The United States of America in a travel advisory issued on 22 May 2017 has asked its citizens to postpone all their non-essential travel to Pakistan.
The advisory, issued by the US Department of State, stated that Pakistan continues to experience significant terrorist violence including sectarian attacks and targeted attacks against government officials, humanitarian and non-governmental organization (NGO) employees, tribal elders, and law enforcement personnel are common there.
It further added that evidence suggests that some victims of terrorist activity have been targeted because they are US citizens.
Key Points from the Advisory
• Throughout Pakistan, foreign and indigenous terrorist groups continue to pose a danger to US citizens.
• As a result of the security issues, the consular services provided by the American Embassy in Islamabad, the Consulate General in Karachi and the Consulate General in Lahore will be limited
• The Consulate General in Peshawar would also not be providing consular services.
• The advisory has strict instructions for citizens who despite the warning would choose to travel or live in Pakistan.
• The advisory states that they should vary their travel route and timing especially while taking routine trips and also minimise the duration spent in public places (markets and restaurants) and government and military institutions.
• The advisory has also warned Americans from assembling in large numbers at any location at any time and also avoiding hotels with less stringent security measures.
• It has also stated that all American nationals must have a photo of their passport, entry stamp and Pakistani visa with them at all times and must keep separate digital copies of the documents stored in a safe and electronically accessible location.
The decision, the second one in less than 45 days, comes in the wake of the increased and continued terror threat in the country. In fact, the state department referred to the earlier advisory issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on 30 December 2016.
The FAA had issued an advisory notice to Airmen cautioning the pilots of commercial airlines of the risks in operating in Pakistan, especially at low altitude, during arrival and departure phases and when on the ground due to rise in militant activity in the nation.