Ghouri Security Alert
General Information and Travel Advisory to Pakistan
For Foreigners /Expat visitors:
Travel to the under mentioned areas is restricted:
the Federally Administered Tribal Areas
the districts of Charsadda, Kohat, Tank, Bannu, Lakki, Dera Ismail Khan, Swat, Buner and Lower Dir in
the city of Peshawar and districts south of the city, including travel on the Peshawar to Chitral road via the
northern and western Balochistan
travel on the Karakoram Highway between Islamabad and Gilgit
Only essential travel to:
the Kalesh Valley, the Bamoboret Valley and Arandu District to the south and west of Chitral in KhyberPakhtunkhwa
the city of Quetta
the city of Nawabshah in Sindh Province, and areas of interior Sindh to the north of Nawabshah
Be aware of the risk of street crime and take sensible measures to protect yourself and your belongings. Take
particular care of your passport, bankcards, bags, jewellery, laptop and mobile, especially on public transport, when
travelling to and from the airport and in crowded areas including markets. There is an active black market in forged
and stolen passports. Credit card fraud is common.
British nationals of Pakistani origin have been targeted by criminals, including kidnappers, as they are often
perceived as being wealthier than locals.
Avoid using street taxis. Only use taxis from reputable companies which are radio-controlled.
Much of Balochistan, rural Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, including the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and
Agencies, have a high level of lawlessness.
Public demonstrations and civil disorder are common. Protests often occur with little warning and while most
remain peaceful, they can turn violent quickly. Avoid getting caught up in demonstrations, large crowds of people
and public events.
In 2008 the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed diplomatic missions in Islamabad that “all foreigners,
including diplomats, may not move out of their city of residence without proper security and prior co-ordination
with the law enforcement agency”. No steps have been taken by the Pakistani authorities to implement this
If you travel to any of the regions listed below, you or your travel company should contact the local authorities in
advance to check the local security situation. They may arrange police protection as necessary and will advise
whether you need a No Objection Certificate issued by the Pakistani Ministry of Interior.
There is a heightened risk from kidnapping and militant activity in much of Balochistan. There are frequent
sectarian attacks in and around Quetta. If you intend to visit these areas, make sure you have the necessary
permission from the authorities and proper security arrangements in place.
Except for official border crossing points, foreigners are not allowed to travel within 10 miles of Pakistan‟s
international borders and the Kashmir Line of Control, or within 30 miles of the Afghan border in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Staffs are advised against all but essential travel to Gilgit-Baltistan following the attack on 22 June, which targeted
and killed foreign tourists at the Nanga Parbat base camp area. There have been occasional outbursts of sectarian
violence in Gilgit.
All foreign nationals must register with the local authorities when visiting Gilgit-Baltistan. You may need a permit
for mountaineering or trekking, in particular for mountains over 6,000 meters.
The process can take up to 2 months and is best organized through a travel company. Your travel insurance policies
may be affected if you don‟t have the correct permits.
Use reputable trekking agencies, stay on established routes, and always walk in groups. Don‟t trek alone. Be aware
of the risks of altitude sickness.
Public protests are common in Islamabad. In line with the safety and security advice in this travel advice, FCO staff
are advised to avoid Aabpara and Melody markets and the area around the Lal-Masjid Mosque in Sector G/6 due to
frequent large gatherings and demonstrations, and sectors G7 to G10 due to high crime rates. FCO staff are also
advised to avoid visiting western retail and fast food outlets, sports venues and events, live music venues and
Christian religious services outside the diplomatic enclave.
Security forces in Pakistan, including in the capital Islamabad, have been placed on high alert for possible terrorist
attacks. Security at airports has also increased. Vehicle entry to Benazir Bhutto International Airport at Islamabad is
currently restricted between approx. 10:30pm and 6am; congestion is likely at the entrance to the airport.
There are high levels of violence in Karachi especially in the districts of Lyari and Orangi. The city is vulnerable to
serious violent ethnic conflict between the Urdu and Pashtun communities. Criminal and political violence is also
common including armed carjacking, robbery, kidnap and murder. Strikes called by various religious and political
parties as a result of the target killings cripple the city and regularly produce violent civil unrest. You should avoid
the area around the US Consulate buildings in Saddar Town.
It is difficult to predict the safety of daily activity in the city. Any movement within the city should be carefully
planned taking into account all the threats. FCO staff working outside Karachi are not allowed to travel there except
on official business. Staff travel around the city is subject to strict security measures and movements on foot are not
The Karakoram Highway runs from HasanAbdal in north Punjab towards Gilgit and the Chinese border. The FCO
advise against travel on the Highway between Islamabad and Gilgit. You should avoid travelling on the Highway at
night - the road can be narrow with sudden steep drops. All sections of the Highway north of Batagram up to the
Chinese border have experienced landslides.
There is regular military or militant activity in the districts of Swat, Buner, Malakand, Nowshera, Swabi and Lower
Dir. Localised curfews may be imposed at short notice.
The Kalesh Valley, Bamoboret Valley and Arandu District to the south and west of Chitral in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
have seen an increase in militant activity, which has included abductions, violent armed robbery and murder.
Make sure you have the necessary permissions to travel. Specific requirements can change and you should check the
latest requirements before travelling. A No Objection Certificate is always required for foreign nationals to travel
within 10 miles of the Line of Control or to enter Kashmir via Muzaffarabad.
If you travel to southern Punjab take advice about the local security situation in advance. There are frequent reports
of criminality and public order incidents.
There is a very high risk from crime and kidnapping in Interior Sindh. There are reports of increased criminality in
Avoid using the railway network, which has been subject to frequent attacks and derailments. There have been
attacks on railway stations in Punjab, and militants have planted bombs on the rail network in Balochistan and
Take particular care on long road journeys and when travelling cross-country. Local driving standards are erratic,
especially at night. Road conditions are poor and there is a risk of carjacking.
Lock all doors and keep the windows up. Use well-travelled, well-lit routes where possible. Don‟t buy anything
from street vendors or make contact with beggars while travelling by car.
The threat from piracy within 12 nautical miles of the Pakistani coastline is low, but you should be aware of the
significant threat piracy poses in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.
There is a high threat from terrorism and sectarian violence throughout Pakistan. Attacks could be indiscriminate
including in places frequented by foreigners. Previous methods of attack have included grenades, shootings,
bombings and suicide bombs. Militants can launch complex and deadly attacks. Be vigilant, keep a low profile and
vary your routes and timings if you make any regular journeys.
Pakistani government personnel and institutions, and the security forces are prime targets for attacks. You should
avoid key government installations and gatherings of uniformed personnel. Religious sites and minority religious
sects are often targeted, including shrines and places of worship. You should avoid religious events or gatherings
and limit movements on Friday afternoons.
Public places and public gatherings are often targeted. Take care on public transport and in all public places
including hotels, airports, markets, shopping malls, restaurants, educational institutions and religious shrines. Take
care if you are planning to attend sporting and events or live music venues. Attacks have previously targeted places
that could be considered by militants to be un-Islamic. You should avoid „western‟ fast-food outlets; CD/DVD shops
and barber shops have previously been targeted.
Security forces in Pakistan, including in the capital Islamabad, have been placed on high alert for possible terrorist
Areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa suffer particularly frequent terrorist attacks with a high rate of casualties. Terrorist
attacks against a range of targets in the city of Peshawar are particularly common.
On the night of 22 June terrorists targeted, attacked and killed nine foreign tourists and Pakistani nationals at the
Nanga Parbat base camp area, Gilgit-Baltistan
You should be alert to the threat of kidnapping throughout Pakistan. Kidnappings can be for financial or political
gain. British nationals of Pakistani origin are at particular risk of kidnap for ransom. British and other foreign
national kidnap victims have faced extended periods of detention. While some were ultimately released by their
captors, others have been killed. The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive
concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners
increases the risk of further hostage taking.
Local laws and customs
Local laws reflect the fact that Pakistan is a Muslim country. You should respect local customs and sensitivities at
all times, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.
You should dress modestly at all times. Men and women should cover their shoulders and legs when in public.
Women should cover their heads when entering mosques or other holy places, and when travelling in rural areas.
Importing alcohol and pork products is illegal. Homosexuality and co-habitation by an unmarried couple is illegal.
If you or your father were born in Pakistan, you might be considered a Pakistani national by the local authorities
even if you don‟t hold a Pakistani passport, and the British government may be prevented from providing the full
range of consular assistance.
You should carry some form of photo ID at all times.
Possession of even small quantities of illegal drugs can lead to imprisonment. Drug smuggling can attract the death
Don‟t take photographs at military establishments, airports or any infrastructure, including bridges and dams
including from aircraft. In the past British nationals have been arrested on suspicion of „spying‟. Seek permission
from any official, especially in border areas.
If you are travelling to Pakistan on a British passport, you will need to get a visa before you travel. Visa violations
can be treated as a criminal offence and could result in a fine or detention.
Journalists‟ visas often have additional travel restrictions, which you should observe. For further information consult
the High Commission for The Islamic Republic of Pakistan in London.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months at the time of your visa application.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are valid for entry into Pakistan. Holders of an ETD entering Pakistan
will need to have either a valid visa or an identity card issued by the Pakistan government (either an NIC - National
Identity Card - or an NICOP - National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis).
Travelling with children
A single parent or other adult who is not the child‟s parent may need to provide documentary evidence of parental
responsibility, particularly if the child is of Pakistani origin, before the immigration authorities will allow the child
to leave the country.
All passengers leaving Pakistan must have a valid visa, a Pakistani national identity card or a valid Pakistani
passport. If you are travelling on a British passport and your visa has expired you may not be allowed to board your
flight. In these circumstances you should contact the Ministry of Interior to get an exit visa. A fine may also be
Contact your GP around 8 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive
measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre,
and useful information about healthcare abroad, including a country-by-country guide of reciprocal health care
agreements with the UK, is available from NHS Choices.
Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment
abroad and repatriation.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 15 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact
your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Heavy monsoon rains are causing flooding mainly in parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the southern Punjab/northern
Sindh border and in Karachi. We reiterate our advice to travellers to check local forecasts and news reports and to
remain aware of the risk of landslides and road blockages, particularly in hilly and mountainous regions. The
monsoon season in Pakistan is from late June to early October. Heavy rains can cause severe flooding, particularly
in Sindh and Punjab Provinces.
Earth tremors are common and mountainous areas regularly experience floods and landslides. The US Federal
Emergency Management Agency has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake.
Travelling to Pakistan- Perspective of Threats & Analysis with Precautions
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Pakistan is a parliamentary federal republic in South Asia, with a
population of over 170 million people. Pakistan held successful elections in February 2008 and
has a coalition government. Pakistan is a developing country with some tourist facilities in major
cities but limited in outlying areas. The infrastructure in parts of Pakistan-administered Kashmir
and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) regions was devastated by an October 8, 2005, earthquake
and have not yet been fully rebuilt. Massive flooding in 2010 destroyed infrastructure throughout
the Indus River valley. Many parts of the country are also affected by militancy and violent
SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (STEP) / EMBASSY LOCATION: If
you are going to live in or visit Pakistan, please take the time to tell our Embassy or Consulates
about your trip. If you enroll, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security
announcements. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency.
Local embassy information is available below and at the
The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad is located at Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5.
Telephone: (92-51) 208-0000
Consular Section telephone: (92-51) 208-2700
Fax: (92-51) 282-2632
Emergency Contact Information: (92-51) 208-0000
U.S. Consulate General in Karachi
The U.S. Consulate General in Karachi is located at Plot 3-5 New TPX Area, Mai Kolachi Road.
U.S. citizens requiring emergency assistance should call the Consular Section in Karachi.
Telephone: (92-21) 3527-5000
Fax: (92-21) 3561-2420
Emergency Contact Information: (92-21) 3527-5000
U.S. Consulate General in Lahore
The U.S. Consulate in Lahore is located on 50 Sharah-E-Abdul Hamid Bin Badees (Old Empress
Road), near Shimla Hill Rotary.
Telephone: (92-42) 3603-4000
Fax: (92-42) 3603-4212
Emergency Contact Information: (92-42) 3603-4000
U.S. Consulate General in Peshawar
The U.S. Consulate in Peshawar is located at 11 Hospital Road, Cantonment, Peshawar.
Telephone: (92-91) 526-8800
Fax: (92-91) 528-4171
Emergency Contact Information: (92-91) 526-8800
ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S. CITIZENS: U.S. citizens require a valid
passport and valid Pakistani visa to enter and exit Pakistan for any purpose. U.S. citizens must
obtain visas at a Pakistani Embassy or Consulate in the country of their usual residence prior to
entering Pakistan as there are no provisions for visas upon arrival. Those arriving without a valid
passport and a valid visa are subject to fine, arrest, incarceration and/or deportation. The U.S.
Embassy and Consulates in Pakistan are unable to assist when U.S. citizens arrive without proper
U.S. citizens in Pakistan are responsible for monitoring their own visa status and for ensuring
that they are in compliance with Pakistani immigration regulations. The U.S. Mission in Pakistan
is unable to intervene with the Government of Pakistan in helping citizens extend their visas.
U.S. citizens may apply for extension of stay at the following address:
Section Officer (Visas)
Ministry of Interior
Pakistan Secretariat, „R‟ Block,
If a foreign citizen, including a U.S. citizen, overstays his or her Pakistani visa, or otherwise
violates Pakistani visa regulations, the traveler may require a clearance from the Ministry of
Interior in order to leave the country. Such travelers generally must pay a fine, and in some
cases, may be jailed until their deportation can be arranged. Additional information on visas can
be obtained from the Embassy of Pakistan at 3517 International Court NW, Washington, DC
20008; tel. 202-243-6500. The Embassy may be contacted via email .
Travelers may also contact one of the Consulates General of Pakistan in:
Boston: 1032 Main St., Suite 5, Millis, MA 02054; telephone: (617) 267-9000; fax: (617)
Chicago: 333 North Michigan Ave., Suite 728, Chicago, IL, 60601; telephone: (312)
781-1831; fax: (312) 781-1838 or (312) 781-1839
Houston: 11850 Jones Road, Houston, TX, 77070; telephone: (281) 894-6606; fax: (281)
Los Angeles: 10850 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1250, Los Angeles, CA 90024; telephone:
(310) 441-5114; fax: (310) 441-9256
New York: 12 East 65th St., New York, NY 10021; telephone: (212) 879-5800; fax:
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for U.S.
citizens traveling to Pakistan.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be
found on our web site. For further information about customs regulations, please read our
Customs Information sheet.
THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY: A number of extremist groups within Pakistan
continue to target U.S. citizens and other Western interests and Pakistani officials. Terrorists
have demonstrated a willingness and capability to attack targets where U.S. citizens are known to
congregate or visit. Terrorist actions may include, but are not limited to, suicide operations,
bombings -- including vehicle-borne explosives and improvised explosive devices -assassinations, carjackings, assaults, and kidnappings. Pakistani military forces are engaged in a
campaign against extremist elements across many areas of the Federally Administered Tribal
Areas (FATA) and parts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Province, formerly known as
Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP). In response to this campaign, militants have increased
attacks against both civilian and government targets in Pakistan‟s cities and rural areas.
The presence of al-Qaida, Taliban elements, and indigenous militant extremist and sectarian
groups poses a potential danger to U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan, especially in the western
border regions of the country. Continuing tensions in Muslim-majority countries and territories
also increase the possibility of violence against Westerners. Although the Pakistani government
has heightened its security measures, particularly in the major cities, terrorist groups continue to
seek opportunities to attack locations where U.S. citizens and Westerners are known to
congregate or visit, such as shopping areas, hotels, clubs and restaurants, places of worship,
schools, or outdoor recreation events.
Visits by U.S. government personnel to Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi are limited, and
movements by U.S. government personnel assigned to the Consulates in these cities are severely
restricted. The security situation in many rural areas is extremely hazardous. U.S. citizens,
including officials, are required to obtain advance permission from local or federal authorities to
travel to the FATA, large parts of KP Province, and Balochistan Province. U.S. officials in
Islamabad are instructed to restrict the frequency and to minimize the duration of trips to public
markets, restaurants, and other locations. Only a limited number of official visitors are placed in
hotels, and for limited stays. Depending on ongoing security assessments, the U.S. Embassy
places areas such as hotels, markets, and/or restaurants off limits to official personnel. U.S.
citizens in Pakistan are strongly urged to avoid hotels that do not apply stringent security
measures and to maintain good situational awareness, particularly when visiting locations
frequented by Westerners.
Suicide bombing attacks and political violence continue to occur throughout the country on a
regular basis, often targeting government authorities such as police checkpoints and military
installations, as well as public areas such as mosques and shopping areas. On January 4, 2011,
well-known Governor of Punjab Province Salmaan Taseer was assassinated in the Kohsar
Market area of Islamabad. On March 2, 2011, Federal Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, the
sole Christian member of Pakistan‟s cabinet, was also gunned down on the outskirts of
Islamabad. On May 20, 2011, a U.S. consulate general vehicle in Peshawar was attacked, killing
one person and injuring a dozen, including two U.S. employees of the Mission. On May 22,
2011, more than a dozen gunmen stormed Pakistani Naval Station Mehran in Karachi. On May
26, 2011, a suicide bomber blew up a car laden with explosives at a checkpoint near a police
station in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, killing 32 persons and injuring 60 others. On June 13, 2011, a
bomb attack occured in the I-8 Markaz commercial area of Islamabad. On August 19, 2011, a
suicide bomber attacked a mosque in Jamrud town, near Peshawar in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
province. At least 43 people were killed and more than 115 were injured. On September 19,
2011, a suicide bomb attack targeted the home of a senior policeman in Karachi. At least 8
people were killed and others have been injured. On November 12, 2011, at least four people
were killed and another injured when unidentified gunmen opened fire outside a district court in
Since late 2007, occasional rockets have been targeted at areas in and around Peshawar,
including in the direction of Peshawar International Airport. In June 2009, the Peshawar
International Airport closed for two days for unspecified security concerns. Also in July 2009,
some airline carriers suspended service to the airport. For the most up-to-date information on
aviation safety and security, U.S. citizens should regularly monitor the Department of State,
Bureau of Consular Affairs‟ website.
U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan have been kidnapped for ransom stemming from personal
disputes, or by terrorist elements including al-Qaida. Reported incidents include two separate
kidnappings in the summer of 2011 in Lahore. One victim was a USAID contractor. Earlier
occurrences include the 2010 kidnapping of a U.S. citizen child in Karachi, and the 2009
kidnapping of a U.S. citizen official of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in
Balochistan. The kidnapping of Pakistani citizens and other foreign nationals, usually for
ransom, continues to increase dramatically nationwide.
We remind U.S. citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn
confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. Rallies, demonstrations, and processions
occur regularly throughout Pakistan on very short notice and have often taken on an antiAmerican or anti-Western character. Additionally, rolling electrical blackouts--known locally as
"load shedding"-- are commonplace for many hours a day and have led to sporadic
demonstrations and violence in many cities throughout Pakistan. U.S. citizens are therefore
urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations if possible, and to exercise caution if within the
vicinity of any demonstrations. Because of the possibility of violence, U.S. citizens are urged to
avoid all public places of worship and areas where Westerners are known to congregate. U.S.
citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their
surroundings at all times. Information regarding demonstrations in Pakistan can be found on the
websites of U.S. Embassy-Islamabad and Consulates in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar.
During the Islamic (Shia) religious observance of Muharram, hostilities targeting religious sects
often increase. We advise U.S. citizens to avoid areas where large crowds of religious observers
gather in order to avoid this threat.
It is best to avoid public transportation. For security reasons, U.S. Mission personnel are
prohibited from using trains, taxis, or buses. (See the Traffic Safety and Road Conditions section
below). Men and women are advised to dress conservatively, with arms and legs covered, and to
avoid walking alone. It is unwise for anyone to travel on the streets late at night. Visitors to
Pakistan should maintain a low profile and be aware of their surroundings.
Gilgit-Baltistan (formerly known as the Northern Areas):Northern Pakistan has the greatest
concentration of the highest peaks in the world. This environment attracts trekkers and mountain
climbers from all over the world. Trekking in Pakistan involves walking over rugged, steep
terrain, where one is exposed to the elements, often at high altitudes. The Ministry of Tourism
has defined trekking as walking below 6000 m. It has designated three trekking zones: open,
restricted, and closed. U.S. citizens may trek anywhere in the open zone without a permit or the
services of a licensed mountain guide. For trekking in the restricted zone, U.S. citizens must pay
a $20 per person, per trek fee (subject to change) to obtain a trekking permit from the Ministry of
Tourism. To hike in the restricted zone, U.S. citizens must also hire a licensed mountain guide,
buy a personal accident insurance policy for the guide and the porters, and attend a mandatory
briefing and de-briefing at the Ministry of Tourism. No trekking is allowed in closed zones,
which are located near the Pakistan-Afghan border and near the Line of Control between
Pakistan-administered and India-administered Kashmir.
While we continue to discourage non-essential travel to Pakistan, the safest option for trekkers is
to join an organized group or use a reputable firm that provides experienced guides and porters.
Trekkers are also advised to sign-up with STEP and to provide a copy of their itinerary to family
or friends in the United States. While overall crime in the northern areas is low, there have been
occasional assaults on foreigners. The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad strongly recommends that
U.S. citizens exercise extreme caution when trekking at high altitudes. Only experienced trekkers
should tackle the northern mountains of the Hindukush, the Karakorams, and the Himalayas.
All peaks and routes for mountain climbing--sometimes referred to officially as
"mountaineering"-- in Pakistan have been designated as open or restricted. The Ministry of
Tourism issues permits for climbing and fees vary by altitude and time of year. A Pakistani
Army Liaison Officer must accompany all mountain climbing expeditions. Visit the Pakistan
Tourism Development Cooperation website for the most current trekking and mountaineering
Recent unrest and sectarian violence in Gilgit-Baltistan led to unsafe conditions along roadways
and the cancellation of all flights into and out of the region in April 2012. U.S. citizens should be
aware that adverse weather conditions often delay or cause flights to be cancelled without
Khyber Pahktunkhwa (KP) Province, formerly known as the Northwest Frontier Province
(NWFP), and Gilgit-Baltistan:Because of the high security threat level, the U.S. Consulate in
Peshawar no longer provides routine consular services. The U.S. government currently allows
only essential travel within the FATA and KP Province by U.S. officials. Security and logistical
challenges may affect the Consulate‟s ability to provide emergency consular services in this area.
Pakistani security forces are currently engaged in a campaign against extremist elements across
many areas of the FATA and parts of KP Province. Access to many areas of Pakistan, including
the FATA along the Afghan border, is restricted by local government authorities for nonPakistanis. Travel to any restricted region requires official permission by the Government of
Pakistan. Failure to obtain permission in advance can result in arrest and detention by Pakistani
authorities. Even in the settled areas of KP Province, terrorist activity and sectarian violence are
common. Terrorists and their sympathizers regularly attack civilian, government, and foreign
targets. U.S. citizens are also frequently targeted. There have been bombings in Peshawar of
varying sophistication since September 2006. Members and supporters of the Taliban and alQaida are known to be in the FATA, and may also be in the settled areas.
Pakistan-administered Kashmir: While direct military hostilities between India and Pakistan
across the Line of Control (LOC) are infrequent, militant groups engaged in a long-running
insurgency on the Indian side of the LOC have bases and supporters operating from the Pakistani
side. Most of these groups are anti-American, and some have attacked U.S. citizens and other
Westerners. The Government of Pakistan restricts access to many parts of this region and
requires that U.S. citizens obtain a permit from the Ministry of Interior before traveling.
Punjab Province:Violence has increased in Punjab Province in the past three years. In addition
to the incidents cited above, there have been several incidents of violence since late 2010. On
April 24, 2012, an explosion at the Lahore Railway Station killed three people and injured at
least 30 others. On October 25, 2010, a bomb exploded in the eastern gate of the Baba Farid
Shrine in the Pakpattan district of Lahore, killing six persons and injuring several others. On
January 25, 2011, an attack on a Shia procession in Lahore reportedly killed 11 people and
injured 50. On March 8, 2011, an attack on a gas station in Faisalabad reportedly killed at least
20 people and injured over 120.
As a precaution against these possible dangers, U.S. citizens are cautioned to maintain good
situational awareness. The Wagah border crossing into India near Lahore remains open daily
(from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) for travel to and from India if the passport holder has a valid visa
for both countries. U.S. citizens are advised to confirm with Pakistani authorities the current
status of the border crossing prior to commencing travel. U.S. citizens traveling to Jhang, Attock,
Dera Ghazi Khan and Khushab Tehsils, as well as Jauharabad Tehsil in Muzaffargarh district,
require permission from the Ministry of Interior.
Sindh Province:In Karachi and Hyderabad, there has been recurring violence characterized by
bombings, violent demonstrations, and shootings. The most notorious attack occurred in October
2007, when a suicide attack on former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto killed more than 130 and
injured approximately 375 people in Karachi. Over the last two years, Karachi has been wracked
by political violence. On October 7, 2010, eight persons were killed and over 60 injured in a
suicide attack at the Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine in Karachi. On November 11, 2010, another
major attack targeting a police installation in Karachi killed 20 persons and injured 150 in a
suicide car bomb blast at the Crime Investigation Department. On December 28, 2010, an
explosion wounded several students at Karachi University. In many areas of the city, there is
resentment toward outsiders. On November 16, 2011, a vehicle driven by suicide bombers
exploded in the Defence area of Karachi, killing the three bombers and two police officers. Nonessential travel to Karachi is strongly discouraged.
From the start of 2011 to the present, armed factions linked to certain political parties have
engaged in the targeted killings of their opponents. In these targeted killings, it is not uncommon
for bystanders to become victims.
U.S. citizens and other Westerners continue to be potential targets of hostility and anti-Western
mob violence. The U.S. Consulate General in Karachi in particular has been the target of several
major terrorist attacks or plots in recent years. Both Sindh and Balochistan are trans-shipment
points for U.S. military equipment en route to Afghanistan. Personnel, ports, vehicles, and
storage areas believed to be supporting U.S. military shipments have been the subject of terrorist
attacks. In rural Sindh Province, the security situation is hazardous, especially for those engaged
in overland travel. The Government of Pakistan recommends that travelers limit their movements
in Sindh Province.
Balochistan Province: The Province of Balochistan, which borders both Iran and Afghanistan,
is notorious for narcotics and other forms of cross-border smuggling. Members of the Taliban
and al-Qaida are also believed to be present there. Tribal unrest sometimes turns violent.
Travelers wishing to visit the interior of Balochistan should consult with the province‟s Home
Secretary, as the provincial police presence is limited. Advance permission from the provincial
authorities is required for travel into many areas. Local authorities have detained travelers who
lacked proper permission. Quetta, the provincial capital, has experienced an increase in
bombings and occasional gun battles in the streets. Terrorist attacks against Pakistani
government installations and infrastructure have been reported from 2009 to the present.
Stay up to date by:
Bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel
Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.
Following us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.
Downloading our free Smart Traveler IPhone App through iTunes and the Android
market, iTunesAndroid marketto have travel information at your fingertips.
Calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the U.S. and Canada, or a regular toll line, 1202-501-4444, from other countries.
Taking some time before travel to consider your personal security – Here are some useful
tips for traveling safely abroad.
CRIME: Crime is a serious concern for foreigners throughout Pakistan. Carjacking, armed
robberies, house invasions, and other violent crimes occur in many major urban areas. These
crimes have also occurred infrequently in other areas. Petty crime, especially theft of personal
property, is common. U.S. citizen travelers to Pakistan are strongly advised to avoid traveling by
taxi and other forms of public transportation, and have members of their host organizations or
families meet them at the airport. In the past, several U.S. citizen travelers arriving at the
international airport in Lahore, who were met by their families, were robbed outside the airport
of cash and jewelry, after being stopped by a car with fake government license plates. Such
schemes are common. Travel outside urban centers should only be undertaken during daylight
hours. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates have seen a large increase in the number of U.S.
citizens alleging the loss of property or financial investment due to the unfair business practices
of their Pakistani partners.
Don‟t buy counterfeit or pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the
bootlegs illegal in the United States, you may be breaking local law too.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: f you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you
should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:
Replace a stolen passport.
Help you find appropriate medical care, if you are the victim of violent crimes such as
assault or rape.
Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and if you want us to, we can
contact family members or friends.
Help you understand the local criminal justice process and can direct you to local
attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for
investigating and prosecuting the crime.
If your passport is stolen, we can help you replace it. Although the Embassy or Consulate is able
to replace a stolen or lost passport, the Ministry of Home Affairs is responsible for approving an
exit visa. You should immediately report the theft or loss to the police in the location where your
passport was stolen. A police report, called an FIR (First Information Report) is required by the
Pakistani government in order to obtain an exit visa to leave Pakistan in the event of a lost or
stolen passport. This entire process can take three to four working days.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Pakistan is 15. In addition, local emergency
responders in Punjab province can be reached by dialing 1122.
Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation
programs in the United States.
Forced Marriage: The U.S. government considers the issue of forced marriage to be a violation
of basic human rights and in the case of minors, a form of child abuse. Forced marriage is
defined as one in which one or both parties have not consented to the marriage; it differs from
arranged marriage. Often, victims of forced marriage are subjected to non-consensual sex,
physical and emotional abuse, isolation, and threats of violence. International law and
conventions also support an individual's right to self-determination, minimum marriage ages, and
the rejection of abuse of women and honor-based violence.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Pakistan, you are subject to its laws even
if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In
some places, you may be taken in for questioning if you don‟t have your passport with you. In
some places, it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings, but the law on this subject is vague
and applied indiscriminately. In some places, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
could land you immediately in jail. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country.
There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the
United States. You can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in
sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is
a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Pakistan, your U.S. passport
will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It‟s very important to know what‟s legal and what‟s
not where you are going.
Persons violating Pakistani laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Pakistan are severe, and convicted
offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
Arrest notifications in host country: While some countries will automatically notify the nearest
U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might
not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request
that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you
are arrested or detained overseas. Please note that a consular officer might not be able to visit
you for 15 working days or longer after your arrest in Pakistan.
In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available.
Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law. In addition, bringing them
back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines. The Computer Crime and
Intellectual Property Division in the U.S. Department of Justice has more information on this
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Pakistan is largely a cash economy. Personal checks are not
commonly accepted. Most Pakistanis do not use checking accounts for routine transactions.
Outside major cities, even credit cards and travelers‟ checks are generally not accepted, and there
have been numerous reports of credit card fraud. There are bank branches as well as registered
currency exchangers in all international airports. ATMs can also be found in major airports.
English is widely spoken by professional-level airport staff.
The U.S. and Pakistani educational systems are very different. U.S. citizen medical students, in
particular, should carefully review the fee and coursework structure prior to enrolling in a course
Accessibility: While in Pakistan, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and
accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. The law provides for
equality of the rights of persons with disabilities, but the provisions are not always implemented
in practice. Families typically care for most individuals with physical and mental disabilities.
In August 2009, President Zardari launched the "Special Persons-Special Cards" initiative, under
which persons with disabilities receive reduced prices for a number of services, including
transportation and financial services. The initiative also includes measures to provide disabled
persons with greater physical access to public facilities. That said, access for individuals with
physical disabilities to public facilities is limited in major cities and almost non-existent outside
the population centers.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Adequate basic non-emergency
medical care is available in major Pakistani cities but is limited in rural areas. Facilities in the
cities vary in level and range of services, resources, and cleanliness, and U.S. citizens may find
them below U.S. standards; facilities in rural areas are consistently below U.S. standards.
Medical facilities require prepayment and most do not accept credit cards.
Water is not potable anywhere in Pakistan and sanitation in many restaurants is inadequate.
Stomach illnesses are common.
Effective emergency response to personal injury and illness is virtually non-existent in Pakistan.
Ambulances are few and are not necessarily staffed by medical personnel. Any emergency case
should be transported immediately to a recommended emergency receiving room. Many U.S.brand medications are not widely available, but generic brands from well-known
pharmaceuticals usually are. The quality of the locally produced medications is uneven.
You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC
website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health
Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for
travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Pakistan. For further information,
please consult the CDC's information on TB.
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MEDICAL INSURANCE: You can‟t assume your insurance will go with you when you travel.
It‟s very important to find out BEFORE you leave. You need to ask your insurance company two
Does my policy apply when I‟m out of the United States?
Will it cover emergencies such as a trip to a foreign hospital or an evacuation?
In many places, doctors and hospitals still expect payment in cash at the time of service. Your
regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctors‟ and hospital visits in other countries. If
your policy does not go with you when you travel, it is a very good idea to take out another one
for your trip. Hospitals and clinics may not process medical bills directly to the overseas
insurance companies. You may still have to pay cash upfront before you submit your claim. It is
good practice to carry cash to any hospital or clinic visit. Contact your insurance company before
you travel to find out what is covered. For more information, please see our medical insurance
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Pakistan, you may encounter road
conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below
concerning Pakistan is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a
particular location or circumstance.
Traffic in Pakistan moves on the left, opposite of U.S. traffic In addition to this source of
potential confusion, overland travel in Pakistan has a variety of other risks. Roads are crowded,
drivers are often aggressive and poorly trained, and many vehicles, particularly large trucks and
buses, are badly maintained. Donkeys, cattle, horse carts, and even the occasional camel can
pose roadside hazards in some areas. Roads, including most major highways, also suffer from
poor maintenance and often have numerous potholes, sharp drop-offs and barriers that are not
sign-posted. Drivers should exercise extreme caution when traveling at night by road, as many
vehicles do not have proper illumination or dimmers nor are most roads properly illuminated or
signed. Driving without experienced local drivers or guides is not recommended.
It is best to avoid public transportation. For security reasons, U.S. Mission personnel are
prohibited from using taxis or buses. (See threats to Safety and Security section above.)
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. Also, we suggest that you visit the
website of Pakistan‟s national tourist office and Pakistan‟s national authority responsible for road
For further information / clarifications contact Ghouri Security at:
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