VPN provider.
In BVI, ISPs and VPN providers are not required to store users’ logs for any amount of time. This is, in fact, the primary reason why this place is considered a safe jurisdiction. Since Pakistani ISP has to store users’ records by law, using ExpressVPN will allow you to divert your traffic away from your ISP to the VPN’s data centers, where none of your logs will be retained.
Even though it is a bit expensive available at $6.67/mo , it is the fastest and most secure. These features are enough to win ExpressVPN the accolade of best VPN Pakistan.
To know more about this service, please look at our ExpressVPN review.
- 3,000+ servers in 94+ countries
- five simultaneous connections
- AES-256-Bit encryption
- Strict no-log policy
- Expensive than other providers
2. Surfshark – Best Pakistani VPN for Streaming
For users in Pakistan with laws that go against the basic right to privacy, Surfshark can be quite valuable as its headquarter is also located in the British Virgin Islands. Having 3,200+ servers in key locations worldwide, Surfshark grants passage to censored pages and streaming services on the Internet that you can’t normally access from Pakistan.
While it doesn’t have a server in Pakistan, Pakistani’s can still use its vast international server network to access streaming content such as Hotstar, ZeeTV, Amazon Prime Video, Sony Liv, and ITV. With unlimited simultaneous connections, you can protect your Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Firestick, Linux, Roku, PS4, Xbox, Kodi, and Android TV device altogether with a single subscription.
We chose Surfshark as the best Pakistan VPN because of its affordable price available at $2.49/mo . The logging policy of Surfshark is designed with user privacy in mind. Therefore, it doesn’t monitor or store any information that could compromise user privacy.
- 3,200+ servers in 65 countries
- unlimited simultaneous connections
- AES-256-Bit encryption
- CleanWeb, WhiteLister, and MultiHop
- It offers a moderately-sized server network
- Limited P2P Servers
3. NordVPN – Secure VPN for Pakistan
NordVPN is a well-renowned VPN service that offers everything that a top-rated VPN should have to offer. The provider has a network of over 5,400+ servers in 59 countries. Although it doesn’t have any servers in Pakistan, it does cover India, which is neighboring Pakistan, so you should access different Pakistani channels such as BOL Entertainment (HD), Express Entertainment, Geo Entertainment Geo Kahani.
The service works exceptionally well for purposes like unblocking websites like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, BT-Sports, NBC Live, Channel4, ITV, and many others on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Firestick, Router, Linux, and Android TV.
NordVPN is also a strong protector of online privacy. Censorship and forced disappearances are serious issues in Pakistan, compelling people towards self-censorship. The privacy features of NordVPN, such as DoubleVPN, CyberSec, Internet Kill Switch, and AES-256 encryption, can make you virtually invisible on the web, making it harder for authorities to identify your real identity. Also, the VPN has a zero-logging policy and guarantees no storage of your personal details.
You can purchase NordVPN for $4.13/mo with a 30-day money-back guarantee and support for 6 simultaneous connections.
To check out the complete list of features, read our NordVPN review 2021.
- Server strength of 5,400+ in 59 countries
- 6 simultaneous connections
- CyberSec, Double VPN, Onion Over VPN
- Torrenting supported on specific servers
- Slow server connection
4. CyberGhost – Secure VPN for Pakistan
The 6,800+ server network of CyberGhost is present in all the world’s key countries that support online freedom. This is great for users in Pakistan as they can use the internet with some freedom. To access websites in Pakistani websites from outside, CyberGhost has 10 servers in the country that will help you watch local TV shows on H Now Entertainment, PTV Home, PTV Global, PTV National, and Hum Sitaray.
I also tried accessing CBS, Vudu, UKTV, Sling TV, NHK, CCTV, and more on all the major operating systems such as Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Firestick, Android TV, Roku, Xbox, and Play Station, and it worked effortlessly. CyberGhost is also the only Iranian VPN that can get Pakistani citizens to access unlimited Iranian shows and TV channels.
It is not expensive at all. It is available only for $2.25/mo with 45-days money-back guarantee. For these reasons, it is one of the best VPN in Pakistan.
For more information on this VPN service, check out the CyberGhost review.
- 6,800+ servers in 90 countries
- Seven Simultaneous connection
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Dodgy data jurisdiction and anonymity
- Limited payment options
5. PIA VPN – Best for Torrenting in Pakistan
Private Internet Access is headquartered in the U.S, but it still offers rock-solid privacy. This VPN service strictly follows a zero-logging policy like the providers above and doesn’t retain any information if you download torrent or access any blocked website in Pakistan. Unfortunately, it also doesn’t support a server in Pakistan yet.
35,000+ servers in 77 countries, and 71 of these servers are located within India. For users located abroad, these servers are extremely efficient for streaming local Pakistan content such as SAB TV Pakistan, TV One, Urdu 1, Dharti TV, and KTN. Similarly, With a huge cluster of over 35,000 servers spread across the world, you can easily access international streaming services such as YouTube TV US, NHK, CCTV, France TV in your TV lounge in Pakistan.
It is available for only $2.69/mo with 30-days money-back guarantee. For added security, it also offers IPv6 leak protection, secure DNS, Internet Kill Switch, and DDoS protection to make your data and internet traffic more private on the web. With one PIA account, you can connect up to 10 devices at the same time.
To read more about this service, please check out the PIA VPN review.
- 35,000+ servers in 77 countries
- Secure DNS, DDOS protection and IKS
- 10 simultaneous logins.
- Headquartered in the U.S
- Faces issues unblocking sites some streaming websites
6. Hide My Ass – Best Free VPN for Pakistan
Hide My Ass (HMA) is based in the United Kingdom, which isn’t a very safe jurisdiction as our article on 5, 9, and 14 Eyes discusses in detail, but the logging policy of HMA makes things clear. It doesn’t store your logs, so even if the US authorities do get hold of users’ data, it would find nothing but the bandwidth and session time.
The 1,000+ servers spread over 190+ countries, bypassing all forms of censorship that prevent Pakistani from accessing websites and services. It has 2 servers in Pakistan and offers 6 Pakistani IP addresses so that expatriates can keep up with their favorite shows on Filmax, City 41, Samaa TV, Abb Takk News, Dunya News, and Express-News.
Hide My Ass uses leak protection to prevent your VPN IP or DNS from leaking out of the tunnel. The price is a bit expensive and is available for $4.29/mo with 30-days money-back guarantee.
To read further about this service, please read our HideMyAss review.
- Strong security option
- Wide network of servers
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Good customer service
- Headquartered in the U.K
- Limited user privacy
- App design is not the best
Criteria for selecting a good VPN for Pakistan
The VPN industry is composed of thousands of VPN providers. Not all VPNs are equal. Therefore, to find the best VPN for Pakistan for you, we had to set up certain criteria. Only the providers that could easily pass this criterion were included in our list.
Let’s begin and see the criteria for selecting a good VPN for Pakistan.
Pakistani government took control of the broad censorship, surveillance powers, and restricted online speech. This was done by approving the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) in 2016.
Any website that contains pornographic, blasphemous, anti-Islamic, political, or religious content was blocked. This is a wide filter applied to almost any website that the government doesn’t want citizens to see.
While these blocks are temporary and can be removed if the website agrees to remove the offensive material and comply with Pakistan’s laws, they are extremely unpredictable. They can cause you to lose access to vital websites and communication services. Many popular websites such as YouTube, WordPress, Facebook, and Twitter have already experienced their block in the past.
We ensure that only providers with the highest unblocking capabilities made it to this list so that you can receive unrestricted and unlimited access to blocked content in Pakistan.
The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA), which was approved in 2016, grants Pakistani and international agencies the power to conduct their internet users’ surveillance. It requires internet service providers to retain the user traffic data for at least one year.
To counter such extreme privacy challenges, the VPN providers in this list are fully equipped with state-of-the-art security and encryption techniques to hide your online activities and identity.
Freedom of Speech
When it comes to politics and religion, Pakistani law puts freedom of speech at a huge risk. A Pakistani court sentenced Taimoor Raza to death over blasphemous crimes. Because the government can apply these laws to any content, it finds offensive, and even a small mistake can land you in serious legal trouble in Pakistan.
A quality VPN just like the ones listed above will ensure that you are always anonymous. The VPN IP will mask your actual location, and encryption will make it impossible to see your browsing activity and personal information.
Why is VPN a must tool in Pakistan?
The Pakistani government exercises strict filtering of internet content. Usually, this content includes news, human rights, content critical of Islam, sex and nudity, and circumvention and privacy tools. Different social media and communication platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have also experienced such restrictions from time to time.
Internet freedom advocates and human rights activists have expressed their concerns about the lack of independence and transparency of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the government regulatory body for the internet and mobile communications industry.
From July to December 2017, PTA requested Google to remove 259 pieces of content, out of which 52% were related to religious or blasphemous content. Referring to the Taimoor Raza incident cited above, using a VPN could literally be a matter of life or death.
Not only a VPN provides you access to the content that may be blocked in Pakistan, but it also encrypts your internet traffic to ensure complete anonymity and internet privacy.
If you think about the reasons behind online censorship in Pakistan, two reasons will completely stand out: keeping political stability by censoring all the news articles and readers’ comments on them and preserving the national values of Pakistan and its prevailing religion.
While it is not legal to restrict someone’s right to access any content they wish on the Internet, it is also impossible to directly influence the state of affairs. However, there is one proven way to obtain complete internet freedom: using a Virtual Private Network.
Online Censorship and Surveillance in Pakistan
Pakistan is a country with strong cultural and traditional sensibilities. A conservative socio-cultural outlook runs deep in Pakistan, the criticism of which has often led people to trouble.
For instance, blasphemy against Islamic beliefs is a crime punishable by death in the country, and the legal process for blasphemy-related doesn’t even require evidence for the act. The testimonies of witnesses are usually enough to pass a sentence.
Blasphemous content on Facebook and YouTube has led to state-wide bans in Pakistan in the past. In fact, YouTube was inaccessible without a VPN in the country for 3 years when a video was posted on YouTube, which upset Muslims’ religious sentiment in Pakistan. A similar sort of censorship and surveillance can be strongly felt in Sri Lanka, that is why residents there have already started using affordable VPNs in Sri Lanka.
The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill gave sweeping powers to the LEAs and the government to curb criticism. In fact, the bill requires all ISPs in the country to retain user traffic data for a minimum of 1 year.
Surveillance and controls on free speech have also led journalists and bloggers to exercise self-censorship in response to harassment and intimidation from state actors. Over 50% of Pakistani journalists believe that digital surveillance has enabled intimidation and even life threats to their sources.
Therefore, the reasons for seeking the best VPN for Pakistan to enhance privacy and anonymity are manifold for citizens, ex-pats, and travelers to Pakistan. The right VPN will mask your IP address, keep no logs of your data, and allow you to unblock censored websites and content with perfect anonymity.
Free VPN Services to Use in Pakistan
You must be asking yourself right now, “what is the best free VPN in Pakistan?”, well there isn’t one. Free VPNs are a terrible idea in a country like Pakistan. Following are some of the reasons behind avoiding a free VPN in Pakistan.
Bandwidth – Almost 95% of free VPN providers offer a limited bandwidth on their accounts. This bandwidth is so slow and runs out so quickly that you can hardly ever use it properly to judge its worth. If you like to stream popular geo-restricted content or download torrents, you’d definitely want to get a premium VPN provider with unlimited bandwidth that can help you easily achieve those purposes.
Server Locations – Usually all the free VPN provider offers either 3 or 5 server locations with their service. These servers belong to countries that are least popular for internet usage. So they are pretty much useless when it comes to trying them out for your specific purpose.
Speed – With the fewer servers and a high number of users connecting to them at a single time, the next challenge you will face is slow speed. The speeds of the servers will be so dead that you can barely open a webpage properly. Not ideal for tasks that require high-speed internet such as browsing, streaming, and torrenting.
Security & Privacy – The free VPN providers usually don’t invest in state-of-the-art encryption and security tools due to less or no revenue. As their network security network keeps getting outdated, it gets easier and easier for hackers to intercept and steal users’ data. In some cases, these free VPN providers are caught selling user information and data to different authorities.
However, you can learn more about these free VPNs in this article on free VPN providers.
The legal status of VPNs in Pakistan
The legality of VPNs in Pakistan has remained a gray area for some time now. However, it is important to keep in mind that no specific law prohibits VPNs in the country.
Nonetheless, this didn’t stop Pakistani authorities from banning the use of VPNs back in 2011. Despite this, most VPN services remain operational in the country, and there has never been a legal case against the use or download of top VPNs in the country.
Therefore, it is safe to use VPN services in Pakistan, and strictly speaking, it is not illegal.
Let’s see some frequently asked questions regarding the best VPNs for Pakistan in 2021.
Is VPN legal in Pakistan?
Yes, it is legal to use a VPN in Pakistan only if used for legal activities. For example, using a VPN service for business purposes is legal but torrent downloading or even accessing pornographic websites and sharing its content is illegal.
Is Tor censored in Pakistan?
No, Tor is not censored in Pakistan. The only contents that are censored in Pakistan are pornographic websites and blasphemous content. Websites hosting these types of content are considered illegal.
Can I use a VPN to watch Pakistan television online?
Yes, you can use a premium VPN provider with servers located in Pakistan to access Pakistan television online. All you have to do is connect to a server located in Pakistan, and you should be able to access Pakistani media content from anywhere in the world.
Which VPN is the Fastest in Pakistan?
ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN to use in Pakistan. With its application’s built-in speed-test tool, you will always be able to identify the fastest server in the network according to your actual location. Upon connecting to its fastest server, you will be able to stream at the ultra-HD definition and download torrent files worth 20 GB size within minutes.
What is the best VPN for smartphones in Pakistan?
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for smartphones in Pakistan. Its smartphone’s application features include advanced leak protection, multilingual interface, auto-connect on untrusted Wi-Fi, network protection (kill switch), superior connection reliability, easy-to-use, and a straightforward user interface.
Which is the best VPN for gaming in Pakistan?
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for online gaming in Pakistan. Usually, the purpose of using a VPN in an online game is to lower the ping, introduce stability, and enhance the gaming experience. All of this can easily be achieved with ExpressVPN’s 3,000 server network that is spread globally. Now you can play PUBG, Clash of Kings, Fortnite, and Minecraft on your devices with stable, fast, and enhanced gaming experience thanks to ExpressVPN.
Which VPN has a Pakistan server?
ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Hide My Ass VPN providers have servers located in Pakistan. Out of all the three providers listed, ExpressVPN is the best among them all, with high-speed connection speeds and state-of-the-art encryption tools for online privacy and data protection.
How to maximize your online privacy with a VPN in Pakistan?
To maximize your online privacy with a VPN in Pakistan, make sure to follow the steps below:
- Keep your VPN application’s advanced features enabled all the time. These features include Internet Kill Switch, Automatic-Reconnection, Obfuscation technique, Double VPN, and others.
- If your provider offers OpenVPN protocol, then make sure to use it always.
- Avoid public Wi-Fi connections and use secure browsers like Tor.
When you’re confronted with online censorship restrictions, such as those you’ll face in Pakistan, a VPN is your best bet for maintaining your internet freedom.
A VPN – like the top VPN in this lineup, ExpressVPN– offers the best way to access unrestricted and unlimited online content at high speed, keep your online activities safe from observation and monitoring, and enhance your overall internet experience. Don’t let the government restrain your right to speak your mind freely on the web.
If you hurry up, you can avail of ExpressVPN limited time “12 Months + 3 Months Free“ offer, which also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.