US warns against travel to Pakistan

Pakistan Travel Warning

WASHINGTON: Ahead of an anti-government march in Pakistan’s capital on 14 August by opposition parties, the US has asked its citizens to defer their all non-essential travel to Pakistan.

In a travel warning, US State Department warned US citizens to “defer all non-essential travel” to Pakistan.

The presence of several foreign and indigenous terrorist groups poses a danger to US citizens throughout Pakistan, it said.

Across the country, terrorist attacks frequently occur against civilian, government, and foreign targets. Attacks have included armed assaults on heavily guarded sites, including military installations and airports, it added.

The Pakistan government, it said, maintains heightened security measures, particularly in the major cities.

Threat reporting indicates terrorist groups continue to seek opportunities to attack locations where US citizens and Westerners are known to congregate or visit.

Terrorists and criminal groups regularly resort to kidnapping for ransom, the travel warning said.

“Protests against the United States are not uncommon and have the potential to turn violent. US citizens in Pakistan are strongly advised to avoid all protests and large gatherings,” the State Department said.

Full travel advisory by US State Department here.

UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) released this travel advice on 8 August:

There is a high threat from terrorism, kidnap and sectarian violence throughout Pakistan.

Demonstrations are expected in Lahore over the weekend of 9-10 August. As a result British High Commission staff have been advised not to make recreational visits to Lahore over the weekend. On Pakistan Independence Day on 14 August opposition political parties have called on supporters to converge in central Islamabad and remain there indefinitely. Disruption to travel in and around Islamabad is likely from the afternoon of 13 August, including closure of the M2 motorway between Lahore and Islamabad on 14 August. Filling stations on the Grand Trunk Road have also been ordered closed.

You should avoid these demonstrations and other large gatherings. Staff at the British High Commission have been advised not to travel on 14 August.

The Pakistan military are intermittently taking action against militant groups in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Security forces across Pakistan remain on high alert for possible attacks. There may be increases in security force presence, and restrictions on movement may be put in place at short notice.

See also: Everything else we reported on Pakistan and its future (links below)

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