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Pakistan travel guide

About Pakistan

From the ancient Mughal city of Lahore to the snow-capped peaks of the Karakoram Mountains, Pakistan is a diverse nation defined not just by its natural beauty and architectural splendours, but by its friendly inhabitants, varied wildlife and rich culinary traditions.

Shame then, that political instability and sectarian violence has made large parts of the country a no-go for tourists, and prevented Pakistan from realising its potential as a top travel destination.

However, those daring enough to take a punt on Pakistan will be richly rewarded for their endeavours – particularly those with a penchant for the great outdoors. The North-West Frontier Province and Gilgit-Baltistan region are home to some of the world’s most famous mountain ranges, including Himalaya, Karakoram and Hindu Kush.

That explorers will have these sights more or less to themselves is another boon; gone are the well-marked routes and tea houses of India and Nepal, here lies real adventure.

From jaw-dropping mountain scenery to bustling conurbations, Pakistan’s vibrant cities each have their own distinct flavour. The super-sleek capital, Islamabad, is a modern metropolis bristling with contemporary architecture, world-class cultural attractions and some of the country’s finest restaurants.

Lahore is the very antithesis to Islamabad. Pakistan’s cultural capital, this ancient city abounds with UNESCO listed attractions, stunning shrines and ornate Mughal architecture. Its old town is a maze of bustling bazaars, which harbour mosques, museums and manicured gardens.

Karachi, the former capital and the economic powerhouse of the country, is a mega-city in every sense of the word, cramming 15 million or so into its boundaries. Meanwhile, Peshawar, in the North-West Frontier Province, remains a frontier town, sometimes dangerous and always intriguing.

Those seeking sun and seclusion, should explore Pakistan’s glorious coastline, which is home to some of the most pristine, crowd-free beaches in South Asia. While those looking to evoke the spirit a Kipling-style adventure should follow the ancient trade routes of the Khyber Pass, Grand Trunk Road and Karakoram Highway.

All of this and more lies in Pakistan, and all remains accessible to the more adventurous tourist.

Key facts

Area:

796,095 sq km (307,374 sq miles).

Population:

192,826,502 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

250.1 per sq km.

Capital:

Islamabad.

Government:

Federal Republic.

Head of state:

President Arif Alvi since 2018.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Anwarul Haq Kakar since 2023.

Travel Advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

Areas where FCDO advises against travel

Your travel insurance could be invalidated if you travel against FCDO advice.

Pakistan-Afghanistan border

FCDO advises against all travel to within 10 miles of the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province

FCDO advises against all travel to these areas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province: 

  • Bajaur 
  • Bannu 
  • Buner 
  • Chārsadda
  • Dera Ismail Khan 
  • Khyber 
  • Kohat 
  • Kurram 
  • Lakki Marwat 
  • Lower Dir 
  • Mohmand 
  • Orakzai 
  • Peshawar, including the city of Peshawar 
  • Swat 
  • Tank 
  • North Waziristan
  • Upper South Waziristan 
  • Lower South Waziristan  
  • the Karakoram Highway between Mansehra and Chilas via Battagram, Besham City, Dasu and Sazin up to the junction with the N15  
  • the N45 Highway, from the north of the Mardan ring road, to the edge of Chitral City

Balochistan Province

FCDO advises against all travel to Balochistan Province, except the southern coast of Balochistan. 

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the southern coast of Balochistan. That is the: 

  • area south of (and including) the N10 motorway  
  • section of the N25 from the N10/N25 intersection to the Balochistan-Sindh border, including the port city of Gwadar

Pakistan-administered Kashmir 

FCDO advises against all travel to within 10 miles of the Line of Control.

Sindh Province  

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to all areas of Sindh Province north of and including the city of Nawabshah.

Find out more about why FCDO advises against travel to these regions.

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide as well as support for British nationals abroad which includes: 

  • advice on preparing for travel abroad and reducing risks 
  • information for women, LGBT+ and disabled travellers 

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated. 

Travel insurance 

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency. 

This advice reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel. 

The authorities in Pakistan set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Pakistan High Commission in London or nearest Pakistani consulate.

COVID-19 rules 

Travel to Pakistan 

There are no COVID-19 vaccination requirements for travellers entering Pakistan. 

On 3 January, owing to a rising number of cases in some countries, the Government of Pakistan announced that 2% of passengers arriving on international flights will be randomly selected and tested for COVID-19. Anyone who tests positive will be advised to self-isolate for five days.

Leaving Pakistan 

Do not travel to the airport if you have COVID-19 symptoms. You may be thermal scanned or asked to a take COVID-19 rapid antigen test. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, you may be: 

  • prevented from flying 
  • asked to self-isolate for 5 days 
  • referred to a medical facility 

Public activities  

There are no COVID-19 restrictions on public activities. Wearing a face mask in public is encouraged.  

Testing positive for COVID-19 in Pakistan 

Take a test if you have symptoms or if you may have been exposed to COVID-19.  

If you test positive, you must self-isolate for 5 days. After that, you should then wear a face mask for 5 days. 

Passport validity requirements 

To avoid problems at immigration, make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months from the date of your visa application. 

Contact Pakistan’s High Commission in the UK if you think that your passport does not meet this requirement. 

Visa requirements 

You will need a visa to enter or travel through Pakistan. For information on how to apply, see the Government of Pakistan’s online visa information

Visas for journalists often have extra travel restrictions. Follow the terms of your visa, or you could be fined or detained.  

Returning to the UK 

You must have a valid visa, a Pakistani national identity card or a valid Pakistani passport to leave.  

If you are travelling on a British passport and your visa has expired, you may not be allowed to board your flight unless you have a visa extension or an exit visa. Contact the Ministry of Interior or see the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports for information on visa extensions and exit visas. 

Citizens of Pakistan overseas 

If you hold a valid National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) or Smart National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (SNICOP) you can enter Pakistan without a visa and stay for an unlimited period. For more information see the website of Pakistan’s High Commission in the UK

Travelling with children 

If you’re travelling with a child as a single parent or are not the child’s parent, you may need to provide documentary evidence of parental responsibility before leaving Pakistan. This is particularly likely if the child is of Pakistani origin. 

Travelling through Pakistan 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises against travel to most of the Pakistan-Afghanistan and Pakistan-Iran border areas. FCDO advises against all travel to Afghanistan and Iran.  

Pakistan-Afghanistan border 

All borders with Afghanistan can close at short notice. There has been overcrowding and violence at open border crossings. 

The Torkham border crossing with Afghanistan is open to people with valid passports and Pakistan visas. You can apply for a visa on the Ministry of Interior website.  

Illegal entry to Pakistan is a serious offence. If you cross from Afghanistan without the correct documentation you may be detained or deported. If you do enter Pakistan illegally, you will not be able to travel onward from Pakistan.  

Vaccination requirements  

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the vaccinations and certificates you need in TravelHealthPro’s Pakistan guide.  

Depending on your circumstances, these may include: 

  • proof of polio vaccination 
  • a yellow fever vaccination certificate 

Health screening (other than COVID-19) 

Mpox 

Due to recent cases of mpox (monkeypox) in 2023 there may be enhanced screening and preventative measures when you enter Pakistan. 

Read more about mpox on TravelHealthPro.  

Customs rules 

There are strict rules about goods that can be brought into and taken out of Pakistan. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty. 

Alcohol and pork 

Importing alcohol or pork products is illegal. You could be detained if you try to import them. 

You should also read FCDO’s overall travel advice and regional risks advice.

Terrorism

There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.  

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad

Terrorism in Pakistan

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Pakistan.

There is a high threat of terrorism and sectarian violence throughout Pakistan. Read our advice on regional risks in Pakistan for more information.  

Terrorist groups operating in Pakistan include: 

  • Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) 
  • Tehreek-e Jihad Pakistan (TJP)  
  • Balochistan separatists 
  • Islamic Sate Khorasan Province (ISKP)  
  • al-Qa’ida 

Terrorist groups mainly target Government of Pakistan security forces. Areas of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including Peshawar, suffer regular terrorist attacks. However, terrorist attacks could be indiscriminate and occur without warning, including in popular destinations frequented by foreign nationals. 

While terrorist attacks are mainly directed against the Pakistani state, attacks could be indiscriminate and occur without warning, including in places visited by foreigners, such as: 

  • Pakistani government personnel and institutions 
  • security and police force locations
  • political rallies, events and demonstrations  
  • places of worship, including churches and religious sites, and religious processions 
  • infrastructure projects
  • hotels, restaurants and shopping areas
  • courts and diplomatic premises
  • airports and public transport 
  • schools and educational institutions 
  • hiking trails
  • sports and live music events
  • densely populated and unsecured areas 

Take particular care during periods of national or religious significance, including the month of Ramadan, and during election periods. 

Advice for travellers 

There may be increases in security force presence and restrictions on movement may be put in place at short notice. Stay aware of your surroundings, keep up to date with local media reports and follow the advice of local authorities. You should: 

  • keep a low profile 
  • minimise your exposure to areas and events that post a higher risk  
  • avoid large organised gatherings, such as public protests, religious gatherings and processions, and political rallies 
  • vary your routes and timings if you make regular journeys 
  • limit movements on Friday afternoons 
  • avoid large crowds of people and public events 
  • be prepared to change your plans as necessary  

Terrorist kidnap 

There is a threat of kidnap throughout Pakistan, particularly within the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces. However, terrorist groups are unlikely to prioritise the kidnap of Westerners in Pakistan. Any kidnap of a foreigner by terrorist groups in Pakistan would likely be opportunistic. 

British nationals are seen as legitimate targets, including tourists, humanitarian aid workers, journalists and business travellers. If you are kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to protect you or secure your safe release.  

The long-standing policy of the British government policy is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners builds the capability of terrorist groups and finances their activities. This can, in turn, increase the risk of further hostage-taking. The Terrorism Act (2000) makes payments to terrorists illegal.

Political situation

Nationwide elections were held on 8 February. Although campaigning has taken place, political rallies and demonstrations may take place across the country. Previous experience shows that these have the potential to turn violent and could lead to clashes with law enforcement authorities. During previous elections, terrorists have targeted security forces, political events, rallies, government buildings and polling stations.

You should:

  • avoid all political demonstrations, large crowds of people and public events  
  • be prepared to change your plans as necessary 
  • keep track of the local news 

Public demonstrations are common. Protests can occur with little warning. Most are peaceful, but they can turn violent quickly.  

Travelling around Pakistan 

Pakistan authorities advise all foreigners (including diplomats) not to move out of their place of residence without proper security and co-ordination with the law enforcement agency. This is not rigorously enforced, but consider telling local authorities about any travel plans. There are a number of prohibited areas across the country. Officials could stop you and ask you to turn back. 

When travelling in Pakistan, you or your travel company should contact the local authorities of your destination in advance to check the local security situation. They may arrange police protection. They will also tell you if you need a No Objection Certificate from the Pakistani Ministry of Interior. 

Take safety precautions, keep a low profile and choose your accommodation carefully.

Crime 

Protecting your belongings 

Street crime is a risk. Take sensible measures to protect yourself and your belongings, particularly on public transport, in crowded areas and when travelling to and from the airport.  

Be cautious when moving around urban areas at night, especially when on foot. 

British nationals of Pakistani origin have been targeted by criminals, including kidnappers, as they are often perceived as being wealthier than locals. 

There is an active black market in forged and stolen passports. Credit card fraud is common. Be aware of scams.

Lawlessness  

Much of Balochistan, northern Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have a high level of lawlessness.

Laws and cultural differences  

Pakistan is a Muslim country. Respect the local traditions, customs and laws. Make sure your actions do not cause offence. 

Standards of public behaviour differ between the UK and Pakistan. Behaviour that might be acceptable in the UK can cause offence in Pakistan. Being considerate of others is important in Pakistani culture. Loud or rowdy behaviour in public is likely to attract a negative response.

Personal ID 

You may be asked to show photo ID. You are advised to carry some form of photo ID at all times. 

Ramadan  

Ramadan, also called Ramazan in Pakistan, is a holy month for Muslims. The dates vary by year and country. In 2024, Ramadan in Pakistan begins in early March and lasts for approximately 30 days. During this time, do not:  

  • eat, drink, smoke or chew gum in public in the daytime, including in your car  
  • play loud music or dance  
  • swear in public  

Get more advice when you arrive from your tour guide, hotel or business contacts.  

You should also:  

  • check opening hours of shops and restaurants  
  • be aware that if hotels and restaurants are providing food or drink in fasting hours, they may separate you from Islamic guests, for example with screens  
  • follow local dress codes – clothing that does not meet local dress codes may cause more offence at this time  
  • be aware that fasting can cause tiredness  
  • be aware that driving may be unpredictable, particularly when people are trying to get home at dusk  
  • be patient and show tolerance 

Dress 

Dress modestly. Men and women should cover their shoulders and legs in public. Women should cover their heads when entering mosques and holy places, and in rural areas. 

Blasphemy 

Insulting or showing disrespect or contempt of religion, religious beliefs or anything considered sacred (blasphemy) is illegal. Blasphemy has a broad definition in Pakistani law. It includes public and private comments in any form, including on social media.

There are significant criminal penalties, including the death penalty. Those accused of blasphemy are at significant risk of violence from the public. Both Muslims and religious minorities have been victims of blasphemy accusations and violence, including killings.  

Be sensitive to religious beliefs and behave appropriately.  

Death penalty 

The death penalty is used for crimes including blasphemy, murder, rape and drug trafficking. 

Alcohol laws and bans 

Drinking alcohol is illegal for Muslims. Non-Muslims are allowed to drink in Pakistan, but you must get a licence from the authorities. It is also illegal for non-Muslims to supply alcohol to Muslims. Public drinking and drunkenness are illegal and can lead to detention. 

Illegal drugs and prison sentences 

You can be imprisoned for possession of even small quantities of illegal drugs. British nationals have been arrested on drug trafficking charges and have been detained for long periods while their case is in the Pakistan legal system. The death penalty can be used for drug trafficking. 

Photography 

Do not take photographs at military establishments, airports or any infrastructure (including bridges and dams) or from aircraft. British nationals have been arrested on suspicion of ‘spying’. Check with officials if you’re not sure whether you can take a photo.  

You should not take photos of people without seeking prior permission. 

LGBT+ travellers 

Same-sex relationships are illegal. Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers

Relationships 

It is illegal for unmarried couples to live together. 

Dual nationals  

If you or your parents were born in Pakistan, you might be considered a Pakistani national by the local authorities even if you do not hold a Pakistani passport. In this case, the British government may not be able to provide full consular assistance if you need it.

The National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) and Smart National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (SNICOP) are issued to citizens of Pakistan who are not resident in Pakistan. If you hold either, you will be recognised as a citizen of Pakistan.

If you are a dual British and Pakistani national living or travelling in the country of your other nationality, we would not normally support you or get involved in dealings between you and that country’s authorities. Read more about who the FCDO can support abroad, including information for dual nationals.

Transport risks  

Road travel  

If you are planning to drive in Pakistan, see information on driving abroad

You need either a 1968 international driving permit (IDP) or a UK driving licence to drive in Pakistan. The 1926 IDP is not accepted any more. You cannot buy an IDP outside the UK, so get one before you travel. You can buy an IDP in person from some UK post offices – find your nearest post office branch that offers this service. 

Road safety 

Outside of the major motorways, the quality of roads is variable. Road conditions can be poor and there is a risk of carjacking. Local driving standards are erratic, especially at night. Take care on long road journeys and when travelling cross-country.  

The north of Pakistan is mountainous. Many roads, including the N15 highway between Chilas and Babusar in Gilgit Baltistan, are inaccessible at some times of the year due to extreme weather conditions. Many roads in these remote areas are of very poor quality with uneven surfaces. Landslides frequently block or destroy roads. Use experienced local drivers when travelling these routes and only in clear weather conditions. 

Taxis 

Avoid using street or e-taxis. Only use taxis from reputable, licensed companies where you call for a taxi and the operator contacts a taxi driver. 

Public transport 

Due to the level of crime, avoid using public transport, including the Metro Bus between Rawalpindi and Islamabad. 

Air travel 

The UK Air Safety List (ASL) lists all known airlines in Pakistan that do not meet international safety standards and are banned from operating commercial air services to, from, and within the UK. Check the UK Air Safety List when considering which airlines to fly with. The list is maintained by the Department for Transport, based on advice from the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

Flights to and from the mountainous areas in the north of Pakistan are frequently delayed or cancelled due to extreme weather.  

Rail travel 

Avoid using the railway network due to the risk of terrorist attacks and derailments. 

Sea travel 

The threat from piracy within Pakistan’s territorial waters is low. There is a significant threat of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and other parts of the Indian Ocean. Mariners should follow shipping industry guidelines on precautions to take.

Extreme weather and natural disasters 

Monitor local and international weather updates from the Pakistan Meteorological Department and see weather advisories from the National Disaster Management Authority

Monsoon 

The monsoon season in Pakistan is from late June to early October. Heavy rains can cause severe flooding, particularly in Sindh and Punjab provinces. 

Landslides 

Check local forecasts from the Pakistan Meteorological Department and be aware of the risk of landslides and road blockages, particularly in hilly and mountainous regions. Take extreme care crossing swollen rivers. 

Flooding  

Pakistan recently experienced flooding and landslides. Roads and bridges have been damaged or destroyed, affecting travel in many parts of the country. More information is available from the National Disaster Management Authority

Earthquakes 

Earth tremors are common. Read advice on what to do before, during and after an earthquake from the US Federal Emergency Management Agency.

This section has safety advice for regions of Pakistan. It only covers regions where The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has specific advice.

You should also read FCDO’s overall travel advice and safety and security advice.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province

FCDO advises against all travel to these districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province:

  • Bajaur
  • Bannu
  • Buner
  • Chārsadda
  • Dera Ismail Khan
  • Khyber
  • Kohat
  • Kurram
  • Lakki Marwat
  • Lower Dir
  • Mohmand
  • Orakzai
  • Peshawar, including the city of Peshawar
  • Swat
  • Tank
  • North Waziristan
  • Upper South Waziristan
  • Lower South Waziristan

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to:

  • Arandu town
  • the road between Mirkhani and Arandu

FCDO advises against all travel to much of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province because of military or militant activity in many of the districts. There is frequent militant violence in the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Local curfews could be imposed at short notice. There can be cross-border attacks in the surrounding areas of Arandu to the south and west of Chitral.

N45 Highway between Mardan and Chitral

FCDO advises against all travel on the N45 Highway, from the north of the Mardan ring road, to the edge of the city of Chitral because of terrorism incidents.

Balochistan Province

FCDO advises against all travel to Balochistan Province, except the southern coast of Balochistan.

The situation at the Pakistan-Iran border can be extremely tense. In January both Iran and Pakistan conducted missile and drone strikes targeting militant groups on either side of the border.

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the southern coast of Balochistan. That is:

  • the area south of (and including) the N10 motorway
  • the section of the N25 from the N10/N25 intersection to the Balochistan-Sindh border, including the port city of Gwadar

There is a high risk from kidnapping and militant activity in much of Balochistan. If you plan to visit the southern coast of Balochistan, get permission from the authorities and have security arrangements in place.

Pakistan-administered Kashmir

FCDO advises against all travel to within 10 miles of the India-Pakistan border area within Pakistan-administered Kashmir, known as the Line of Control.

There is regular military activity on the Line of Control. Although there is a ceasefire in place, there are significant tensions between India and Pakistan. There is a serious risk of small arms fire and occasional mortar fire.

Make sure you have the necessary permissions to travel. Check the latest requirements before you travel as they can change.

Sindh province

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to all areas of Sindh province north of and including the city of Nawabshah.

There are high levels of lawlessness in the north of Sindh province. There is a very high risk of crime and kidnapping. Criminal gangs and bandits with access to heavy weaponry are active in the area. In 2022, a large criminal gang attacked police in Ghotki, northern Sindh, killing several officers and taking other officers hostage.

Gilgit-Baltistan region

Flight schedules schedules to Gilgit and Skardu Airports in the North of Pakistan may be unreliable and may change at short notice. You should consult your airline or travel agent.

Road routes are also likely to be restricted by seasonal weather, with the Babusar Pass liable to close due to snowfall.

The terrain in Gilgit-Baltistan is mountainous, with remote and isolated locations that are difficult to police. You are strongly advised to get local security advice and make appropriate personal security arrangements before you visit.

All foreign nationals must register with the local authorities when visiting Gilgit-Baltistan. You might need a permit for mountaineering or trekking, in particular for mountains over 6,000 metres. The permission process can take up to 2 months and is best organised through a travel company. The validity of your travel insurance policy may be affected if you do not have the correct permits.

Use reputable trekking agencies, stay on established routes, and always walk in groups. Do not trek alone.

Karakoram Highway (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan)

The Karakoram Highway runs from Hasan Abdal in north Punjab towards Gilgit and the Chinese border. FCDO advises against all travel on the Highway between Mansehra and Chilas via Battagram, Besham City, Dasu and Sazin up to the junction with the N15.

Avoid travelling on the Highway at night, as the road can be narrow with steep drops. All sections of the Highway north of Battagram up to the Chinese border have experienced landslides.

Islamabad

Police and security agencies have a significant presence in Islamabad. Exercise caution in the outlying districts, such as I-8, I-9, I-10 and areas further west, where security forces have led operations against suspected criminals and terrorists.

Avoid all protests. Crowded areas such as the Red Mosque (Lal Masjid) and Aabpara Market in G-6 have been a focal point for protests.

Karachi

Levels of violence can vary. The safety of daily activity can be unpredictable. Criminal and political violence is common, including armed carjacking, robbery, kidnap and murder. Strikes called by religious and political parties can cause significant disruption and sometimes lead to violent civil unrest. Smaller-scale labour strikes are also common and cause regular disruptions locally.

There is a risk of violence in parts of the city which include government offices. Major hotels and the financial district are generally seen as more stable, though there remains a risk of violence, particularly after Friday prayers.

You should:

  • plan any travel in the city carefully
  • take advice from hosts or trusted contacts, follow instructions from law enforcement officers and be prepared to cancel or cut back your plans
  • be especially vigilant in Lyari, Malir, Quaidabad and Orangi Town – they have a greater risk of violence based on past activity

There’s a high threat of terrorism throughout Pakistan, including Karachi. Attacks in Karachi have included:

  • February 2023 – militants attacked a police station in the city killing police officers
  • 2022 – a suicide bomb at the University of Karachi targeted Chinese nationals and killed 4 people
  • public service and health officials have been attacked while working on health programmes

Lahore

Lahore is the capital of Punjab and attracts large numbers of tourists and business travellers. While the city has a widespread police presence, there have been recent terrorist attacks. These have targeted public places and government or security forces. Avoid religious events or gatherings, public events and large crowds of people.

Punjab

If you travel to southern Punjab take advice about the local security situation in advance. There is a high level of crime and public order incidents.

Border areas

Except for official border crossing points, foreigners are not allowed to travel within certain distances of Pakistan’s international borders. This includes:

  • travel to within 5 miles of Pakistan’s border with India and within 10 miles of the Line of Control
  • 10 miles of the border with China
  • 10 miles of the border with Afghanistan

If you travel to these areas you may be arrested and detained.

The situation for border crossings between Afghanistan and Pakistan may change rapidly due to the security situation in Afghanistan. The FCDO advises against all travel to Afghanistan or within 10 miles of the Afghan border as well as Pakistan’s Balochistan Province and a number of districts in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province.

Before you travel check that: 

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need 
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation 

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number 

Dial 1122 and ask for an ambulance. 

Contact your insurance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment. 

Vaccinations and health risks 

At least 8 weeks before your trip check: 

Polio vaccination programme 

Pakistan is rolling out a widespread Polio vaccination programme in an effort to eradicate Polio. You should provide proof of Polio vaccination if asked by a vaccination team. Any exemption due to a medical condition needs to be supported by a medical certificate issued by recognised health authority  

Altitude sickness 

Altitude sickness is a risk in parts of Pakistan, including Gilgit-Baltistan. Read more about altitude sickness on TravelHealthPro

Bottled water 

Take care when buying bottled water and follow advice on TravelHealthPro. A recent Pakistan government report on bottled water found that a number of bottled water brands were contaminated. 

Medication 

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries. 

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro

The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad

Medical supplies may be difficult to find in Pakistan due to restrictions on imported goods.   

Healthcare facilities in Pakistan 

FCDO has a list of English-speaking doctors in Pakistan

The standard of local medical facilities is lower than in the UK, especially in remote areas. Private medical care is expensive but available in all major cities. Specialised treatment for psychiatric illnesses may not be available outside major cities.  

COVID-19 healthcare in Pakistan 

Contact the COVID-19 helpline on 1166 if you have symptoms.

Travel and mental health 

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel. 

Emergency services in Pakistan  

Telephone: 1122 (ambulance, fire) 

Police: 15 

Contact your travel provider and insurer 

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do. 

Refunds and changes to travel 

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first. 

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including: 

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider 
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim 

Support from FCDO 

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including: 

Contacting FCDO 

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated. 

Help abroad in an emergency 

If you are abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission

You can also contact FCDO online.  

FCDO in London 

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad. 

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours) 

Find out about call charges 

Risk information for British companies  

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks. 

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