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Pakistan

If you’re travelling to Pakistan, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Overview

Security status

We advise you to avoid non-essential travel.

We advise against all travel to:

  • the Federally Administered Tribal Areas
  • the districts of Charsadda, Kohat, Tank, Bannu, Lakki, Dera Ismail Khan, Swat, Buner and Lower Dir in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
  • the city of Peshawar and districts south of the city, including travel on the Peshawar to Chitral road via the Lowari Pass
  • northern and western Balochistan
  • travel on the Karakoram Highway between Islamabad and Gilgit

Emergency Assistance

Because there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in Pakistan, we’re limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Honorary Consul in Karachi or the Irish Embassy in New Delhi.

We suggest you learn as much as you can about Pakistan before your trip from travel agents, tour operators and guide books. The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems when you’re in Pakistan try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

Other EU embassies

You can contact the Embassies and Consulates of other EU countries represented in Pakistan for emergency consular assistance, advice and support.

Our tips for safe travels

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates
  • Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide

Safety and security

Personal ID

You should carry photographic ID at all times

Unrest

The security situation in Pakistan is unstable and dangerous.

Sectarian violence

There is an ongoing threat of sectarian (Shia-Sunni) violence particularly in Baluchistan and North West Frontier Province and you should be cautious during Islamic festivals and on Friday in the vicinity of mosques.

Demonstrations

Avoid political demonstrations and large crowds assembled for political or religious purposes as there is a risk that these gatherings may turn violent. Keep yourself informed of what is going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your local contact, hotel or tour organiser.

Terrorism

There is a high risk of terrorism in Pakistan. In addition to an established pattern of terrorist attacks on military and Government installations, there have been a lot of indiscriminate terrorist attacks on public places and these have resulted in large numbers of casualties. Locations frequented by Western nationals - hotels, restaurants, shopping centres and diplomatic Missions – have been targeted.

Kidnapping

The threat of kidnap of foreign nationals across Pakistan remains high. Kidnappers don’t discriminate between nationalities or religions so you should follow these basic precautions:

  • Get advice from your local contacts about staying safe
  • Avoid travelling at night, particularly inter-city
  • Avoid travelling alone
  • When driving, ensure all car doors are locked
  • Vary your routes and departure times – avoid patterns which could be tracked
  • Pay careful attention to local media for reports of kidnapping activities

Crime

Crime levels in Pakistan are high, especially in Karachi and much of Baluchistan, rural Sindh and the North West Frontier Province, including the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas and Agencies, have a high incidence of lawlessness. You should be very careful and confident of your personal security arrangements throughout your visit.

Violent crime

Criminal violence, including armed car-jacking, robbery, kidnap and murder, is common in Pakistan, especially in Karachi. Travellers have also been offered drugged food and then robbed. Always be aware of the risks and take personal security precautions.

Reporting a crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Pakistan, report it to the local police immediately. You can also contact the Honorary Consul if you need help.

Driving

If you are planning to drive in Pakistan, you should be extremely careful. Local driving standards are erratic, especially at night, road conditions are poor and there is a risk of car-jacking. Take particular care on long road journeys and when travelling cross-country.

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Muslim culture

Pakistan is an Islamic state and you should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions. Dress conservatively; men and women should cover their shoulders and legs when in public. Women should cover their heads when entering mosques or other holy places, and when travelling in more rural areas.

Ramadan

Always be aware of your actions and take care not to offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or other religious festivals, or if you intend to visit religious areas.

During Ramadan, Muslims are not permitted to eat, drink or smoke during daylight hours. To avoid offence, you should not eat, drink or smoke in public during this time.

In 2017, the holy month of Ramadan is expected to start at sundown on 26 May and finish on 25 June.

LGBT

Homosexuality is illegal. We advise caution and discretion at all times.

Co-habitation

Co-habitation by an unmarried couple is also illegal.

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including prison terms. Drug smuggling can attract the death penalty.

Forbidden products

It is illegal to import alcohol and pork products.

Photography

We advise you not to take photographs at military establishments, airports or any infrastructure, including bridges and dams or from aircraft.

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

If you are unsure of the entry requirements for Pakistan, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Pakistan.

Your passport must have six months validity.

Passports

It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times.

Travelling with children

A single parent or other adult who is not the child’s parent may need to provide documentary evidence of parental responsibility, particularly if the child is of Pakistani origin, before the immigration authorities will allow the child to leave the country.

Health

Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Pakistan.

Polio vaccination is recommended for all travellers from Ireland to countries where polio transmission is a risk. Before travelling to areas where poliomyelitis cases are still occurring, travellers should ensure that they have completed the recommended age-appropriate polio vaccine schedule and have received a booster dose, if necessary. More information is available on the Health Protection and Surveillance Centre website.

More travel advice

Because we do not have an Embassy or Consulate in Pakistan, we cannot give up-to-date travel advice.

But you can visit these foreign ministries for more detailed information: