Pakistan travel advice

Latest updates: Safety and security – updated security situation and elections information

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Risk level

PAKISTAN - Exercise a high degree of caution

Exercise a high degree of caution in Pakistan due to the unpredictable security situation. There is a threat of terrorism, civil unrest, sectarian violence and kidnapping.

Regional advisory - Avoid all travel

Avoid all travel to

  • the area within 50 km of the border with Afghanistan
  • the areas within 10 km of the borders with China, India and Iran
  • the areas within 10 km of the Line of Control, except the official border crossings at:
    • Wagah and the Grand Trunk Road leading there
    • Khunjerab Pass and the Karakorum Highway leading there
  • the section of the Karakoram Highway from Mansehra to Chilas
  • Pakistan-administered Kashmir
  • the province of Balochistan
  • the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, with the exception of the following districts where we advise against non-essential travel:
    • Haripur
    • Abbottabad
    • Buner
    • Chitral

     

    Karachi - Avoid non-essential travel

    Avoid non-essential travel to the city of Karachi, due to violence and the risk of terrorism.

     

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    Safety and security

    The Government of Canada may not be in a position to provide consular assistance to Canadians in areas where:

    • there are serious security concerns
    • the Government of Pakistan prohibits entry
    • advance permission is required for entry

    Security situation and elections

    There have been ongoing political demonstrations since November 2022. Federal elections took place on February 8, 2024.

    Security forces continue to be on high alert in the following cities:

    • Islamabad
    • Rawalpindi
    • Lahore
    • Karachi

    The security situation is evolving and remains unpredictable.

    • Communication networks may be disrupted
    • Roadblocks could lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation, including transit routes to airports

    If you are in Pakistan:

    • avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
    • always be aware of your surroundings when in public places
    • carry photo identification at all times
    • expect an increased presence of security forces
    • be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice
    • monitor local media to stay informed on the evolving situation
    • follow the instructions of local authorities, including curfew orders

    Border area with India

    The level of tension between Pakistan and India is susceptible to sudden changes. You could experience difficulties when travelling between the two countries and may be subject to scrutiny if officials from either country become aware that you have recently travelled to the other.

    The security situation in the Kashmir region, especially along the Line of Control (LoC), which separates India-administered Kashmir in the south from Pakistan-administered Kashmir in the north, and along the working boundary that continues south toward Sialkot, remains volatile. Since September 2016, cross-border gunfire and shelling have been occurring sporadically along the LoC.

    Although the Wagah border crossing linking Lahore, Pakistan, to Amritsar, India, is regularly used by international travellers, it remains vulnerable to attack. Security measures are in place. Visitors may experience long delays.

    Border areas with Afghanistan, China and Iran

    Border areas with Afghanistan, China and Iran often experience terrorist activity, smuggling and violence. With the exception of official border crossings, foreigners are prohibited from travelling within 50 kilometres of the border with Afghanistan.

    Bandits in border areas with Afghanistan and Iran are usually involved in drug trafficking.

    Sistan-Baluchistan in Iran, which borders Pakistan, is regularly affected by ethnic conflicts and is also a known route for smugglers. Foreign nationals have been the target of kidnappings.

    Terrorist attacks may also occur in this province.

    If you decide to travel overland to Iran and Afghanistan despite this warning:

    • travel only on main roads
    • travel in organized groups
    • avoid travel after dark

    Balochistan

    The security situation in the province of Balochistan remains unstable, due to a long-standing nationalist insurgency and government counter-insurgency operations. Insurgents and militants may target commercial spaces and foreigners, in particular those associated with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Attacks on police and security forces occur frequently. Balochistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, is also a known route for smugglers.

    Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province

    The security situation in Central and Western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Province, including its capital Peshawar is unstable due to terrorism, sectarian and political violence and high levels of crime. North Waziristan, South Waziristan, and the Khyber District are particularly volatile and continue to be impacted by the security situation in Afghanistan. Attacks on security and military forces occur frequently. Civil unrest also takes place regularly.

    Karachi

    Certain sectors of Karachi experience high levels of violence. These include:

    • Lyari
    • Malir
    • Quaidabad
    • Orangi Town

    Extremist groups are present in some parts of the city and there have been terrorist attacks in recent years on high-profile targets, including the Stock Exchange and Chinese Consulate. Carefully plan any travel to, or in the city. Strikes and protest marches tend to take place in central areas of Karachi. These events may cause travel disruptions throughout the city and lead to violent civil unrest. Other criminal activities and violence that can occur in Karachi include carjacking, armed robbery, kidnapping and murder.

    Gilgit-Baltistan

    Clashes between protesters and security forces have occurred. Past demonstrations have led to traffic and public transport disruptions. Do not travel by road to Gilgit-Baltistan province.

    Chitral

    Many parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province are unstable due to terrorism, violence, and crime rates, including Upper and Lower Chitral districts. Do not travel by road to this area.

    Terrorism

    There is a high threat of terrorism in Pakistan. The security situation is fragile and unpredictable. Several terrorist groups are present and operate across the country. Incidents are typically attributed to extremism, ethnic divisions, sectarian strife, regional political disputes and the situation in neighbouring Afghanistan. Bombings, shootings and other terrorist attacks have been directed at a wide range of targets and have caused many deaths and injuries.

    In the formerly Federal Administered Tribal Area (FATA) and in the province of Balochistan, attacks are frequent and are often directed at security and military forces.

    Further attacks are likely. Attacks can take many forms, including:

    • targeted killings and kidnappings
    • armed assaults
    • suicide bombings
    • improvised explosive devices

    Some attacks involve detailed planning to maximize casualties through multiple and consecutive explosions. Targets could include:

    • sects or minority groups
    • government and military assets and personnel
    • places of worship
    • airports and other transportation hubs and networks
    • public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
    • elections-related events and polling stations
    • civil aviation facilities, including aircrafts

    There is an increased risk of attack during religious holidays and days of national significance, such as:

    • National Day (March 23)
    • Independence Day (August 14)
    • the Islamic month of Muharram (particularly on the day of Ashura)
    • the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha

    Expect heightened security measures and associated disruptions during these periods.

    Islamabad

    In Islamabad, you should:

    • keep a low profile, particularly in areas regularly frequented by foreigners
    • avoid the Lal Masjid Mosque (also known as the Red Mosque)
    • be particularly cautious in or around western-style restaurants and shopping centres
    • only stay in hotels that have stringent security measures in place, including metal detectors and closed security perimeters

    Military activity

    Stay away from areas where military or militant activity is taking place.

    Crime

    Kidnapping

    The risk of kidnapping for ransom is high, especially in Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh. Pakistani citizens are particularly at risk. Express kidnapping also takes place.

    • Use varied and unpredictable routes and schedules when moving from one place to another
    • Maintain a high level of vigilance at all times

    Petty crime

    Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs. Cell phones, credit cards and passports are favourite targets. Credit card fraud is common.

    • Ensure that your personal belongings, passports other travel documents are secure at all times
    • Avoid showing signs of affluence
    • If travelling by car, keep valuable belongings out of sight, windows closed and doors locked
    • Avoid travelling after dusk, particularly in rural areas where road conditions are unsafe
    • Make arrangements to be met at the airport, especially if arriving after dark
    • Verify flight and airport operation details before travelling
    • Remain aware of the security situation on routes to and from airports

    Demonstrations and civil unrest

    Demonstrations take place regularly. Demonstrations can take place without warning, and some may take on an anti-western tone. They have the potential to suddenly turn violent. Deaths, injuries and widespread violence have occurred at such events. Demonstrations can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

    • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
    • Follow the instructions of local authorities
    • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

    Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

    Women's safety

    Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse. Gender-based violence is common in Pakistan. Honour killings and forced marriages are frequently reported.

    If you are the victim of a sexual assault, you should report it immediately to the nearest Government of Canada office.

    • Avoid travelling alone, especially at night
    • Remain particularly vigilant in less-frequented areas
    • Be careful when dealing with strangers or recent acquaintances

    Advice for women travellers

    2SLGBTQI+ persons

    2SLGBTQI+ persons could be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics. Human rights organizations have reported discrimination and violence being committed against 2SLGBTQI+ persons in Pakistan, including the denial of basic rights and services, sexual violence and murder. Many hotels and similar establishments may only allow “married couples” to stay together, and same-sex couples should be prepared to stay separately while travelling.

    Forced marriages

    Forced marriage affecting foreigners occurs. It sometimes occurs without the affected person's prior knowledge or consent.

    Some Canadians have been forced into marital arrangements and have been detained against their will. They have been subjected to threats, intimidation and violence by family members.

    If you're in Canada

    If you're in Canada and you believe that you're being forced to travel overseas or to marry, you should call your local police for assistance.

    If you're in Pakistan

    If you're in Pakistan and you believe that you're being forced to marry, contact the High Commission of Canada to Pakistan in Islamabad. You may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.

    Family members may retain passports to prevent victims from returning to Canada.

    Fraud

    Business deals can involve extortion and corruption. All business disputes, including those involving criminality, are subject to Pakistani legal proceedings. The High Commission of Canada cannot intervene on a Canadian's behalf in a private legal matter.

    Overseas fraud

    Trekking and climbing

    No trekking is allowed in the closed zones located near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and near the Line of Control between Pakistan- and India-administered Kashmir. Trekking permits are required by the Government of Pakistan for peaks over 6000m, and in most national parks. Access to roads are limited, and often in very poor condition.

    Only experienced climbers should go to the northern mountains of the Himalayas, Hindukush or Karakoram. Because of their great height, the Karakoram Mountains experience heavy glaciation, particularly on the southern, more humid slopes.

    If you intend on engaging in trekking activities:

    • never do so alone and always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company
    • buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation from remote areas
    • confirm that the air ambulance firm contracted has a local agent in Pakistan who can ensure that local rescue teams provide the required emergency services
    • ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
    • ensure that you're properly equipped and well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
    • inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be back to camp
    • know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal
    • obtain detailed information on trekking routes or ski slopes before setting out and don't venture off marked trails or slopes

    In case of air evacuation, advance payment of the total evacuation cost is required from the insurance company before rescue teams will perform rescue operations. The Government of Canada is unable to intervene, provide, or pay for rescue services.

    Road travel

    Road conditions

    In many urban areas, roads may be narrow, crowded and poorly lit, with limited signage and poor maintenance. Outside major highways and main cities, roads are mostly unpaved and four-wheel drive vehicles may be necessary.

    Mountain roads may have steep drops and lack safety barriers.

    Weather conditions can change quickly, particularly during winter. Snow, ice, fog, rain can lead to dangerous driving conditions and disrupt travel. Landslides caused by heavy rain can block or wash away roads.

    • Check local news and weather reports along your route before you travel

    Driving habits

    Drivers can be aggressive and reckless, and they do not respect traffic laws. Accidents are common. If an accident occurs and you feel that your safety is threatened, leave the area and report the accident to the nearest police station.

    Checkpoints may be set up without warning.

    Karakoram highway/Northern region

    Sections can be very narrow with precipitous drops and are sometimes partially obstructed by rock and earth slides.

    • Travel on mountain roads only during daylight hours
    • Consult local authorities regarding road openings, particularly during the monsoon rains and winter seasons
    • Avoid the section of the Karakoram Highway from Mansehra to Chilas

    If you chose to drive in Pakistan:

    • avoid driving after dark
    • keep doors locked and windows up at all times
    • leave a travel itinerary with a third party
    • carry photo identification to present at police checkpoints
    • be well prepared and equipped with gasoline, water, food and a cell phone
    • call the police if involved in an accident

    Public transportation

    There are frequent rail accidents due to low safety and maintenance standards. Railways have been targets for riots and terrorist attacks.

    Avoid using public transportation including taxis and trains. If you must use public transportation:

    • use bus lines that provide two drivers if you're travelling long distances
    • use radio-controlled taxis from reputable companies
    • consider using taxi hailing apps in major cities

    Air travel

    We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

    Information about foreign domestic airlines

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    Entry and exit requirements

    Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

    We have obtained the information on this page from the Pakistani authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

    Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.

    Passport

    Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

    Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

    Regular Canadian passport

    Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Pakistan.

    Passport for official travel

    Different entry rules may apply.

    Official travel

    Passport with “X” gender identifier

    While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

    Other travel documents

    Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

    Useful links

    Visas

    Canadians must be in possession of a visa to visit Pakistan.

    Work visa: required
    Tourism visa: required
    Business visa: required
    Student visa: required

    Holders of a valid National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) card are entitled visa free entry into Pakistan.

    Do not overstay the duration of your visa. You could face legal action or be banned from further entry into Pakistan. The status or nature of your visa cannot be changed while in Pakistan. If your visa has expired, you may be able to apply for an exit permit online.

    Exit permit – Pakistan Ministry of Interior

    Online visa

    Holders of a valid Canadian passport are eligible to apply online for a Pakistani online visa. Some restrictions apply.

    Apply for an online visa – Pakistan Ministry of Interior

    Journalists

    Journalists may have to provide an itinerary to get a visa; the itinerary should be strictly followed during the stay.

    Restricted zones

    Additional documentation may be required to visit some regions in Pakistan. Check with the High Commission for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in Canada for entry requirements for the regions you intend to visit.

    Polio

    If you remain in Pakistan for more than four weeks, you must show proof of polio vaccination when leaving the country. The proof of vaccination must have been obtained within the 12 months prior to your departure.

    Children and travel

    Learn more about travelling with children.

    Yellow fever

    Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

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    Health

    Relevant Travel Health Notices

    This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

    Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

    Routine vaccines

    Be sure that your routine vaccinations, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

    Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

    Pre-travel vaccines and medications

    You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

    Hepatitis A

    There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.

     

    Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.

    Malaria

    Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease that is caused by parasites spread through the bites of mosquitoes.

    Malaria is a risk to travellers to this destination.
     
    Antimalarial medication is recommended for most travellers to this destination and should be taken as recommended. Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic before travelling to discuss your options. It is recommended to do this 6 weeks before travel, however, it is still a good idea any time before leaving. 
     
    Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times: 

    • Cover your skin and use an approved insect repellent on uncovered skin.
    • Exclude mosquitoes from your living area with screening and/or closed, well-sealed doors and windows.
    • Use insecticide-treated bed nets if mosquitoes cannot be excluded from your living area.
    • Wear permethrin-treated clothing. 

     If you develop symptoms similar to malaria when you are travelling or up to a year after you return home, see a health care professional immediately. Tell them where you have been travelling or living. 

    Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements

    Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

    Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

    Risk

    • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

    Country Entry Requirement*

    • Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.

    Recommendation

    • Vaccination is not recommended.
    • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
    • Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of your trip to arrange for vaccination.

    About Yellow Fever

    Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
    * It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

    Rabies

    In this destination, rabies is commonly carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions, including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.

    If you are bitten or scratched by a dog or other animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. In this destination, rabies treatment may be limited or may not be available, therefore you may need to return to Canada for treatment. 

    Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals). 

    Polio – WHO Temporary Recommendations

    Polio (poliomyelitis) is an infectious disease that can be prevented by vaccination. It is caused by poliovirus type 1, 2 or 3. Wild poliovirus (WPV1) and/or circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV1 or cVDPV3)) is/are present in this destination.

    This destination is subject to Temporary Recommendations under the World Health Organization’s polio Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).  

    Polio is spread from person to person and through contaminated food and water. Infection with the polio virus can cause paralysis and death in individuals of any age who are not immune.

    Recommendations:

    • Be sure that your polio vaccinations are up to date before travelling. Polio is part of the routine vaccine schedule for children in Canada.
    • One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended as an adult.
    • Make sure that the polio vaccinations are documented on the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis. This is the only document accepted as proof of vaccination. It is provided at Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres.
    • Carry the certificate as proof of vaccination.

    Proof of vaccination:

    • Travellers who are visiting for longer than 4 weeks may be required to receive a dose of polio vaccine 1 to 12 months before they leave this destination. This may be required even if you have previously received all the recommended polio vaccine doses as part of the routine vaccine schedule in Canada.
    • Make sure that the polio vaccination is documented on the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis.
    Measles

    Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

    Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

    Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

    Japanese encephalitis

    Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection that can cause swelling of the brain.  It is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Risk is very low for most travellers. Travellers at relatively higher risk may want to consider vaccination for JE prior to travelling.

    Travellers are at higher risk if they will be:

    • travelling long term (e.g. more than 30 days)
    • making multiple trips to endemic areas
    • staying for extended periods in rural areas
    • visiting an area suffering a JE outbreak
    • engaging in activities involving high contact with mosquitos (e.g., entomologists)
    Hepatitis B

     Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

    Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.

    COVID-19

    Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

    It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

    Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

    Influenza

     The best way to protect yourself from seasonal influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated every year. Get the flu shot at least 2 weeks before travelling.  

     The flu occurs worldwide. 

    •  In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to   April.
    •  In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and   October.
    •  In the tropics, there is flu activity year round. 

    The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.

    The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

    Typhoid

    Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Travellers going to countries in South Asia should speak to a health care professional about getting vaccinated.

    Safe food and water precautions

    Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

    • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
    • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
    • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

    Cholera

    Risk

    Cholera is a risk in parts of this country. Most travellers are at very low risk.

    To protect against cholera, all travellers should practise safe food and water precautions.

    Travellers at higher risk of getting cholera include those:

    • visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation
    • visiting areas where outbreaks are occurring

    Vaccination may be recommended for high-risk travellers, and should be discussed with a health care professional.

    Travellers' diarrhea

    Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

    Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.

    The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

    Typhoid

    Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

    Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.  

    Insect bite prevention

    Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

    • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
    • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
    • Minimize exposure to insects
    • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

    To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

    Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

    Chikungunya

    There is a risk of chikungunya in this country.  The risk may vary between regions of a country.  Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

    Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

    Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever

    Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is a viral disease that can cause fever, pain and bleeding under the skin.  In some cases, it can be fatal.  It spreads to humans through contact with infected animal blood or tissues, or from the bite of an infected tick.  Risk is generally low for most travellers.  Protect yourself from tick bites and avoid animals, particularly livestock.  There is no vaccine available for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.

    Cutaneous and mucosal Leishmaniasis

    Cutaneous and mucosal leishmaniasis causes skin sores and ulcers. It is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a female sandfly.

    Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from sandfly bites, which typically occur after sunset in rural and forested areas and in some urban centres. There is no vaccine or medication to protect against leishmaniasis.

    Dengue
    • In this country, dengue is a risk to travellers. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
    • Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
    • The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
    • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
    • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue.

    Animal precautions

    Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

    Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

    Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

    Avian Influenza

    Human cases of avian influenza have been reported in this destination. Avian influenza is a viral infection that can spread quickly and easily among birds and in rare cases it can infect mammals, including people. The risk is low for most travellers.

    Avoid contact with birds, including wild, farm, and backyard birds (alive or dead) and surfaces that may have bird droppings on them. Ensure all poultry dishes, including eggs and wild game, are properly cooked.

    Travellers with a higher risk of exposure include those: 

    • visiting live bird/animal markets or poultry farms
    • working with poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, domestic ducks)
    • hunting, de-feathering, field dressing and butchering wild birds and wild mammals
    • working with wild birds for activities such as research, conservation, or rehabilitation
    • working with wild mammals, especially those that eat wild birds (e.g., foxes)

    All eligible people are encouraged to get the seasonal influenza shot, which will protect them against human influenza viruses. While the seasonal influenza shot does not prevent infection with avian influenza, it can reduce the chance of getting sick with human and avian influenza viruses at the same time.

    Person-to-person infections

    Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

    •  washing your hands often
    • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
    • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

    Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

    Tuberculosis

    Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

    For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

    Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.

    High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.

    Medical services and facilities

    Quality of care varies greatly throughout the country. Good health care is available in a small number of hospitals and clinics in some major cities, including in Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore. Basic non-emergency medical care is available in major cities but is limited in rural areas. Emergency services, including ambulances, are virtually non-existent in most of Pakistan. Most medical facilities require prepayment in cash.

    Medical evacuation can be very expensive and you may need it in case of serious illness or injury.

    Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

    Travel health and safety

    Keep in Mind...

    The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

    Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

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    Laws and culture

    You must abide by local laws.

    Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.

    Death Penalty

    The death penalty may be imposed for more than two dozen criminal offences, including:

    • drug trafficking
    • murder
    • illegal gathering
    • blasphemy
    • rape

    Executions in Pakistan occur by hanging.

    Drugs and alcohol

    Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect the death penalty, jail sentences, heavy fines and/or deportation.

    The possession and consumption of alcohol is prohibited. Transgressors may be punished by detention or other penalties.

    Drugs, alcohol and travel

    Religious proselytizing

    Religious proselytizing is not permitted and may lead to accusations of blasphemy, which is considered a capital crime.

    Others illegal activities

    The following activities are illegal in Pakistan and punishable by heavy fines or jail time:

    • trafficking or eating pork
    • importing pornographic material
    • engaging in prostitution
    • heterosexual couples to live together without being married
    • photographing government buildings, military installations, infrastructure and airports (even from an aircraft)

    Identification

    Local authorities may ask you to show identification at any time.

    • Carry photo identification at all times
    • Keep a photocopy of your passport and visa or residence permit in a safe place, in case they are lost or confiscated

    Photography

    Ask permission before taking photographs of local residents.

    2SLGBTQI+ travellers

    There are no laws in Pakistan to prohibit public or private sector discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Pakistani law prohibits sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. Those convicted can be fined, face up to life imprisonment or the death penalty.

    2SLGBTQI+ travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Pakistan.

    Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics

    Dual citizenship

    Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Pakistan.

    If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Pakistan, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.

    Travellers with dual citizenship

    If you were born in Pakistan, and one of your parents is a Pakistani citizen, you should confirm your citizenship status with the High Commission of Pakistan in Ottawa as you could be considered a Pakistani citizen while in Pakistan.

    International Child Abduction

    The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Pakistan.

    If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Pakistan by an abducting parent:

    • act as quickly as you can
    • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Pakistan to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
    • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.

    If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

    Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.

    Useful links

    Family Law

    Pakistani family law is very different from Canadian law.

    In case of dispute, consult a local lawyer to be fully aware of local laws regarding custody, guardianship and visitation rights.

    Dress and behaviour

    The country's customs, laws and regulations adhere closely to Islamic practices and beliefs.

    To avoid offending local sensitivities:

    • dress conservatively
    • behave discreetly
    • respect religious and social traditions

    Shorts are considered inappropriate attire for both men and women, particularly in remote locations. Women should consider carrying a headscarf with them at all times while travelling in Pakistan.

    Couples should avoid physical contact, such as holding hands, in public.

    Ramadan

    In 2024, the lunar month of Ramadan is expected to begin on or around March 10.

    In public, between sunrise and sunset, refrain from:

    • drinking
    • eating
    • smoking

    Driving

    Vehicles drive on the left.

    You should carry an international driving permit.

    International Driving Permit

    Money

    The currency is the Pakistani rupee (PKR).

    The economy is primarily cash based. Credit cards are accepted by some larger establishments.

    Currency can be exchanged at all international airports. ATMs are available in main cities but may not accept foreign debit cards.

    • Plan accordingly
    • Make sure you have access to sufficient local currency while in the country

    These policies and restrictions may change. Consult with financial authorities such as the State Bank of Pakistan before you travel.

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    Natural disasters and climate

    Pakistan is prone to extreme weather events such as:

    • avalanches
    • cyclones
    • dust storms
    • earthquakes
    • floods
    • landslides

    Extreme temperatures can occur in both summer and winter.

    Seismic activity

    Severe earthquakes can occur in the western and northern regions of the country. Landslides are possible in affected areas, and strong aftershocks may occur after the initial quake. Transportation, health and telecommunications services may be affected, and land travel could be disrupted.

    • Monitor local news reports
    • Follow the instructions of local authorities
    • Consult advisories from the provincial disaster management authorities

    Monsoon and cyclones

    The rainy (or monsoon) season extends from June to September. Seasonal flooding can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. It can also lead to landslides. Roads may become impassable and bridges damaged.

    Flash flooding can occur, including in densely populated areas. There is a risk of flooding along rivers, including the Indus River.

    Pakistan's coastline is subject to tropical cyclones, which are usually accompanied by high winds and heavy rain. During any storm, flash floods and mudslides as well as damage to transportation routes and infrastructure may occur.

    • Monitor regional weather forecasts, including those of the Pakistan Meteorological Department
    • Follow the advice of local authorities
    • Consult advisories from the provincial disaster management authorities

    More about tornadoes, cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons and monsoons

    Avalanches

    In mountainous regions, avalanches present a risk and have resulted in fatalities.

    • Monitor local media and weather forecasts
    • Follow the advice of local authorities
    • Consult advisories from the provincial disaster management authorities

    Useful links

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    Need help?

    Local services

    Emergency services

    In case of emergency, dial:

    • police: 15
    • medical assistance: 115 / 1122
    • firefighters: 16

    Consular assistance

    Islamabad - High Commission of Canada
    Street AddressDiplomatic Enclave, Sector G-5, Islamabad, PakistanPostal AddressP.O. Box 1042, Islamabad, PakistanTelephone92 (51) 208-6000Fax92 (51) 208-6900Emailislamabad.consular@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-PakistanFacebookHigh Commission of Canada in PakistanTwitter@CanHCPakistanOther social mediaHigh Commission of Canada in Pakistan
    Lahore - Consulate of Canada
    Street Address102-A, First Floor, Siddique Trade Centre, 72 Main Boulevard, Gulberg 111, Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, 54660Telephone042-3578-1763 and 042-3578-1966Fax042-3578-1967Emaillahore@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-PakistanFacebookHigh Commission of Canada in PakistanTwitter@CanHCPakistanOther social mediaHigh Commission of Canada in Pakistan

    Emails related to consular assistance in Afghanistan may be sent to: Afghanistan-ISBADCS@international.gc.ca

    For emergency consular assistance, call the High Commission of Canada in Pakistan and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

    Disclaimer

    The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

    The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

    If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

    Learn more about consular services.

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