Terrorism

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Pakistan. There’s a high threat of terrorism and sectarian violence throughout the country. The main terrorist threat comes from Tehrik-e Taleban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella organisation of groups primarily based in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), who have a mainly anti-state focus but also maintain, and have stated an intent to launch attacks on western interests. TTP conducts attacks throughout Pakistan. Their attacks mostly involve using Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), including suicide attacks.

Foreign missions have been warned that international and foreign schools and schools with English language curricula may be the target of terrorist attacks.

Further attacks could be indiscriminate including in places visited by foreigners. Previous methods of attack have included grenades, shootings, bombings and suicide bombs. Militants can launch complex and deadly attacks. Be vigilant, keep a low profile and vary your routes and timings if you make any regular journeys. Avoid crowds. Public places and public gatherings are often targeted, including courts and government buildings, hotels, airports, markets, shopping malls, restaurants, educational institutions, religious shrines and processions. Take care if you’re planning to attend sporting events or live music venues. Attacks have previously targeted places that could be considered by militants to be un-Islamic. You should avoid ‘western’ fast-food outlets. CD/DVD shops and barber shops have previously been targeted.

Pakistani government personnel and institutions, and the security forces, including police, are prime targets for attacks, especially given the ongoing Pakistan military action in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) which may lead to retaliatory attacks. You should avoid key government installations and gatherings of uniformed personnel. Places of worship, including churches, religious sites, minority religious sects and shrines are often targeted. You should avoid religious events or gatherings and limit movements on Friday afternoons. You should also be vigilant in areas around diplomatic premises throughout Pakistan. The US closed its consulate in Lahore following a specific threat in August 2013 and remains closed to the public.

Areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, especially Peshawar, suffer particularly frequent terrorist attacks with a high rate of casualties. There are reports that extremists may look to carry out attacks in the districts of Dir and Chitral, including targeting foreign nationals. There are threats of attacks in Karachi and almost daily violence.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.

Kidnapping

You should be alert to the threat of kidnapping throughout Pakistan. The number of kidnappings for ransom of westerners has increased over recent years. The most recent cases have been in the Punjab and Balochistan. Kidnappings can be for financial or political gain.

British nationals of Pakistani origin are at particular risk of kidnap for ransom. British and other foreign national kidnap victims have faced extended periods of detention. While some were ultimately released by their captors, others have been killed.

Those engaged in humanitarian aid work, journalism or business sectors are viewed as legitimate targets. If you’re kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to serve as a protection or secure your safe release.

The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage taking.