Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 5 December 2019, 11:52 NZDT
  • Still current at: 16 December 2019

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Do not travel

Do not travel to the Gilgit-Baltistan region, Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan-Administered Kashmir and border areas with Afghanistan and India (excluding the Wagah official border crossing point) due to the significant threat of terrorism, the risk of kidnapping and the unpredictable security situation. Any New Zealanders currently in these areas are advised to depart.

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 and the unpredictable security situation. New Zealanders in Pakistan with concerns for their safety should consider leaving the country.

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Terrorism
There is an ongoing and significant threat from terrorism throughout Pakistan, particularly in the provinces of Balochistan and Kyber-Pakhtunkhwa.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. There is an increased risk of attack during religious holidays and days of national significance.

Future terrorist attacks are expected, could be indiscriminate and could occur throughout Pakistan. Large cities such as Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar are especially vulnerable. Security forces may cut mobile phone services and internet access until a threat has passed.

Potential targets across Pakistan could include Government buildings, military institutions, security and law enforcement personnel, public places, 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.

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.

Pakistan has suffered a significant number of terrorist attacks. Recent attacks include:

  • On 8 May 2019, 13 people were killed and 24 injured in a suicide attack in Lahore.
  • On 12 April 2019, 20 people were killed and 48 injured in a suicide attack in Quetta, Baluchistan.
  • On 23 November 2018, 35 people were killed and 56 injured in a suicide attack in Kayla, Kyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
  • On 23 November 2018, the Chinese Consulate in Karachi was attacked. Seven people were killed.
  • On 25 July 2018, 22 people were killed and 28 injured in a suicide attack in Quetta, Balochistan.
  • On 13 July 2018, over 150 people were killed and more than 127 injured in a suicide attack in Mastung, Balochistan.
  • On 10 July 2018, 14 people were killed and 65 injured in a suicide attack in Yaka Tooy area of Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

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. 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.

Kidnapping
There is a significant threat of kidnapping throughout Pakistan, especially in Karachi, 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.

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.

Military action
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.

Border areas
There is a volatile security environment along the border with India. With the exception of 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.

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.

Crime
Violent crime, including armed car-jacking 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.

Avoid travel 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.

Civil unrest
The political situation in Pakistan remains unpredictable. Demonstrations and civil disorder are common and can develop quickly.

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.

General travel advice
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.

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.

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.

Travel tips


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 Telephone (+98 21) 2612 2175 Alternate Telephone 0044 207 6601157 (via London) Fax (+98 21) 2612 1973 and 0044 207 6601158 (via London) Email nzembassytehran@hotmail.co.nz 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

New Zealand Consulate-General Karachi, Pakistan

Street Address Suite 239, Glass Tower, 2 Ft 3, Adjacent to PSO House, Main Clifton Road, Karachi 75530. Telephone + 92 21 3565 6994 Fax + 92 21 3586 1852 Email nzcgpk@fudda.org

See our regional advice for South Asia

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Accredited New Zealand Embassy Iran

Street Address
No 1, Second Park Alley, Sousan Street, North Golestan Complex, Aghdasiyeh Street, Niavaran, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Telephone: (+98 21) 2612 2175

Alternate Telephone: 0044 207 6601157 (via London)

Fax: (+98 21) 2612 1973 and 0044 207 6601158 (via London)

Email: nzembassytehran@hotmail.co.nz

Website: http://www.mfat.govt.nz/iran

Hours: Sun-Thurs 0830-1230, 1300-1500.

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