From August 2020 onwards, the Government of Pakistan lifted its stay-at-home orders, and intercity domestic travel along with mass transit services have been resumed in most cities. The country's security environment has improved considerably since 2014 after the security forces decided to undertake concerted counter-terrorist-and-militant-operations.
In all the major cities in Pakistan, particularly Islamabad, the federal capital, there's a large number of security personnel, resources, and infrastructure deployed to respond to any emergency readily. Although threats still exist, terrorist attacks are relatively rare in major cities of Pakistan. Still, there are certain prohibited areas where tourists, mainly Indians, are barred from visiting.
The government of Pakistan has released official guidelines regarding the areas tourists cannot visit and precautionary measures every tourist needs to abide by when visiting the Pakistan. According to these guidelines, tourists should keep changing their routes and timings if they regularly travel to a particular destination. Also, they must stay aware of local events, news, and surroundings. Tourists should be mindful of their surroundings, especially around the public markets, military and government institutions, restaurants, and other locations.
To timely receive security alerts, tourists can enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). It will make it easier for the concerned authorities to find you in case of an emergency. We suggest that tourists must immediately follow the Pakistani State Department on Facebook and Twitter after arriving in Pakistan.
Avoid traveling to Baluchistan province because it is marred with an active separatist movement and terrorist groups are also active in this region. Moreover, Baluchistan is home to sectarian conflicts, and anti-state forces regularly carry out terrorist attacks against government officials, civilians, and security forces. They want to destabilize the province, which is why Pakistan's government has included Baluchistan in its list of prohibited areas for tourists.
KPK Province and former FATA:
Tourists must avoid traveling to KPK province, including the former FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas). The region is an active hub of insurgent and terrorist groups that carry out targeted attacks against non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civilians, government officials, offices, and security forces. Historically, these groups haven't discriminated between civilians and government officials; kidnapping attempts and assassinations are common around this region.
Line of Control Vicinity:
You must avoid traveling to Pakistan-India borders since this area has a high number of militant groups. On both sides of the line of control (LoC), Pakistan and India have maintained strong military presence while their military forces regularly exchange artillery fire and gunfire across the LoC. The only safe and officially recognized border crossing connecting the two nations is in the Punjab province known as the Wagah border. It connects the country with the Atari border on the Indian side. However, you must confirm the status of the Wagah border crossing before starting your journey. Moreover, you will need an India visa to enter India.
In Section 2(8) of the Official Act 1923, cantonment areas fall into prohibited areas, especially the isolated cantonments like Shorkot, Kharian, and Gujranwala. Several cantonment areas merge with civil areas, such as Lahore, Nowshera, Peshawar, and Rawalpindi. These areas share roads, civil areas, hotels, parks, markets, and airports, which tourists can visit. Important installations have ben sign posted as prohibited areas.
Northern Areas are generally safe to visit except for the Karakoram Highway portion that runs through the Gircha to Bara Khun area.
Karakoram Highway (KKH):
Karakoram Highway leading to Thakot and Khunjerab Pass referred to as the Pakistan-China border, is now open for foreign travelers. However, their movement within a 30 miles radius of either side of the road is prohibited. Furthermore, cross-country movement may be allowed.
From January 2019, the Pakistani government announced the easing of travel restrictions to revive tourism. The country now offers electronic visas to over 175 nationalities and visas on arrival to tourists from 50 countries. Some of the key areas falling into the non-prohibited category include:
Foreigners do not need to obtain a NOC to visit these areas. However, there are certain areas in these regions where tourists cannot enter, including the following:
Tourists will have restricted access to the following areas in Baluchistan.
Up to 10 miles belt alongside the Pakistan-Afghanistan border except for the Wakhan region in Afghanistan where it is prohibited to enter within 30 miles radius.
Pakistan China Border: