Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Country-specific safety instructions / partial travel warning Before traveling to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly North West Frontier Province, NWFP), in the tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan (the so-called. Federally Administered Tribal Areas, FATA) and Balochistan to be warned. Nationwide, there is a danger of political and religious violence. Traveling to Pakistan should be a safe and secure way to travel to Pakistan. In addition, the Pakistani authorities or travel agencies should ask which areas are blocked for tourists. Travelers must, moreover, reckon with regular checks, sometimes with short-term travel restrictions. In principle, travelers should keep away from religious gatherings, processions and ceremonies, from larger gatherings of people, political demonstrations, and especially on Fridays and high Islamic holidays. The same applies to military and security forces. When visiting facilities with international public transport and well-known meeting points of foreigners, special caution is advised.

Abductions In Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA is an increased risk of being kidnapped. Lastly, in May 2014, a Chinese bicycle tour operator in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and in March 2013 in Balochistan two Czech tourists who were landed by Iran on land to Pakistan were abducted. In other parts of the country (Lahore, South-Punjab) there have been abductions of foreigners. terrorism The threat of terrorist attacks by the Pakistani Taliban and the Taliban-linked groups, particularly explosives and suicide bombs, remains high in Pakistan. There is also the danger of religiously motivated terrorist attacks by radical groups, mainly against the armed forces, security services and the police as well as against religious sites. The regional focus of terrorist attacks with the most victims is in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the tribal areas of FATA and in Baluchistan.

In 2015 numerous people were killed in several attacks on Shiite worship sites and on Christian churches as well as on members of the religious minority of the Ismailites. There were also attacks on markets, infrastructure facilities and public buildings with death sacrifices among the civilian population, including in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, at the Indian-Pakistani border crossing at Wagah near Lahore and Peshawar. Karachi In Karachi there are domestic, religious, ethnic or criminal motivated attacks and clashes of terrorist or criminal groups with security forces. Business trips to Karachi should be carried out with the assistance of local partner. For example, short stays by scientists and artists should be supervised by local universities, research institutions or the Goethe Institute. The visit of remote city districts should be disregarded. In general, visitors are advised to closely coordinate their travel plans with local partners or with the German Consul General in Karachi. There is also a risk of high crime in the inner world. Traveling over land Before traveling to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly North West Frontier Province NWFP), particularly to Peshawar and in the Swat Valley, and in the tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan (Federally Administered Tribal Areas, FATA) is warned. In FATA, in particular, there are armed conflicts between the military and militant groups as well as targeted military strikes against shelters, armaments camps, training centers and other facilities of militant groups.

Large parts of these areas are closed to foreigners. In 2014 several airplanes were shot at the landing at Peshawar airport by unknown people. One person was killed and two others were injured. It is therefore expressly warned not to travel by air to Peshawar. In Gilgit-Baltistan, the former Northern Areas, conflicts between Shiites and Sunnis occasionally lead to violent clashes. Foreigners have so far not been the target of these groups, but they can be jeopardized in the event of riots. In June 2013, ten foreign mountaineers and a Pakistani escort were murdered by terrorists in a Basiscamp leading to Nanga Parbat. Since then, the security measures of the Pakistani government for the protection of foreign tourists in the region around Nanga Parbat and in other parts of Gilgit-Baltistan have been significantly strengthened. The German Foreign Office advises to inform the Pakistani travel agencies and authorities about the current security situation before traveling to Gilgit-Baltistan. Traveling in the mountainous north of Pakistan should preferably be carried out by air (Airports Gilgit and Skardu) for safety reasons; However, the flight connections may temporarily fail due to weather conditions, in some cases over several days.

Visits must be checked before traveling. Insurgent and separatist forces are attacking infrastructure facilities and armies, and are making explosive attacks. The army and the Luftwaffe are attacking the insurgents. In the border area to Iran, Sunni anti-Iranian insurgents operate. Afghan and Pakistani Taliban activities are also being observed in Balochistan. There are also religiously motivated attacks, which are particularly victims of Shiites. In Quetta, the attacks are often directed against the people of the Hazaras. The border areas to Afghanistan, Iran and India are not accessible or can only be accessed with official approval. This is also the case for the Pakistan-administered part-cashmere (Azad Jammu and Kashmir) along the ceasefire line (Line of Control, LoC) and for other regions the country. Overland travelers should check with the Pakistani authorities before deciding whether to apply for a non-objection certificate for their travel route or travel destination. In the recent past, travelers who have been without permission in such areas have been repeatedly detained for several days. For Afghanistan there is a travel warning of the Foreign Office. Before entering and leaving the Pakistani border with Iran, the danger of kidnapping in the Iranian-Pakistani border area and the existing travel warning for the province of Baluchistan are expressly warned. The German Embassy in Islamabad does not issue any letters of recommendation in connection with the collection of visas for the aforementioned countries.

Appropriate visas should be obtained in Germany before traveling abroad. The border crossing to India (Wagah / Atari between Lahore and Amritsar) is open, as is the direct transit route there. Taking a motor vehicle at the border crossing usually requires separate approval. For further information please contact the German Embassy Islamabad and the German Consul General Karachi. Attention is drawn to the difficult security situation in Pakistan. You can find more information about this and on existing travel restrictions in the safety notes. In most major cities of Pakistan, there are hotels that meet high security standards. Regarding clothing (eg shorts and shoulder-free clothing) and general behavior, local customs and customs should be respected. While in the big cities there is sometimes a more tolerant attitude towards foreign customs, especially when traveling by land, adequate clothing and appropriate behavior must be taken to take account of the often religious-conservative basic attitude in the population.

The Islamic fasting month of Ramadan is strictly adhered to in many parts of Pakistan, which has a significant impact on public life. In Ramadan, during the hours of the day when the population is fasting, the consumption of food and drink and smoking in the public should be dispensed with. When dealing with the authorities with foreign visitors, a rather restrictive interpretation and application of the rules of residence and freedom of movement in the country has recently been established by distrust, but also by the protection of the travelers. In such cases, German foreign representatives can only have a very limited influence on the relevant Pakistani authorities. If legitimate safety concerns of the authorities are decisive for their attitude, this should generally be respected

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