Safe to travel to Pakistan? any security advisors or recent travellers?

Discussion in 'Travelling & Holidays' started by Nabs, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. Nabs

    Nabs
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    Thinking to travel to Pakistan to see distant relatives over there (Islamabad, Multan, Lahore) with a chirpy talkative (only english speaking) caucasion looking 2 year old and wish to weigh up the safety of travelling. Last time I visited was over 10 yrs ago.

    Hearing much contrary advice, some people over-there and over here saying it is safe to travel, others saying the situation is deteriorating and to avoid the situation and it is proving very difficult to decide whether to go or not. Safety of the child is the priority.

    I note that the warnings from the home office stand, although there are always warnings as far back as I remember but abductions appear to be a newer thing.

    Anyone got info on the current state (please think from the viewpoint of a mixed family travelling with one adult and child only english speaking and will stand out as clearly different and one native speaking adult) over there?

    Thanks
     
  2. jdevil

    jdevil
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    Just don't wear anything flashy you'll be fine and always hold your child's hand when out and about. I haven't been to Pakistan but been to Iran, Afghanistan and China in the last 3 years so I presume it will be quite similar.

    I always tried my best to blend in with the crowd, you don't want anyone knowing you're from England even the cabbies as they will charge you double or triple. I'm sure you will be fine with your family around, so you have nothing to worry about.

    You're probably scared because you've you seen too much things on the telly, these countries are nowhere as bad as they seem so long as you take precautions and always stay with friends and family.
     
  3. qwerty321

    qwerty321
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    As long as you have some family members there you can trust then I don't really see much issue. Karachi is a bit of a dangerous place but doesn't look like you are going there anyway. I just asked my cousin in Pakistan and he said Islamabad is largely secure, there are no issues he has heard of in Multan. Lahore he said is somewhat overcrowded but still no major issues he knows off.

    My relatives in Pakistan are from Rawalpindi which is near to Islamabad. I was there earlier this year for 6 weeks when I got married. Some time was spent in the village which is around 35 miles South East of Islamabad, not much issue there.

    In and around the places there are a few things:
    - Don't go out too late, try and be home by 9 or 10PM at the latest. Also at that time, make sure you have your driver your family know and trust if you can. Wouldn't really be using random taxis at that time.

    - If you do go out around those times, keep whatever valuables you can at home like smartphones. Once or twice I had to pop to the shops with my cousin after 8PM. When that was the case, we left our mobiles at home.

    - I never had any issues with having my smartphone out and about during the day but if you do take it then try not to take it out too much and flash it around. Might be better to keep a more basic phone with you. In more crowded areas, keep an eye out on your pockets and stuff.

    - Keep the phone number of the nearest British High Commissions with you, probably on your phone and on paper. Should anything happen, they could come in very useful.

    My 7 year old sister was with us when we went and no real issues to speak of although my Dad knows Pakistan much better than myself and was always with her when out. Although I was wearing the traditional Shalwar Kameez most the time, I did feel that sometimes I had a fair amount of eyes on me in some places when wearing Jeans and T-Shirt. Probably because they finally saw what real style looked like :D.

    Just don't give any money to the beggars. Might seem harsh but once you pay one, the rest appear out of nowhere wanting money. If you really want to give some, pass 20 or 50 rupees to a family member and let them do it on the sly. Overall though, I wouldn't worry about it too much, just keep an eye out and you should be fine.

    What area of Islamabad will you be staying in?

    Any other questions, let me know and Ill see if I can help.
     
  4. Nabs

    Nabs
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    Sorry not sure which area - will need to get details. Main concern is the potential of 'child abuctions', low key was the aim however the little one and I always stick out like a sore thumb when going there in the past for some reason.
     
  5. Ian J

    Ian J
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    You need to be asking the Foreign Office and not a forum devoted to audio visual pursuits
     
  6. qwerty321

    qwerty321
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    My cousin took his 3 year old and 6 month old and didn't have any issues or much concern. It probably depends on the areas but the places you will be visiting should be fine.
     
  7. gandley

    gandley
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    I would agree with Ian,

    Pakistan is having politcal tensions both domestic and foreign and economic conditions are not great either, and as with all countries there are safer areas to be in.
    Pakistan would be on my caution list and therefore i would want very accurate information as to the situation on the ground.

    If the relatives are able to provide transport and accompany you, well you should be fine, if not just plan everything in advance, check the foreign office with regards your plans. keep uptodate with news from pakistan and the areas you plan to travel to.
     
  8. SkilledNutter

    SkilledNutter
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    The fact you even have to ask should tell you it's not safe. Do you have to take the child?
     
  9. Nabs

    Nabs
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    I know but there is a difference of opinion within my household hence the question ideally from those that have either travelled or independent sources (all people frequent these forums from all backgrounds and general ideas would be useful) - rest assured I am also asking to relevant authorities.
     
  10. Elrond

    Elrond
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    The forum version, now read the official version:

    Pakistan travel advice

    Am I missing something or does that site say traveling is not an issue?

    Going on the above, listen to Ian J!
     
  11. qwerty321

    qwerty321
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    Yes that site does say it. However, it won't and didn't stop me going because I have family there.

    As the OP has said, he also wanted advice from people that had been there. I was there for June and most of July and what I posted was from my direct experience there.
     
  12. Nabs

    Nabs
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    All are quite correct, any party from a distance would only heed foreign embassy advice but things are not always so clear cut esp. when family are involved and some feel that advice is unbiased hence the question.


    Thanks for all your well meaning posts.
     
  13. mooperman

    mooperman
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    surely nothing wrong with asking the advice of people that have been there and as this forum is one of diversity its always a good place to start (as a regular member*)....;)

    *if i was randomly browsing the web i wouldnt sign up to AVF first & foremost for information on Pakistan..

    just to add though, as someone who's giving some serious consideration of a road trip from here to Dubai via Iran (in around 12 months or so) its good to see we have members who might be able to offer some practical advice in the future... cough* jalaldevil*cough.. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011
  14. Simba

    Simba
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    I was in Lahore for 4 weeks in September didn't have any issues - I stayed in quite a secure new complex called Askari X in the Cantt area - close to Allama Iqbal international airport.

    Be cautious though and don't attract attention to yourself - if you have a flashy phone e.g iPhone, suggest using a basic phone as its common for them to get stolen or be mugged for it. Don't leave any valuables on the car dash as you could be mugged at traffic lights. Keep pockets secure.

    Avoid giving money to beggars as you will find they will keep harassing you.

    Don't be out too late, Lahore is pretty lively so you should be ok up to around mid night but get an idea of where you are going to be staying.

    And don't get any driver, a trusted source is highly recommended as these guys are known for passing on information to one another and won't hesitate to rob you no matter how nice they appear.

    It's all mainly common sense stuff really so you should be fine - I had a great time.
     
  15. bigbfan

    bigbfan
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    be sensible and you`ll be fine.. i go on a yearly basis to Rawalpindi/Lahore/Faisalabad and it is generally safe.. hate going but thats more to do with my family members out there..

    Be prepared for electric outtages and lack of gas.. so if your going in winter be prepared to have your socks frozen off or if your going in summer be prepared to cook!
     

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