Washington, Feb 25: The US has asked its citizens to put off their non-essential travel plans to Pakistan as the country has recently seen an increase in terrorist attacks and pose a danger to foreigner visitors.
In its latest travel advisory issued yesterday, the State Department has warned its citizens to defer all non-essential travel to Pakistan. The travel warning replaces an earlier warning on August 8 that reminded the American citizens of the ongoing security threats in Pakistan. The presence of several foreign and indigenous terrorist elements pose a danger to the US citizens in the country, it said.
While the US Embassy in Islamabad and Consulate in Karachi continue to provide consular services, the and that in Lahore remains temporarily closed for public services, the State Department added. Citing the recent terrorist attacks, it said that the attacks have frequently occurred against civilians, government and foreigners, besides military installations and airports.
Consulate in Peshawar no longer offers consular services
The Government of Pakistan maintains heightened security measures, particularly in the major cities, and these measures may vary from day to day, it said. Threat reporting indicates terrorist groups continue to seek opportunities to attack locations where US citizens and Westerners are known to congregate or visit.
Terrorists and criminal groups regularly resort to kidnapping for ransom, it said. At least three people were killed when a Taliban militant attacked a Shiite mosque in Rawalpindi last week, the latest incident of sectarian violence after over 60 people, including children, were killed in a similar suicide bombing during Friday prayers at a mosque in Pakistan's Sindh province on January 30. Two weeks after the attack, Taliban suicide bombers stormed a crowded Shia mosque in Pakistan's Peshawar province during Friday prayers, killing more than 20 people.