Pakistan Travel Warning
Issued by US Department of State
May 22, 2017
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all non-essential travel to Pakistan. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated April 12, 2017.
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 U.S. citizens. 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 continue to target:
- Heavily guarded facilities, such as military and government 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 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 Lahore, in an attack that militants said was directed at senior police officials, a suicide bomber detonated himself outside the Punjab Assembly killing at least 14 people and injuring at least 87; in Sindh province, a suicide bomber detonated himself in the Sufi Shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, killing at least 88 people and injuring over 350; in Parachinar in the FATA, a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated outside a Shia congregation, killing at least 25 people and injuring at least 90; and in Balochistan, a suicide bomber detonated himself on the N-25 National Highway, reportedly targeting a senior politician’s convoy, killing at least 28 people and injuring at least 40 others.
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, government and military institutions, 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.