UK eases up travel advisory for Pakistan
Step reflects improved security situation I am delighted that British nationals will be able to see more of what Pakistan has to offer.@CTurnerFCO
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What is being described as world’s trust in Pakistan’s security situation, the United Kingdom on Friday changed its travel advice to reflect the improved security situation in the country.
This is the first major update in the travel advice since 2015, made following a comprehensive review of UK travel advice for Pakistan, based on a wide-ranging assessment of the country’s security situation.
In a video message, Dr Christian Turner, British High Commissioner to Pakistan, said: “Following my arrival in December 2019, I made this review of travel advice to Pakistan. It is great credit to the hard work of the Government of Pakistan in delivering improved security over the past five years. I am delighted that British nationals will be able to see more of what Pakistan has to offer.”
The improved security situation allowed for the return of British Airways to Pakistan in June 2019 and the visit by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in October 2019. Among other changes, the advice now allows for travel by road to the North of Pakistan as well as the Kalesh and Bamboret Valleys.
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides travel advice based on objective information to help British Nationals make better informed decisions about foreign travel.
The new travel advice for Pakistan reduces the section of the Karakoram Highway where the FCO advises against all travel to the area between Mansehra and Chilas alone (previous travel advice covered the full route from Islamabad to Gilgit). Travellers may bypass this section by taking the alternative route through the Kaghan Valley and Babusar Pass.
The FCO no longer advises against all but essential travel to the Kalesh and Bamboret Valleys.
The FCO advises against all travel to most of Balochistan including the city of Quetta. This is except for the southern coast of Balochistan, including the city of Gwadar, where the FCO advises against all but essential travel.
Like all FCO travel advice, these changes are based on security assessments, which are kept under constant review.
In 2018, there were an estimated 484,000 visits by British nationals to Pakistan. There are 22 weekly direct flights to the UK.
The new travel advice for Pakistan, however, reduced the section of the Karakoram Highway, where the FCO advised against all travel to the area between Mansehra and Chilas alone. The previous travel advice covered the full route from Islamabad to Gilgit.
“Travellers may bypass this section by taking the alternative route through the Kaghan Valley and Babusar Pass,” it said.
The FCO advised against all travel to most of Balochistan including the capital city, Quetta. “This is except for the southern coast of Balochistan, including the city of Gwadar, where the FCO advises against all but essential travel,” it added.
PAKISTAN WELCOMES NEW UK TRAVEL ADVISORY
Dr Aisha Farooqui, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, welcomed the UK FCO’s move of relaxing its travel advice for the British nationals.
“Government and people of Pakistan welcome the comprehensive review of travel advisory for British citizens travelling to Pakistan. A Positive step forward, forging even stronger and closer people-to-people links between Pakistan and the UK,” she said on Twitter.
“Look forward to welcoming more tourists, investors, academics and other visitors from the UK,” she added.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also lauded the move, saying, “This change in travel advice is encouraging and will further strengthen Pak-UK relations.
“Pakistan; Land of peace and progress with incredible natural beauty, warmth & hospitality. This change in travel advice is encouraging, the first major update to the UK’s travel advisory to Pakistan since 2015. This will further strengthen Pak-UK relations. Welcome to Pakistan,” he wrote in a tweet.