Pakistan / Balochistan travel safety

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SPR11
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Security Pakistan

Postby SPR11 » Mon Aug 22, 2016 5:18 am

Hi guys. We just spend six weeks in Pakistan. Traveling there is relatively easy, but there are quite a few security measures in place. This usually means you get a guard following you around, or that you're only allowed to stay in particular hotels. We've compiled a list of places we went, and where what measures were in place. Please feel free to update or correct if you have new information.

More details can be found here http://lostwithpurpose.com/security-in-pakistan/

Where we needed security/had security issues
- Quetta/Baluchistan: not allowed to travel there, needed to get an NOC to exit Quetta, not allowed to walk around in Quetta
- Karachi: nothing
- Thatta: told we needed security but ???
- Hyderabad: nothing
- Sehwan Sharif: security followed us in Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine
- Larkhana/Moenjo-daro: nothing
- Bahawalpur: the worst, only allowed in expensive hotel and not allowed into any of the palaces
- Multan: foreigners can only stay in expensive hotels
- Lahore: nothing, but turned away from the smaller border ceremony because of "permission" issues
- Islamabad/Rawalpindi: no issues
- Naran: nothing
- Chilas: only allowed to stay in 2 hotels, not allowed to walk around without escort
- Fairy Meadows: police escort required
- Skardu: nothing
- Deosai: nothing
- Swat: NOC no longer needed as of March 2016, but not all security personnel in the area seems to know this, so NOC might still be required.
- Gilgit: nothing
- Naltar: conflicting information, but as far as we know you can go here unescorted.
- Karimabad: nothing
- Sost: nothing, but hassled by intelligence a bit
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Ramblings about our Asian journies at www.lostwithpurpose.com
There's some useful info too.

Elmenda
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Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2016 5:56 pm
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Re: Security Pakistan

Postby Elmenda » Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:24 pm

In Sost and surroundings, no security issues. Khunjerab border is closed on weekends. NATCO ticket office is open everyday, and it is possible to book tickets in advance.
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georgestravelsasia
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Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:28 am
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Pakistan / Balochistan travel safety

Postby georgestravelsasia » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:58 am

So I just crossed from Pakistan to India this morning, after 10 days crossing the country by land from Iran through Balochistan, Sindh and Pundjab provinces. I just wanted to share my experience and the fruit of my research on the question of security in Pakistan. I felt like there was a gap of information on the question.

On one hand, travel warnings and western media in general depicts the country as a lair of radical terrorists that should not be visited under any pretext, and I guess most people who have been to Pakistan will agree this statement is quite far from the truth.
On the other hand, reports from travelers that I found online often sounded a bit overly optimistic and unwilling to assess the reality of the risks involved.
So I will attempt to give a pragmatic assessment on the question of security and the terrorist issue in Pakistan and especially in the sensitive province of Balochistan, which overlanders coming from Iran must cross to travel through Pakistan and onwards to either China, India or Afghanistan (not sure how cross-able that last border is though).

So here are the numbers from the South Asia Terrorism Portal on the casualties of terrorism in Pakistan:
http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries ... alties.htm

It's quite obvious at a first glance that the number of casualties has reduced a lot since the peak of violence in 2008-2013. In 2017 the number of victims, all categories included (civilian, security, terrorists/militants) is 1260. Relative to the population of Pakistan (207 Millions in 2017), that's a ratio of 0.61 vicitims per 100,000 people per year.
Now let's compare to other risks at which travelers, especially overlanders, usually expose themselves.
In France the ratio of victims of traffic related accidents is roughly 5.1 per 100,000 people per year. In Pakistan, 14.2. In Iran 32.1.

However, these numbers are for Pakistan in general, and of course the security issues are not the same in all provinces. Balochistan shares a relatively high number of casualties compares to its population.
http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries ... index.html
In 2016, the ratio of victims per 100,000 people per year in Balochistan is roughly 5.3.

As of 2017, foreigners in Balochistan must still be under police escort every time they move throughout the province, a measure that has been imposed since the kidnapping of two Czech citizens in 2013. I read from some people online that the usefulness of the escort in case of an attempted abduction is questionable, saying that "the escort is just one or two police men armed with pistols and they won't put up a fight with talibans armed with AKs if they want to kidnap you." Well my escort was usually 2-5 police/"levies" (the tribal police operating in the rural district) all armed with AKs and I felt like they would have done a very good job at protecting me. On the other hand, the security forces are one of the main targets of suicide bombings, so being with them in all your moves in Balochistan increases your exposure to the risk of an attack.

So all and all, my judgement would be that traveling in most places in Pakistan is more than safe. However, taking the escorted overland journey puts your life to a risk that is not negligible, but is still significantly lower than the risk of a car/bike/truck/bus accident if you're over-landing from Iran to the rest of Asia.

All of that being said, Pakistan is the best country I have ever traveled to and I strongly recommend anyone to take the chance to experience Pakistani hospitality at least once in their life.
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georgestravelsasia
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Re: Security Pakistan

Postby georgestravelsasia » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:41 am

SPR11 wrote:Hi guys. We just spend six weeks in Pakistan. Traveling there is relatively easy, but there are quite a few security measures in place. This usually means you get a guard following you around, or that you're only allowed to stay in particular hotels. We've compiled a list of places we went, and where what measures were in place. Please feel free to update or correct if you have new information.

More details can be found here http://lostwithpurpose.com/security-in-pakistan/

Where we needed security/had security issues
- Quetta/Baluchistan: not allowed to travel there, needed to get an NOC to exit Quetta, not allowed to walk around in Quetta
- Karachi: nothing
- Thatta: told we needed security but ???
- Hyderabad: nothing
- Sehwan Sharif: security followed us in Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine
- Larkhana/Moenjo-daro: nothing
- Bahawalpur: the worst, only allowed in expensive hotel and not allowed into any of the palaces
- Multan: foreigners can only stay in expensive hotels
- Lahore: nothing, but turned away from the smaller border ceremony because of "permission" issues
- Islamabad/Rawalpindi: no issues
- Naran: nothing
- Chilas: only allowed to stay in 2 hotels, not allowed to walk around without escort
- Fairy Meadows: police escort required
- Skardu: nothing
- Deosai: nothing
- Swat: NOC no longer needed as of March 2016, but not all security personnel in the area seems to know this, so NOC might still be required.
- Gilgit: nothing
- Naltar: conflicting information, but as far as we know you can go here unescorted.
- Karimabad: nothing
- Sost: nothing, but hassled by intelligence a bit


Just to add my experience in Jan 2018 :

In Sukkur, one couchsurfer turned me down and redirected me to Indus guesthouse due to security policy, but his profile also said he was a tour guide, so not sure how reliable the info is. Another CSer accepted me (his cs id is Awais Ahmed, super nice chap), and picked me up at the train station. I kept my mouth covered and avoided speaking english near police officers, just in case they'd bother us, but I think they didnt mind. The huge backpack probably broke my cover anyway but we didnt have any problem.

In Pundjab I never ran into a police officer but as I entered Lahore on bus some guys in uniform came in and video shooted every passenger's face. They didnt pay any special attention to me.

Also I was many times confused for being Pashtun as it seems they also have fair skin, so depending how you dress up/behave it's possible to go low profile as a caucasian.
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victororganero
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:53 am

Re: Pakistan / Balochistan travel safety

Postby victororganero » Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:59 am

Hey Guys,

I am over-landing from India to Europe and just want to know if anyone has recent reports from Iran/Pakistan border crossing through Baluchistan. I have read latest reports on this forum, however, given the volatility of the area a month is quite a long time.

I am travelling with a woman and would also appreciate if any ladies have done the crossing either with people or alone.

Thanks in advance. I'll be checking back every week or so leading up to my crossing which will be in about 2 months.

Cheers
0 x

highcliffetrio
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:55 am

Re: Pakistan / Balochistan travel safety

Postby highcliffetrio » Fri May 25, 2018 12:33 pm

Has anyone done the Iran/Pakistan crossing (in either direction) in the last few months? Would be very interested in any thoughts on the current security situation for western travellers.

Thank you!
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