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Is it safe for to travel in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad?

Is it safe for to travel in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad?

Postby metic » Tue 15 Oct 2013 16:25 GMT

I am British and am due to make a business trip to Pakistan in November and will spend a week each in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, mainly in the city areas.

My company is telling me that I will need to travel with an armed guard and that I should never leave my hotel alone when not working (ie evenings and weekends).

Is this sensible advice or is it overkill? I was hoping to see something of the country - for example to visit the local markets. Is it really dangerous to take a taxi and maybe visit a bazaar or perhaps walk to the local shops.

I would appreciate the advice of anyone on the ground....
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Postby Dave » Wed 16 Oct 2013 12:20 GMT

Hi, and welcome.

First of all, I should stress that I'm not on the ground (in fact, I've never been to Pakistan myself) and Kay hasn't been there for over 20 years (she was based in Peshawar but visited other places from time to time), so no doubt there have been quite a few changes since then.

As a starting point, it might be worth your while looking at the travel advice produced by the various diplomatic missions in Pakistan. Here's a link to the British Government's advice:

GOV.UK: Foreign travel advice: Pakistan: Safety and security

When reading official advice it's worth bearing in mind that:

(a) not all governments read the same situation in the same way - after all, different nationalities may face different threats. While Kay was in Pakistan during the 1991 Gulf War the US Government evacuated non-essential staff and families as a result of increased tensions; meanwhile the British High Commission in Islamabad was content to "monitor the situation".

(b) governments have a certain duty of care towards their citizens, and have to tread a fine line between exposing them to too much risk (in which case there's a public outcry if things turn nasty) and being over-cautious (in which case there are complaints about lost earnings from would-be traders in their own country and from the other country's tourist industry). They don't always get it right, and they tend to err on the side of caution - better to lose business than lives.

Ultimately you have to judge for yourself - and the best way of doing that is by doing what you're currently trying to do, ie gathering information from as many informed sources as possible. Good luck. 8-)
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