- Reviewed: 8 September 2022, 15:13 NZST
- Still current at: 28 May 2023
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If you are planning international travel at this time, please read our COVID-19 related travel advice here, alongside our destination specific travel advice below.
Do not travel
Do not travel to Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (except for Chitral district), and Pakistan-Administered Kashmir due to the high risk of kidnapping, terrorism and the unpredictable security situation (level 4 of 4).
Do not travel to the border areas with Afghanistan and India, including the line of control, due to the volatile security situation (level 4 of 4). This does not include Lahore, Wagah, Kasur, Narowal, Sialkot (except for areas within 15km of the border) and the Wagah official border crossing point.
Avoid non-essential travel
Avoid non-essential travel elsewhere in Pakistan due to the threat of terrorism, the risk of kidnapping, potential for civil unrest, sectarian violence and the unpredictable security situation (level 3 of 4). New Zealanders in Pakistan with concerns for their safety should consider leaving the country.View Larger Map Close/Open map
As there is no New Zealand High Commission in Pakistan, the ability of the government to assist New Zealand citizens is limited. We offer advice to New Zealanders about contingency planning that travellers to Pakistan should consider.
There is an ongoing and significant threat from terrorism throughout Pakistan. Future terrorist attacks are expected, could be indiscriminate and could occur throughout Pakistan. We continue to receive information that terrorist groups are planning attacks in Pakistan, including against Western targets.
Numerous terrorist groups are present and operate in Pakistan. While terrorist attacks frequently target Pakistani Government institutions, security and military personnel, foreigners and foreign interests have also been targeted. The provinces of Balochistan and Kyber-Pakhtunkhwa are particularly volatile. There is an increased risk of attack during religious holidays and days of national significance. Security forces may cut mobile phone services and internet access until a threat has passed.
Potential targets across Pakistan could include Government, military institutions, security and law enforcement personnel, public places, sporting events, live music venues, hospitals, courts, hotels, transport hubs (including airports), markets, shopping malls, educational institutions, embassies, religious sites and identifiably Western interests, premises and symbols, including businesses and NGOs.
Methods of attack have included shootings, grenades, and bombings (including improvised explosive devices, roadside bombs and suicide bombs).
Sectarian violence is common in many parts of Pakistan and places of worship and religious sites associated with religious sects are also at risk of terrorist attack. The city of Karachi has high levels of political, sectarian and criminal violence. Protests and demonstrations by religious and political parties have at times led to significant disruptions in the city and regularly result in violent civil unrest. There is a higher level of public security across much of Karachi, police and paramilitary rangers occasionally conduct counter-terrorism operations.
Pakistan has suffered a significant number of terrorist attacks. Recent attacks include:
- On 26 April 2022, 4 people were killed and 4 injured in a suicide IED attack at Karachi University in Karachi, Sindh.
- On 4 March 2022, 63 people were killed and 198 injured in a suicide bombing at a Shia Muslim Mosque in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
- On 20 January 2022, 3 people were killed and 29 injured when an IED detonated outside a bank in Lahore, Punjab.
- On 8 January 2022, 6 people were killed during an exchange of gunfire in Quetta, Balochistan.
- On 30 December 2021, 4 people were killed and 15 injured when an IED detonated in Quetta, Balochistan.
- On 5 September 2021, 4 people were killed and 19 injured in a suicide bombing in Quetta, Balochistan.
- On 15 July 2021, 13 people were killed and 28 injured in an IED detonation in Kohistan Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
- On 23 November 2018, the Chinese Consulate in Karachi was attacked. Seven people were killed.
New Zealanders 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. Discuss security issues with tour providers or business partners before travelling. We recommend monitoring the media and local information sources for new information on potential threats to safety and security. You should follow the advice of the local authorities and keep a low profile.
There is a significant threat of kidnapping throughout Pakistan, especially in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Foreigners are particularly at risk. Foreign nationals have been kidnapped in the past and killed or held captive for long periods of time. On 17 April 2021, two foreign nationals were kidnapped in Lahore.
New Zealanders in Pakistan are advised to seek professional security advice and ensure appropriate personal security measures are in place at all times. Travel routes and times should be varied and the use of public transport should be avoided.
The Pakistan military is conducting ongoing operations against militant groups within Pakistan, largely in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. We strongly advise that New Zealanders do not travel to areas where there are reports of militant or military activity.
New Zealanders in Pakistan should also be aware that any increase in violence between Pakistani security forces and militant groups or terrorists is likely to increase the possibility of reprisal terrorist attacks, which may not be limited to the geographic area of confrontation.
There is a volatile security environment along the border with India. With the exception of official border crossings, foreigners are prohibited from travelling within 15 kilometres of the entire border area with India, including the Kashmir Line of Control. Foreigners are also prohibited from travelling within 50 kilometres of the border with Afghanistan in Gilgit-Balistan. We strongly advise that New Zealanders do not travel to these areas.
If you must travel to Chitral district or Gilgit-Balistan, do so by air rather than by road due to significant safety and security risks.
Early in 2019, there were reports of air force incidents over border areas of the disputed region of Kashmir. The security situation in and around Kashmir is volatile and could deteriorate without warning.
Violent crime, including armed car-jacking, assault and robbery, occurs in many parts of Pakistan, particularly in Karachi, Balochistan, rural Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. There is a high level of lawlessness in some of these areas. Petty crime such as bag snatching, passport theft and pickpocketing occurs and is common in tourist areas, in larger cities and on public transport. We advise New Zealanders to be alert to their surroundings at all times and take steps to safeguard and secure their personal belongings.
There have been incidents across Pakistan of people posing as police officers with fake police ID cards, including in Islamabad.
Celebratory gunfire is illegal but common. While the likelihood of being hit is remote, it has occasionally resulted in injury and death. If you’re in Karachi on New Year’s Eve, we recommend you stay indoors from 11pm until 4am the following day (New Year’s Day), to limit exposure to celebratory gunfire.
Women may be subject to forms of harassment and verbal abuse, especially if travelling alone. Gender-based violence, particularly in the home, is common. Standards of domestic violence support are far lower than similar services in New Zealand. Forced marriages have also been reported. You should consider these risks if you are planning travel to Pakistan.
Avoid travelling alone and outside urban areas after dark. 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.
The political situation in Pakistan remains unpredictable. Demonstrations and civil disorder are common and can develop quickly. Some may take on an anti-Western tone. Authorities may suspend mobile networks and close roads at short notice in response.
New Zealanders are advised to avoid all demonstrations, protests, political rallies and large public gatherings in Pakistan given the potential for these 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 follow the advice of local authorities.
Avoid using taxis and public transport (including buses and trains) due to security concerns. Only use transport services provided by hotels and accredited tour operators.
We advise against travelling on the section of the Karakoram Highway from Mansehra to Chilas, via Battagram, Besham City, Dasu and Sazin due to security risks.
General travel advice
Access to certain areas of Pakistan may be restricted by authorities. New Zealanders in Pakistan should be aware of, and adhere to any restrictions in place on travel.
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. Homosexual acts and relationships are considered illegal in Pakistan. Blasphemy is illegal, severe penalties can apply, including the death penalty. Those accused of blasphemy are also at risk of significant violence from the public.
The monsoon season in Pakistan is normally from late June to early October. During this time, there is a heightened risk of severe flooding and landslides. Check local weather forecasts and in the event of a flood, always follow the instructions of local authorities.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe and can include lengthy imprisonment or fines.
Photography of government buildings or installations, airports, military establishments or officials, is prohibited, and could result in detention. If in doubt, don’t take a picture.
New Zealanders in Pakistan should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air. You should check that your travel insurance policy covers travel to Pakistan – exclusions may apply.
New Zealanders travelling or living in Pakistan are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The New Zealand Embassy Tehran, Iran is accredited to Pakistan
Street Address No 1, Second Park Alley, Sousan Street, North Golestan Complex, Aghdasiyeh Street, Niavaran, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran Email email@example.com Web Site http://www.mfat.govt.nz/iran Hours Sun-Thurs 0830-1230, 1300-1500. Note Visa enquiries will only be responded to between 1000-1230. The Embassy is currently not accepting any walk-ins, and all contact must be made via email or telephone +64 99 20 20 20.
New Zealand Consulate-General Karachi, Pakistan
Street Address Suite 214-5, Glass Tower 2 Ft 3, Adjacent to PSO House Main Clifton Road Karachi 75530 Telephone + 92 21 3565 6993 Alternate Telephone +92 21 3565 6994 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
See our regional advice for South Asia
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Accredited New Zealand Embassy Iran
No 1, Second Park Alley, Sousan Street, North Golestan Complex, Aghdasiyeh Street, Niavaran, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Hours: Sun-Thurs 0830-1230, 1300-1500.