Pakistan Travel Warning
Issued by US Department of State
Oct 07, 2016
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all non-essential travel to Pakistan. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated April 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. Throughout Pakistan, foreign and indigenous terrorist groups continue to pose a danger to U.S. citizens. Targeted attacks against government officials, humanitarian and non-governmental organization (NGO) employees, tribal elders, and law enforcement personnel are common. Evidence suggests that some victims of terrorist activity have been targeted because they are Americans. Terrorists and criminal groups regularly resort 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
- Large marketplaces in several Pakistani cities
In 2016 a suicide bomber killed 70 people and injured 130 at a government hospital in Quetta, Balochistan; in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, attackers killed 13 people at the Mardan District Court, and gunmen attacked Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, killing 22 people; in Punjab province, a suicide bomber at a park in Lahore killed more than 70 people and injured more than 340; and in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) village of Payee Khan, a suicide bomber detonated himself in a crowded mosque, killing 28 and injuring at least 30.
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
- 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.
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.