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Pakistan Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Mar 31, 2003

This Travel Warning is being updated to alert Americans to increased tensions in the region and continued high security concerns about terrorists in Pakistan. The Department of State authorized the departure on a voluntary basis of non-emergency personnel at the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Consulates in Pakistan on March 19. Family members were ordered to leave the country in March 2002 and have not yet been allowed to return. Private American citizens currently in Pakistan should consider departing. This Travel Warning supersedes that issued March 19, 2003.

The Department of State authorized the departure on a voluntary basis of non-emergency personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad and the U.S. Consulates in Lahore and Peshawar. U.S. consular personnel remain available to provide emergency information and services to American citizens. On August 5, 2002, the U.S. Consulate in Karachi closed its public operations indefinitely due to security concerns. U.S. citizens requiring emergency assistance should contact the consular section in Karachi by telephone (provided below).

U.S. citizens who remain in or travel to Pakistan despite this warning are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad or the Consulates in Peshawar or Lahore and enroll in the warden system (emergency alert network) to obtain updated information on travel and security in Pakistan. Persons wishing to register at the U.S. Consulate General in Karachi should call that office. Americans in Pakistan should exercise caution and take prudent measures to maintain their security. These measures include being vigilantly aware of their surroundings, avoiding crowds and demonstrations, keeping a low profile, varying times and routes for all required travel and ensuring travel documents are current.

The possibility of threats to Americans, Christian facilities and other civilian targets continues. There is evidence of a potential threat to American citizens and other westerners in Pakistan from terrorists posing as street vendors or beggars on busy streets. Americans are urged to avoid congested areas where these individuals could approach their vehicles. Although the high level of tension that existed last spring between India and Pakistan has subsided, the risk of renewed tension cannot be ruled out.

From time to time, the missions in Pakistan may temporarily suspend public services as necessary to review their security posture. Due to security concerns, official Americans may be prohibited from traveling to certain areas of Pakistan. Americans should telephone the Embassy or Consulates or check their websites to ensure the offices are open and to obtain the latest information on travel restrictions.

There is a growing possibility that as security is increased at official U.S. facilities, terrorists and their sympathizers will seek more vulnerable targets. These may include facilities where Americans are generally known to congregate or visit, such as clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, or outdoor recreation events.

The Government of Pakistan continues to give full support to the international campaign against terrorism. As Operation Enduring Freedom defeats Al-Qaida strongholds in Afghanistan, some Al-Qaida members have fled to Pakistan and other countries. This, coupled with the presence of indigenous sectarian and militant groups in Pakistan, requires that all Americans in or traveling through Pakistan take appropriate security measures. Events in the Middle East also increase the possibility of violence.

American citizens also should be aware that there are many areas of Pakistan that are restricted by the Government of Pakistan and require non-Pakistanis to obtain official permission before they may travel to them. This includes the tribal areas of Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province, and areas along the Line of Control, the Pakistan-India border, and near other sensitive areas and facilities. Travelers need to determine in advance of travel whether the areas they intend to visit are restricted in any way. If so, the appropriate authorities must be contacted and approval obtained before travel is undertaken.

U.S. citizens should ensure that their travel documents remain valid for travel and are urged to register and obtain updated security information at the U.S. Embassy or Consulates at the following addresses and particularly their websites:

The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad is located in Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5; telephone (92-51) 2080-0000; consular section telephone (92-51) 2080-2700; fax (92-51) 282-2632, website http://www.islamabad.usembassy .gov

The U.S. Consulate General in Karachi is located at 8 Abdullah Haroon Road; telephone (92-21) 568-5170 (after hours: 92-21-568-1606); fax (92-21) 568-0496, website http://www.usembassy.state.gov/karachi.

The U.S. Consulate in Lahore is located on 50-Empress Road Sharah-E-Abdul Hameed Bin Badees, (Old Empress Road) near Shimla Road; telephone (92-42) 636-5530 during regular working hours; fax (92-42) 636-5177, website http://usembassy.state.gov/lahore.

The U.S. Consulate in Peshawar is located at 11 Hospital Road, Cantonment, Peshawar; telephone (92-91) 279-801 through 803; fax (92-91) 276-712, website http://www.Peshawar.usconsulate.gov.

For additional information, consult the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet for Pakistan, the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, and the Middle East and North Africa Update Public Announcement, on the Department's internet website at http://travel.state.gov.

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