This is an excellent question, Unaccompanied Lady! You came to the right place. Pakistan is a hostile environment for the Unaccompanied Lady, no question. But with the correct training, you can exploit your natural advantages to navigate chaotic places with a minimum of fuss.
"But Carpetblogger," you ask. "How do I know if I am an Unaccompanied Lady?"
Is the watchful eye of your husband, father, brother or son keeping tabs on your honor while you travel? If not, then, Lady, you are Unaccompanied.
Most of these techniques are applicable to all ladies, particularly white ones, but if boys want to implement them, we'd love to hear how it goes.
ARRIVAL AT ISLAMABAD AIRPORT
Islamabad is as Dry as Gorman, Texas: You bought a bottle at your transit airport duty free, right? You can't obtain booze without substantial effort in Islamabad, and by effort we mean "having 'alcoholic' stamped in your passport by the government," which is what they actually do to allow you to buy locally brewed firewater at certain stores. As awesome as that would be, it's a fuckload of effort.
Be strong if you encounter resistance, as we did in Abu Dhabi.
"You know you can't take that into Pakistan," smirked Ahmet the expat Pakistani duty free cashier, referring to our bottle of red wine.
"You let us worry about that, grasshopper."
Put the wine in your purse, which everyone knows is a lady's inviolate sanctuary.
No one checks. If they do, employ terror (see below).
The Unaccompanied Ladies' Line: Use Islam's retrograde attitudes toward women to your advantage. The Unaccompanied Ladies' line is your new best friend. It is always shorter and faster. Most importantly, slack-jawed village idiots who stare hungrily at your exposed ankles are not allowed to stand in it. Fortunately, many places in which you don't want to spend any time have them, such as passport control and security checks at the Islamabad airport.
Skip Islamabad Duty Free: We swear on a stack of Korans there is nothing in there but five pound cans of Tang. At least in Jeddah, there were electronic haddith organizers next to the Tang. WTF is up with Tang? Carpetblog will run our first-ever guest post by whomever can explain this to our satisfaction.
Step into the Bubble. An Unaccompanied Lady only has to exit the Islamabad airport at 330 am once to conclude that someone's failure to arrange for a driver holding a sign with her name is a capital offense. Entering that writhing mass of bearded, henna'ed male humanity alone in the middle of the night is intimidating no matter how many times you've done it. Step into the bubble -- make no eye contact with anyone as you scan the crowd for your sign. Engage in no conversation that you did not initiate. Get out to the parking lot and into the car, fast.
Wardrobe: We are huge advocates of shalwar kameez. Dressing conservatively is mandatory for all ladies and we have found that shalwar fit better and are more attractive than just wearing frumpily conservative western-clothes. Do you want to look like a missionary from Abilene or a dirty hippie? We sure don't. And listen up white girl, you're never going to blend in or be mistaken for a local but since nearly all Pakistani women wear them, you're going to stand out a whole lot less with one on. Unaccompanied Ladies like not standing out. Also, shalwar don't have to be dry cleaned and local washers are familiar with them. Go to Jinnah Market and buy a bunch. They're cheap and come in a million colors and styles.
This advice does not apply to boys. White boys in shalwar look like douchebags.
Carpets: Buy them. It is our opinion that Islamabad is currently the best place to carpetshop in the world. Go ahead and argue, but you're wrong. We're working on carpetshopping manifesto based on our recent experiences, which have been rewarding.
DEPARTURE FROM ISLAMABAD
Employ Terror: The Unaccompanied (white) Lady is a force of nature that frightens Pakistani men, especially when she's wearing a shalwar. When challenged, behave unpredictably. Be obedient and submissive, yet at the same time subversive. Pakistani men are stunned into submission when an Unaccompanied white Lady (whom they know are total sluts) insists on being treated like a Pakistani lady (with whom they must not engage). Does not compute! You'll almost always get your way, mostly because your challenger has no idea what to do with you.
Luggage Searches: The Unaccompanied Lady most certainly does not want some random airport security guy pawing through her bags. Loudly demand a female searcher. Terrified, more often than not they'll wave you through rather than go find one. (See: Employ Terror)
Business Class Line: Go to the business class line, even if you have a cheap economy ticket. This approach may be dicey if you're on the snooty Gulf airlines that specialize in separating the riffraff from the Elitny, but it's an infallible strategy on PIA. They will not turn you, Unaccompanied Lady, away, thus sparing you the heartache of waiting in the same heaving "line" as passengers headed home to Kandahar.
Exploit Typical Transportation Norms: As a frequent PIA* flier, one of our long term goals has always been to turn our Unaccompanied Lady status into an business class upgrade by loudly and flamboyantly refusing to sit next to a strange male (see: Employ Terror). This requires a substantial dignity downgrade, but an upgrade, especially on PIA, is worth it. If an Unaccompanied Lady attempts this with success, please report back.
*An Unaccompanied Lady might pause and take a few minutes to re-evaluate key life choices, should she find herself in possession of a PIA ("Please Inform Allah") frequent flier card, but that's a topic for a different post.
Go Straight to the VIP Lounge: As you ascend the escalator, jump over the hajiis who, having left their Punjabi village for the first time to go to Mecca, are splayed in a heap at the top of the escalator. The light from lounge's open door will cut through the waiting area's haze of cigarette smoke and visible body odor like a beacon. No need to employ terror to enter, just pay the $10 like a normal person. This is the best $10 you have ever spent. The lounge is filthy, and dry, but since the airport provides no gate information or departure announcements, having someone tell you your flight is about to leave is worth the investment.
"Find and, if necessary, pay to enter the VIP Lounge" is sound advice for everyone who travels through a hub that hosts lots of hajiis or transiting guestworkers (i.e. the Gulf). Many of these folks have left their rural villages for the first time and are not up to speed on the mechanics of escalators, the protocols governing the use of indoor plumbing or what x-ray machines are for. Next time you see a Nepali guy standing on a toilet seat in the Qatar Airport ladies' room, you'll wish you'd listened.
Unaccompanied Ladies, move to the front of the line! If violating un- or loosely enforced rules presents an opportunity to maximize your personal comfort, behave like every Pakistani ever born and seize it. If you hold an advantage in class or status (i.e., you're white, and don't you for one minute pretend that isn't one) drive it like you stole it. If you're at a disadvantage (i.e. you have a vagina), own it.
Unaccompanied Ladies' lines are brilliant and receive the Carpetblog Stamp of Approval. We endorse their creation everywhere in the world.