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Is Pakistan Safe? | Travel Tips & Safety Concerns

Is Pakistan Safe? | Travel Tips & Safety Concerns

Pakistan has a great deal to offer travelers. It has a variety of geographic regions, including the coast, mountains, desert, rivers, waterfalls, and dense forests.

The highlight is the mountain ranges, which include some of the most famous in the world, including the HimalayasHindu Kush, and the Karakoram. Pakistan’s urban areas also have a lot to offer.

Pakistan is one of the most diverse countries in the world, with many different ethnic groups and religions. The result is a mash-up of cultures, languages, food, art, and music. Visiting cities in Pakistan is a one-of-a-kind experience that rivals its outdoor beauty.

However, if you watch or read the news, you might be in disbelief about traveling to Pakistan. Most of the information about Pakistan is harmful and doesn’t make it seem like an appealing place.

So, is Pakistan safe? The short answer is yes and no.

Pakistan is a beautiful country with a lot to offer travelers, but there are some serious safety concerns that you should be aware of before planning your trip.

Here, we will discuss some of the potential safety risks of traveling to Pakistan and offer some tips on how to travel safely in Pakistan. Read on to learn all you need to know for a safe trip.

Is Pakistan Safe to Visit in 2022?

A woman wearing traditional dress sitting on wall and looking at Hunza valley in autumn season, Gilgit Baltistan in Pakistan, Asia

Punnawit Suwattananun/Shutterstock

The security situation in Pakistan is complex and ever-changing. While the Pakistani government has made strides in improving safety, there are still areas of the country that are too dangerous for travelers.

The best way to stay safe in Pakistan is to do your research before you go and avoid any areas known to be unsafe. Here are some general safety concerns to keep in mind when traveling to Pakistan:

  • Terrorism: Unfortunately, terrorism is a reality in Pakistan. There have been several terrorist attacks in Pakistan in recent years, and the threat of terrorism is ever-present. While the Pakistani government has made strides in combating terrorism, travelers should still be aware of the risks.
  • CrimeCrime rates in Pakistan are higher than in many developed countries. However, crime rates have declined by almost 50% in the last several years. Crime is still an issue, especially in big cities. Being aware of your surroundings and keeping your belongings safe is essential.
  • Political instability: Pakistan is politically unstable, and there have been periods of civil unrest. While the current situation is relatively stable, it’s vital to stay up-to-date on the political climate and to avoid any areas that might be prone to violence.
  • Natural disasters: Pakistan is located in a seismically active area and is susceptible to earthquakes and floods. Travelers should familiarize themselves with safety procedures in case of a natural disaster.

Although these safety concerns are serious, many parts of the country are safe to travel in. The government strictly regulates what parts of the country tourists can visit for this very reason. More on that later, but it’s important to stress that although Pakistan is more dangerous than some other countries, it’s still safe to visit.

Crime in Pakistan

As mentioned, crime rates in Pakistan are higher than in many developed countries. Petty theft, assault, and armed robbery are all concerns for tourists.

However, the most common issues for travelers are petty crime and robbery. Minor crime can be a problem in larger cities, but the same concerns apply to any city frequented by tourists.

The best way to avoid becoming a victim of crime is to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions with your belongings.

Here are some specific safety tips to consider:

  • Don’t bring all your valuables with you. Make sure to leave behind unnecessary items, such as extra credit cards and jewelry, in a secure place.
  • Be vigilant when using ATMs. Only use machines in well-lit, public areas, and cover your PIN when entering it.
  • Keep your bags close, and hold on to them at all times in busy areas. When possible, carry your bag in front of you.
  • Don’t accept packages from strangers.
  • Don’t flash large amounts of cash in public.
  • If you are the victim of a crime, contact the police and report the incident.

Following these basic guidelines can minimize your risk while traveling in Pakistan.

Avoiding Bad Neighborhoods

For a piece on Is Pakistan Safe, a tunnel in the ore mines is pictured as a place to avoid

Kohistan, Pakistan, 2007: the exit tunnel of the carts with the ore/Daniele Gussago Photo/Shutterstock

One of the best ways to stay safe in Pakistan is to avoid any areas known to be unsafe. In Pakistan, this includes both neighborhoods within cities and entire regions of the country.

The Pakistani government has designated certain areas as “no-go zones” for tourists.

These areas are off-limits due to the high levels of armed conflict and terrorism. Tourists who enter these areas face serious risks, and visiting them is not worth it. Below is a list of no-go zones in Pakistan.

Kohistan and Diamer

Kohistan and Diamer are regions in the northwest corner of Pakistan. They’re both near the Pakistan and Afghanistan. Both areas are hazardous due to the presence of terrorism and insurgents.

The Pakistani Taliban is present in both regions and have been known to attack tourists. The areas are also poor and lack access to educational resources.

There’s also no gender equality in these areas, so it’s dangerous to travel here as a woman. You can travel here. However, you need special approval from the Pakistani government.

Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)

The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are in northwest Pakistan, along the border with Afghanistan. The region consists of six frontier regions and seven tribal agencies.

The FATA is considered a no-go zone because of the high levels of terrorism and insurgency. The Pakistani Taliban and other terrorist groups are active in the region.

These groups have been known to attack both locals and foreigners. The FATA is also an active war zone, as the Pakistani military is fighting against terrorist groups. You should avoid traveling to these areas.

Balochistan Province

Balochistan Province is in southwest Pakistan, on the border with Afghanistan and Iran. The province is home to a separatist movement fighting against the Pakistani government for decades.

The separatist movement has been responsible for attacks on civilians, foreigners, and security forces.

The province is also home to Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants. The Pakistani government has declared some areas of Balochistan off-limits to tourists. You should avoid traveling to these areas.

Line of Control (Kashmir) 

The Line of Control (LOC) is the de facto border between Pakistan and India in the disputed Kashmir region. The LOC is a highly militarized area, and cross-border violence is risky.

The Indian and Pakistani militaries have clashed several times in recent years. These clashes have often involved artillery and small arms fire, and there’s also a risk of land mines in the area. If you plan to travel to Pakistan, check if your intended destination is on this list.

If it is, consider changing your plans. In addition to entire regions, there are also specific neighborhoods within cities that are best avoided. These areas are generally safe during the day but can be dangerous at night.

It’s best to avoid them altogether. If you are concerned about visiting a particular neighborhood, speak with a host or someone at your lodging, locals can give you the most up-to-date information.

Terrorism in Pakistan

Sadly, terrorism is a reality in Pakistan. There have been several terrorist attacks in Pakistan in recent years, and the threat of terrorism is ever-present. While the Pakistani government has made strides in combating terrorism, travelers should still be aware of the risks.

Terrorism is generally not probable in areas outside those listed above. Southeast Pakistan and the urban areas are safe and highly protected by the Pakistani government.

Terrorism is not much of a concern outside the contested areas. However, there’s always the possibility of violence, especially if you plan on attending cultural events related to minority religious and ethnic groups.

What Areas Are Safe to Visit in Pakistan?

Mohenjo daro ruins close Indus river in Larkana district, Sindh, Pakistan

Sergey-73/Shutterstock

Despite some dangerous areas, many parts of Pakistan are safe to visit. These areas are well-protected by the Pakistani government and have a strong security presence.

Sindh Province

Sindh Province is in southeast Pakistan. The province is home to the city of Karachi, the country’s largest city. Sindh Province is generally safe, and most of the region is open to tourists.

The city of Karachi can be dangerous, but some areas are safe to visit. The safest areas are generally in the southern and central parts of the city.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province is in northwest Pakistan. The province is home to the city of Peshawar, the province’s capital.

Khyber used to be one of the most dangerous regions in Pakistan, but that is no longer the case. Travelers can now move freely through Khyber.

Punjab Province

Punjab Province is in northeast Pakistan. The province is home to the city of Lahore, the country’s second-largest city. Punjab Province is generally safe, and there are no restrictions on tourists.

The city of Lahore is a great place to visit as a tourist. It has a rich culture, fantastic food, and friendly people.

Gilgit Baltistan

Gilgit Baltistan is in the northern part of Pakistan and is one of the safest places to visit in Pakistan. It’s also one of the most beautiful.

This region is filled with incredible mountain vistas, high mountain lakes, and the second highest mountain in the world, K2. Gilgit Baltistan is a popular tourist destination, and visitors have no restrictions.

Health Concerns in Pakistan

Indian Saw Scaled Viper pictured coiled up ready to attack

Dushan Muthunayake/Shutterstock

Beyond crime and terrorism, travelers face other health concerns when visiting Pakistan. Pakistan is a developing country, and access to healthcare can be limited, especially in rural areas.

Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance covering you in an emergency. Pakistan is also home to several diseases that aren’t common in other parts of the world.

These include dengue fever, hepatitis A and E, and rabies. Be sure to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself from these diseases. Altitude sickness is also a severe health issue when visiting Pakistan.

The country has some of the highest mountains in the world, and travelers often experience altitude sickness when they travel to these regions. Be sure to take it easy when you first arrive in Pakistan and give your body time to adjust to the altitude.

One of the most common ways travelers get sick is by drinking untreated water. The tap water in Pakistan is unsafe, and you should only drink bottled water. Additionally, travelers should be aware of several dangerous animals in the country.

The Indian Saw-Scaled Viper, Deathstalker Scorpion, Indian Cobra, and Sind Krait all have poisoning bites/stings that can prove fatal. If you are bitten or stung by one of these animals, you should immediately seek medical attention.

Things to Consider

These are some essential things that you should consider when traveling to Pakistan.

  • Pakistan requires visas for all tourists. You can apply for an e-visa through their official online portal. There are several visas available for tourists.
  • Pakistan is a diverse country, and the weather can change rapidly. Pack for a variety of different climates.
  • Urdu is the official language in Pakistan.
  • The Pakistani people are friendly, so don’t be surprised if you are invited for lunch, dinner, and to stay at people’s homes.
  • Pakistan is Islamic and one of the most conservative countries in the world. Respect their customs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Lahore Punjab Pakistan pictured from the entrance to the Wazir Kahn Mosque

A_noina/Shutterstock

There are some common questions asked about traveling to Pakistan.

Is Pakistan safer than India?

There’s no easy answer to this question. Both countries have their share of safety concerns, and it would be best to research both countries before deciding which one to visit.

Is Pakistan safer than Afghanistan?

Although both countries can be dangerous, Afghanistan is far more dangerous than Pakistan.

Is Pakistan safe for Indian tourists?

Yes, Pakistan is safe for Indian tourists. There are no restrictions on Indian citizens visiting Pakistan.

Is Pakistan safe for American tourists?

Yes, Pakistan is safe for American tourists. Nothing prevents Americans from visiting Pakistan; the locals do not care where you are from.

Does Pakistan have travel restrictions?

Yes, there are some travel restrictions in Pakistan. These restrictions vary depending on which province you wish to visit.

Can I travel to Pakistan from the UK?

Yes, you can travel to Pakistan from the UK. You will need to get a visa before you travel.

Do I need a visa to visit Pakistan?

Yes, all tourists need a visa to visit Pakistan. You must apply for an e-visa before you arrive in Pakistan.

So, Is Pakistan Safe to Visit?

If you Google Image search Pakistan, you will be treated with pictures of incredible mountain landscapes, beautiful cities, and smiling people.

You may have caught travelers rave about their experience visiting Pakistan and heard stories of excellent food, incredible culture, and some of the best hiking in the world.

Pakistan is a beautiful country with a lot to offer travelers. With proper planning and preparation, it’s possible to visit Pakistan safely.

Be sure to do your research, get travel insurance, and pack for a variety of different climates. If you have any questions or concerns, consult with your travel agent or the Pakistani embassy. Safe travels!