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Pakistan Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

May 27, 2002

Due to the current tensions between India and Pakistan, particularly along the border and the Line of Control in Kashmir, the Department of State reiterates its warning to American citizens to defer travel to Pakistan. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning for Pakistan dated March 22, 2002.

Tensions between India and Pakistan have risen to serious levels, and the risk of intensified military hostilities cannot be ruled out. Virtually all land and air links with India are closed. Military movements continue along both the Line of Control in Kashmir and the border between India and Pakistan. Artillery firing along the Line of Control has caused death and injury in that area.

The possibility of threats to Americans and other civilian targets continues. This was demonstrated by the March 17 attack on worshippers at a church service in Islamabad, where two Americans were killed and several more were injured, as well as the brutal kidnapping and murder of an American journalist in Karachi in early 2002.

There is a growing possibility that as security is increased at official U.S. facilities, terrorists and their sympathizers will seek less well-protected 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.

As a result of these concerns, the Department ordered the departure of non-emergency personnel and family members of the Embassy and Consulates in Pakistan on March 22, 2002. Americans in Pakistan should consider departing the country. The Embassy and Consulates in Pakistan will remain available for American citizen services. However, 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 seeking assistance should telephone the Embassy or Consulates before visiting to ensure the offices are open and to obtain the latest information on travel restrictions.

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 should also 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 beforehand whether the areas they intend to visit have any Pakistan government restrictions on them. If so, then the appropriate authorities must be contacted and approval obtained before travel is undertaken.

Americans who reside in or visit Pakistan should exercise maximum caution and take prudent measures. They should avoid crowds, demonstrations, and areas where Americans generally congregate.

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