The Pakistani security forces have stepped up their crackdown on terrorist and extremist forces in the country. In particular, operations against terrorists and extremists in North Waziristan are continuing. As revenge attacks by terrorist elements can be expected across the country against this background, particular attention should be paid to security aspects when planning trips to Pakistan according to youremailverifier.
Country-specific safety information
Warnings are given against traveling to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (formerly the Northwest Frontier Province, NWFP), to the tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan (the so-called Federally Administered Tribal Areas, FATA) and to Balochistan.
Nationwide there is a risk from politically and religiously motivated acts of violence. Before and during the trip to Pakistan, travelers should seek local advice on the security situation at the destination. In addition, the Pakistani authorities or travel agents should be asked which areas are closed to tourists. Moreover, travelers have to expect regular checks and occasionally travel restrictions imposed at short notice.
As a general rule, travelers should stay away from large gatherings of people, political demonstrations and – especially on Fridays and on major Islamic holidays – from religious sites, processions and celebrations. The same applies to the facilities of the army and security forces. Particular caution is advised when visiting institutions with international public traffic and known meeting places for foreigners.
In Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and FATA there is an increased risk of kidnapping. The last time a Chinese cyclist was kidnapped in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in May 2014 and two Czech tourists who had traveled overland to Pakistan from Iran were kidnapped in March 2013 in Balochistan. In other parts of the country (Lahore, South Punjab) there were kidnappings of foreigners a long time ago.
The threat from terrorist attacks by the Pakistani Taliban and groups affiliated with the Taliban, in particular explosives and suicide attacks, remains high in Pakistan.
In addition, there is still a risk of religiously motivated terrorist attacks by radical groups, which are primarily directed against the armed forces, security services and the police, as well as against religious sites. The regional focus of terrorist attacks with the highest number of victims is in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the FATA tribal areas and in Balochistan.
In 2015, numerous attacks on Shiite places of worship and Christian churches as well as members of the religious minority of the Ismailis killed numerous people.
There were also attacks on markets, infrastructure facilities and public buildings with civilian deaths, including in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, at the Indian-Pakistani border crossing Wagah near Lahore and in Peshawar.
In Karachi there are domestic, religious, ethnic or criminally motivated attacks and clashes between terrorist or criminal groups and security forces.
Business trips to Karachi should be carried out with the support or accompaniment of local partners who are familiar with the area. Accordingly, z. B. Short stays by scientists and artists from local universities, research institutions or the Goethe Institute are supported.
You should refrain from visiting remote city districts. In general, it is advisable for visitors to coordinate their travel plans closely with the local partners or with the German Consulate General in Karachi. There is also a high crime risk in inner Sindh.
Travel over land
You are warned against traveling to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (formerly the Northwest Frontier Province NWFP), in particular to Peshawar and the Swat Valley, as well as to the tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan (Federally Administered Tribal Areas, FATA). In FATA in particular, armed clashes between the military and militant groups as well as targeted military attacks against shelters, weapons depots, training centers and other facilities of militant groups continue. Large parts of these areas are closed to foreigners.
In 2014, planes were shot at by strangers several times as they approached Peshawar Airport. One person was killed and two others injured. It is therefore expressly warned against traveling to Peshawar by air.
In Gilgit-Baltistan, the former Northern Areas, conflicts between Shiites and Sunnis occasionally lead to violent clashes. Foreigners have not been the target of these groups so far, but they can be endangered in rioting.
In June 2013, ten foreign climbers and a Pakistani companion were murdered by terrorists in a base camp leading to Nanga Parbat. Since then, the security measures taken by the Pakistani government to protect foreign tourists in the Nanga Parbat region and other parts of Gilgit-Baltistan have been significantly increased. The Federal Foreign Office advises you to obtain comprehensive information about the current security situation from the Pakistani tour operators and authorities before traveling to Gilgit-Baltistan.
For safety reasons, travel to the mountainous north of Pakistan should preferably be made by air (Gilgit and Skardu airports); However, the flight connections can be short-term weather-related, z. Sometimes fail over several days.
Warnings are given against traveling to Balochistan. Insurgent and separatist forces attack infrastructure facilities and army forces and carry out explosive attacks. Army and air force take action against the insurgents. Sunni anti-Iranian insurgents operate in the border area with Iran. Activities by the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban are also being observed in Balochistan. In addition, there are religiously motivated attacks to which Shiites in particular fall victim. In Quetta, the attacks are often directed against the Hazaras.
The border areas with Afghanistan, Iran and India are not accessible or only accessible with official permission. This also applies to the part of Kashmir administered by Pakistan (Azad Jammu and Kashmir) along the Armistice Line (Line of Control, LoC) and to other regions of the country. Overland travelers should find out in advance from the Pakistani authorities whether they need to apply for an official non-objection certificate for their travel route or their travel destination. In the recent past, travelers staying in such areas without a permit have been repeatedly detained for several days. The Federal Foreign Office has issued a travel warning for Afghanistan.
Due to the risk of kidnapping in the Iranian-Pakistani border area and the existing travel warning for the province of Balochistan, people are expressly warned against entering and leaving the country via the Pakistani land border with Iran.
The German Embassy Islamabad does not issue any letters of recommendation in connection with obtaining visas for the aforementioned countries. Appropriate visas should be obtained from the diplomatic missions of these countries in Germany before starting your journey.
The border crossing to India (Wagah / Atari between Lahore and Amritsar) is open, as is the direct transit route there. Taking a vehicle with you when crossing the border usually requires a separate permit.
The German Embassy in Islamabad and the German Consulate General in Karachi are available for further information.