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Reviewed: 20 May 2011, 13:30 NZDT
Still current at: 20 May 2013
There is extreme risk to your security in Pakistan and we advise against all travel. Terrorism, kidnapping and sectarian violence present a significant risk to New Zealanders in Pakistan. Any New Zealanders currently in Pakistan with concerns for their safety are advised to depart.
We strongly advise against all travel to areas where there are reports of military or militant activity, in particular, the Swat Valley, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (formerly the North-West Frontier Province) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The Pakistan military is conducting ongoing operations against militant groups in these areas. New Zealanders could get caught up in violence directed at others.
There is a very high threat from terrorism in Pakistan. Following the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad on 1 May 2011, there may be an increased threat against Westerners in Pakistan.
New Zealanders who choose to remain in Pakistan are advised to exercise extreme caution in public places, maintain very high levels of personal security awareness and take all possible security precautions to protect their safety. We recommend you monitor the media and local information sources for new information on potential threats to your safety and security. You should follow the advice of the local authorities and keep a low profile.
Possible targets for terrorist attacks include embassies, hotels, restaurants, markets, shopping areas, schools, airports, public transport, places of worship and government buildings. Recent attacks have focussed on Pakistani Government targets, particularly security and military personnel and institutions. Places of worship and religious sites associated with minority religious sects have also been targeted.
Recent terrorist incidents in Pakistan include a gunfire attack on a vehicle belonging to the Saudi Consulate in Karachi on 16 May 2011 which killed a consulate employee. Two attacks on 13 May 2011 against a military training centre in Charsadda in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa killed at least 80 people and injured over 140 others, including civilian casualties. On 21 April 2011, an explosion in the Birch Club in the Lyari area of Karachi killed 15 people and injured 35 others. On 9 March 2011, an attack on a funeral procession in Peshawar killed 36 people. On 8 March 2011, an attack on a petrol station in Faisalabad killed 20 people and injured over 120 others. On 25 January 2011, an attack on a Shia procession in Lahore killed 11 people and injured 50 others. Two police officers were also killed near a Shia procession in Karachi the same day.
New Zealanders are advised to avoid all demonstrations, rallies and large public gatherings as they have the potential to turn violent with little warning. If you are in an area affected by demonstrations or violence, you should leave the area if it is safe to do so, or find a safe location, remain indoors and heed any local advice.
Kidnapping for ransom is a significant problem in Pakistan and foreigners are particularly at risk. The kidnapping threat applies throughout the country but particularly in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas. Travel routes and times should be varied and public transport should not be used for security reasons.
The risk of sectarian violence is high and is a major problem in many parts of Pakistan. Recent attacks have resulted in mass civilian casualties. Particular care should be taken around mosques and religious sites. Where possible, mosques should be avoided at prayer times and especially on Fridays.
Violent crime, including armed car-jacking and robbery occurs in many parts of Pakistan, particularly in Karachi. When travelling by car, it is advisable to keep doors locked and windows up at all times. Photo identification should be carried for presenting at police checkpoints.
General travel advice
New Zealanders in Pakistan should be aware of, and adhere to any restrictions in place on travel to certain areas of Pakistan. We recommend that your travel documents are kept up to date and are readily available at all times.
New Zealanders are advised to respect religious and social traditions in Pakistan to avoid offending local sensitivities. Modesty and discretion should be exercised in both dress and behaviour.
As there is no New Zealand High Commission in Pakistan, the ability of the government to assist New Zealand citizens who get into trouble is limited.
New Zealanders in Pakistan should have comprehensive medical and travel insurance policies in place that include provision for medical evacuation by air. You should check that your travel insurance policy covers travel to Pakistan – exclusions may well apply.
New Zealanders travelling or living in Pakistan are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
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