U.S. State Dept. Updates Pakistan Travel Warning, April 7, 2016

Map of Pakistan

Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–April 7, 2016.  The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all non-essential travel to Pakistan.  This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated August 28, 2015, reminding U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns in Pakistan.

The American Embassy in Islamabad and the Consulate General in Karachi continue to provide consular services for all U.S. citizens in Pakistan.  The embassy and the consulate are often limited in the services they can provide due to the security environment.  The Consulate General in Peshawar no longer offers consular services, and consular services at the Consulate General in Lahore remain temporarily suspended.

Pakistan continues to experience significant terrorist violence, including sectarian attacks. Several foreign and indigenous terrorist groups continue to pose a danger to U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan. Across the country, terrorist attacks frequently occur against locations where U.S. citizens and Westerners congregate, as well as against local civilian and government targets. Targeted attacks against government officials, humanitarian and non-governmental organization (NGO) employees, tribal elders, and law enforcement personnel are common.  On April 16, 2015, an American educator was shot by two gunmen on motorbikes. Evidence suggests she was targeted, in part, because she was a U.S. citizen. Terrorists and criminal groups regularly resort to kidnapping for ransom.

Attacks include armed assaults against heavily guarded facilities, such as military installations and airports. Terrorists have also attacked universities, schools, rallies, places of worship, and large marketplaces in several Pakistani cities. Since the beginning of 2016, a suicide bomber killed at least 15 people and injured 25 others outside a health center in Quetta, Balochistan; gunmen attacked Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, killing 22 people; and a suicide bomber at a park in Lahore killed more than 70 people and injured more than 340. The Government of Pakistan maintains heightened security measures, particularly in major cities, following attacks or in response to threats.

Sectarian violence remains a serious threat countrywide and the Government of Pakistan continues to enforce blasphemy laws. Religious minority communities have been victims of targeted killings and accusations of blasphemy. Terrorists frequently target places of worship of various faiths.

The local government restricts access for non-Pakistanis to many areas, including the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the Afghan border, the Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, the area adjacent to the Line of Control in the disputed territory of Kashmir and much of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and Balochistan.

The travel of U.S. government personnel within Pakistan is restricted based on security or other reasons.  Movements by U.S. government personnel outside of Islamabad are severely restricted, and consulate staff cannot drive personally-owned vehicles.

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, we recommend you:

  • Vary travel routes and timing, even 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.

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued an Advisory Notice to Airmen (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 further background information regarding FAA flight prohibitions and advisories for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

For further information:

Source: http://www.state.gov