Pakistan Travel Warning
Issued by US Department of State
Mar 12, 2017
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all non-essential travel to Pakistan. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated October 7, 2016.
Consular services provided by the American Embassy in Islamabad, the Consulate General in Karachi, and the Consulate General in Lahore are often limited due to the security environment. At this time, the Consulate General in Peshawar is not providing consular services.
Pakistan continues to experience significant terrorist violence, including sectarian attacks. Targeted attacks against government officials, humanitarian and non-governmental organization (NGO) employees, tribal elders, and law enforcement personnel are common. Throughout Pakistan, foreign and indigenous terrorist groups continue to pose a danger to U.S. citizens. Evidence suggests that some victims of terrorist activity have been targeted because they are Americans. Terrorists and criminal groups have resorted to kidnapping for ransom.
The Government of Pakistan maintains heightened security measures, particularly in major cities, following attacks or in response to threats.
Terrorists have targeted:
- Heavily guarded facilities, such as military installations and airports
- Universities, schools, and hospitals
- Places of worship of various faiths
- Rallies, public parks, and sports venues
- Hotels, markets, shopping malls, and restaurants
In October 2016, terrorists killed at least 60 people and injured 190 at a police training college in Quetta, Balochistan. In November 2016, a suicide bomber detonated himself at the Sufi Shah Noorani Shrine in Khudzar, Balochistan, killing at least 52 people and injuring over 100 others. In January 2017, an improvised explosive device placed in a marketplace in Kurram Valley in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) killed at least 25 people and injured at least 87 others. In February 2017, one suicide bomber detonated himself outside the Punjab Assembly in Lahore, killing at least 14 people and injuring at least 87 and another detonated himself in the Sufi Shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, killing at least 88 people and injuring over 350.
Sectarian violence remains a serious threat throughout Pakistan, and the Government of Pakistan continues to enforce blasphemy laws. Religious minority communities have been victims of targeted killings and accusations of blasphemy.
The local government restricts access for foreigners to many areas, including:
- the FATA along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border,
- Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province
- the area adjacent to the Line of Control in the disputed territory of Kashmir
- much of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and Balochistan
Travel by U.S. government personnel within Pakistan is restricted and movements by U.S. government personnel outside of Islamabad are severely restricted. U.S. government personnel may not:
- Attend services at places of worship without prior approval.
- Use public transportation or stay overnight at hotels in Pakistan.
If you choose to live or travel in Pakistan despite this warning, you should:
- Vary travel routes and timing, especially for routine trips.
- Minimize the duration of trips to public markets, restaurants, and other locations.
- Minimize the number of U.S./western nationals congregating in any one location at any time.
- Avoid hotels that do not apply stringent security measures.
- Take a photo of your passport, entry stamp and Pakistani visa, and keep it with you at all times. Keep digital copies of these documents in a secure, electronically accessible place.
Advisory Notice to Airmen (NOTAM): The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a NOTAM concerning the risks to civil aviation operating in Pakistan, particularly at low altitude, during the arrival and departure phases of flight, and when on the ground, due to extremist/militant activity. The Advisory NOTAM does not prohibit U.S. operators or airmen from operating in the specified area, as it is strictly an advisory notice.
For background information on FAA flight prohibitions and advisories for U.S. civil aviation, see the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.
For further information:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier for us to locate you in an emergency.
- Contact the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, located at Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5, Islamabad, Pakistan, by email at ACSIslamabad@state.gov. The after-hours emergency assistance number for U.S. citizens is (92)(51) 201-4000 or (92)(51)201-5000.
- Contact the U.S. Consulate General in Karachi, located at Plot 3-5 New TPX Area, Mai Kolachi Road. The after-hours emergency assistance number for U.S. citizens is (92-21) 3527-5000.
- Contact the U.S. Consulate General in Lahore, located at 50, Shahrah-e-Abdul Hameed Bin Badees, (Old Empress Road) near Shimla Hill Circle. The after-hours emergency assistance number for U.S. citizens is (92-42)3603-4000.
- Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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