is an annual report produced in conjunction with the Regional Security Office
at the U.S. Consulate General in Lahore. OSAC encourages travelers to use
this report to gain
baseline knowledge of security conditions in Punjab, Pakistan. For more
in-depth information, review OSAC’s Pakistan country page for original OSAC reporting, consular
messages, and contact information, some of which may be available only to
private-sector representatives with an OSAC password.
current U.S. Department of State Travel
Advisory, at the date of this report’s
publication, assesses most of Pakistan at Level 3, indicating travelers should
reconsider travel due to terrorism. Do not travel to Balochistan Province
and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Province, including the former Federally Administered
Tribal Areas (FATA), due to terrorism and kidnapping; or to immediate vicinity
of the Line of Control due to terrorism and the potential for armed conflict. Review
OSAC’s report, Understanding
the Consular Travel Advisory System.
Overall Crime and Safety Situation
U.S. Department of State has assessed Lahore as being a HIGH-threat
location for crime directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.
Carjacking, assaults, armed robberies, home/shop invasions, and other violent
crimes are prevalent in many major urban areas; petty crime, such as theft of
personal property, is also widespread.
2019, the overall reports of criminal activity in Lahore increased by approximately
2%. There were approximately 84,000 crimes of all kinds reported to or cited by
the police in 2019, compared to approximately 82,400 in 2018. According to the official
statistics provided by the Capital City Police of Lahore, the following is a
breakdown of the major crimes by category:
(NOTE:These figures represent Lahore City’s major crimes only. Totals for the
crimes below do not equal the years’ totals mentioned above, which include
traffic violations, white-collar crimes, and crimes that would be misdemeanors
in the United States.)
Violent Crimes Against Persons- Lahore
Property Crimes- Lahore City Figures
(Banditry) (robbery by more than three armed people)
Bike Snatching (jacking)
Review OSAC’s reports, All That You Should
Leave Behind, Hotels: The Inns and
Outs, and Considerations for
in any location, maintain good cybersecurity awareness and take precautions
with personal devices to keep them secure from hacking and physical tampering.
OSAC’s reports, Cybersecurity
Practices for Maximizing Security on Public Wi-Fi, Traveling
with Mobile Devices: Trends & Best Practices, and Satellite
Phones: Critical or Contraband?
Road Safety and Road Conditions
quality of roads in Punjab is not uniform. For example, the toll road between
Lahore and Islamabad is notably well maintained and patrolled by the Motorway
Police. However, in outlying rural areas, the roads may be narrow, unpaved, and
dangerous to navigate. Traffic is a significant issue in all the major cities
of Punjab, including Lahore, Multan, and Faisalabad. Efforts to improve
infrastructure are plagued by funding and construction setbacks.
in Pakistan moves on the left side of the road. Roads are usually very
congested; cars, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians, and animal-drawn carts vie
for slivers of space, often disregarding traffic laws and moving against
traffic. While people generally drive defensively, patience and consideration
are not common courtesies experienced while driving in Lahore. There are
frequent vehicle collisions, and most drivers are uninsured. Expect drivers to
ignore road signs and traffic lights, as well as to cross over and/or drift
into other lanes without warning or signaling. Proceed through intersections
with caution. Traffic signals are frequently inoperative, and roads lack
adequate illumination at night. Pedestrians, animal-drawn carts, and livestock
along the roads add additional challenges.
of proper vehicle maintenance, poor driver training, and the general absence of
safety awareness by vehicle operators leads to a large number of vehicle
accidents. In 2019, approximately 200 people died in road accidents in Lahore. Defensive
driving is imperative. Review OSAC’s reports, Road
Safety Abroad, Driving
Overseas: Best Practices, and Evasive
Driving Techniques; and read the State Department’s
webpage on driving
and road safety abroad.
Public Transportation Conditions
using non-dispatched taxis and other forms of public transportation. Public
transportation can be extremely treacherous. Ask members of your host
organization or family to meet you at the airport. Hotels are often able to
arrange for airport transfers. Review OSAC’s report, Security
in Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.
The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority is a member of the
International Civil Aviation Organization. In the past, there have been risks
to U.S. civil aviation operating in the territory and airspace of Pakistan,
particularly at low altitude, during the arrival/departure phases of flight,
and when on the ground, due to extremist/militant activity. Threats to civil
aviation in Pakistan are not limited to attacks in which militants target
airports. The U.S. Government is aware of narcotics smuggled onto flights from
Pakistan, which may indicate broader security vulnerabilities at Pakistani
U.S. Embassy restricts U.S. Government personnel from traveling on certain
Pakistan military aircraft due to issues with safety and maintenance. Travelers
should verify airworthiness or avoid this means of conveyance.
U.S. Department of State has assessed Lahore as being a CRITICAL-threat
location for terrorism directed at or affecting official U.S. government
interests. Foreign and indigenous terrorist groups pose a danger to U.S.
travelers throughout Pakistan. Various separatist groups and ISIS members have
claimed responsibility for recent deadly attacks. In May 2019, a member of
Jamaat Ul Ahrar targeted an Elite Police Truck in a suicide vest bombing attack
in front of the Data Darbar shrine in Lahore. The explosion killed ten people,
including five police officers. An additional 27 people sustained injuries from
have targeted U.S. diplomats and diplomatic facilities in the past. U.S.
government personnel may not stay overnight in local hotels anywhere in the
country, except in exceptional circumstances. Depending on ongoing security
assessments, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates sometimes place areas such as
tourist attractions, hotels, markets, shopping malls, and restaurants
off-limits to official personnel.
Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence
U.S. Department of State has assessed Lahore as being a HIGH-threat
location for political violence directed at or affecting official U.S.
government interests. Review OSAC’s report, Surviving
demonstrations or periods of civil unrest, the Pakistani government has in the
past disabled cellular telephone and internet service, making it difficult for
individuals to contact each other or the U.S. Embassy or Consulates.
violence is common in Lahore and rural Punjab. Examples from 2019 include:
January, the Young Doctors Association staged several protests and
demonstrations against the government, demanding a higher starting salary. The
protests occurred in various parts of the city and turned violent at least
twice, when doctors stopped commuters on the roads. Authorities suspended the
flow of traffic on major arteries of the city for several hours.
several days in January, Kisan Ittehad Council conducted a protest sit-in at
Faisal Chowk/Mall Road. The sit-in kept Mall Road partially shut down for
several days. The protest was connected to the Kisan (farmers) demanding better
prices for their products and government subsidies.
October, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl anti-government “Azadi March” blocked
all transportation on N-5 (National Highway). Upon reaching the Lahore city
limits, the marchers blocked the entry/exit at the city outskirts and restricted
traffic for one night.
December, a violent group of lawyers assaulted a major hospital in Lahore in
response to alleged disparaging social media remarks made by doctors about
lawyers. They attacked doctors, the public, patients, media, and a parliamentarian.
The group set a police truck on fire. Police ultimately deployed tear gas and anti-riot
police in a baton charge against the lawyers to bring the situation under
control. District administration officials requested the deployment of Pakistani
Rangers to maintain law and order throughout the capital city.
November, Jamaat Islami (JI) and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Islam staged a protest
against the Norwegian government due to an incident of the desecration of the Holy
Quran. This non-violent protest attracted many members of the public and JI
supporters. It caused a major traffic jam on Multan Road for several hours.
air is highly polluted, particularly during winter months. Dozens of roads and bridges
are under construction or repair around the city, adding to ambient dust and
pollution. Poor-quality fuels and lack of catalytic converters on the city’s motor
bikes and other vehicles causes much of the city’s pollution.
smog/fog closed major motorways to vehicle traffic and/or obstructed daily
commutes in Lahore and parts of Punjab throughout November and December 2019. This
resulted in shortages of fuel and some food staples in Lahore. Additionally,
the air pollution caused changes to the operating hours of schools and
institutions, resulting in school closures and cancelation of outside
activities. Another contributing factor to the air pollution epidemic comes
from agricultural fires and industrial sites. Industrial safety standards in
Punjab do not meet U.S. standards, and pollution from raw sewage and industrial
waste is commonly dumped in unauthorized areas. Follow the U.S.
Mission Pakistan Air Quality
Program twitter feed for Lahore.
Economic Concerns/Intellectual Property Theft
Counterfeit goods and pirated entertainment are readily available.
Only exchange currency at recognized banks.
citizens have been the victims of kidnapping, assault, or threats by family
members in response to family disputes over property. Land disputes are common
in Pakistan and are often difficult to resolve through legal channels. The U.S.
Embassy and Consulates cannot protect personal property, and cannot take sides
in a legal dispute. Those wishing to purchase property should be aware of the
risks, including not being physically present to oversee property. Those
involved in a court dispute run the risk of having cases filed against them,
and they may face arrest and imprisonment. In March 2019, two doctors,
including one U.S. national, were kidnapped and murdered in Taxila. The
suspects confessed to wanting to steal land owned by the U.S. doctor.
Pakistan is largely a cash economy. Neither personal nor travelers’
checks are commonly accepted in Pakistan. Outside major cities, credit cards
are generally not accepted, and there have been numerous reports of credit card
fraud. There are bank branches as well as registered currency exchangers and
ATMs in all international airports. Review OSAC’s reports, The Overseas Traveler’s Guide to ATM
Skimmers & Fraud and Taking Credit.
Unauthorized access to personally
identifiable information (PII) is quite possible. Few holders of PII employ
adequate safeguards and access controls to prevent dissemination of sensitive
personal information. Official intrusions into personal privacy are also
females have been subject to domestic abuse and violence, and have had their
passports confiscated by male family members seeking to control their freedom
of movement. Females have been brought to Pakistan by family members and forced
to marry against their will. Women who attempt to report these kinds of cases
to local police might find their complaints not taken seriously. U.S. citizens in
life-threatening situations should contact the police for immediate assistance,
and contact U.S. Embassy or its Consulates. Some Pakistani NGOs can assist
victimized women within the Pakistani community. Review the State Department’s
webpage on security for female
may not document sexual assaults accurately. Open-source reporting indicates
that sexual crimes and gender-based violence, including honor-killings occur,
as do cases of human trafficking and migrant smuggling.
Same-sex sexual conduct is a criminal
offense in Pakistan. While the government rarely prosecutes cases, society
generally shuns LGBTI+ persons, and violence and discrimination against LGBTI+
persons occur frequently. The penalty for same-sex relations is a fine,
imprisonment (sentences ranging from two years to life imprisonment), or both.
No laws protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender
identity, and LGBTI+ persons rarely reveal their sexual orientation or gender
identity. Socially conservative elements of the local society tend to
disapprove of LGBTI+ individuals, although media reporting indicates more
progressive views are evolving, particularly in larger cities. Members of the
LGBTI+ community may find Pakistan difficult, and, at worst, dangerous. More
detailed information about LGBTI+ rights in Pakistan is available in the State Department’s Country Reports
on Human Rights Practices
and the department’s webpage on security for LGBTI+
While in Pakistan, individuals with
disabilities can find accessibility and accommodation difficult. The law
provides for equality of rights of persons with disabilities, but legal
provisions are not always implemented in practice. Families typically care for
most individuals with physical and mental disabilities. Access for individuals
with physical disabilities to public facilities is very limited in major cities
and almost non-existent outside major population centers. Review
the State Department’s webpage on security for travelers
Police do not document drug-related crimes
well. While illicit drug use occurs, knowledge of its frequency, type, and
proliferation remains based mostly on anecdotal evidence. Balochistan and Sindh
are drug trafficking routes, with significant quantities of narcotics typically
flowing south from Afghanistan for shipment by sea. Penalties for possession,
use, or trafficking in illegal drugs are severe; convicted offenders can expect
long jail sentences in local prisons, heavy fines, and sometimes the death
of kidnappings in the city decreased from 2,753 in 2018 to 2,650 in 2019. In
Pakistan, kidnap reporting encompasses crimes that have a broad base of
motives; from kidnapping for ransom and sexual exploitation to property
disputes and elopement. Travelers who feel followed or threatened in any way
should immediately go to a safe public place, such as a government building or
police station. Review OSAC’s report, Kidnapping: The Basics.
The emergency line in Pakistan is 15. Police response times are
generally between 15-25 minutes, depending on the location and traffic
conditions. The Punjab Police is the largest police force in Pakistan,
numbering over 180,000 active members. Yet police funding, resources, and
training (as with the rest of the Pakistani police services) remain scant. Police
resources and service remain well below Western standards, though the
government is working to improve the situation with computerization and
modernization. As of 2019, approximately 10,000 surveillance cameras monitor Lahore
under the Punjab “Safe City” Project. The system features a 24-hour command
center where police officials monitor various areas of the city, looking for
criminal or terrorist activities. These cameras also monitor traffic, with
violators receiving mailed violations based on license plate numbers.
the State Department’s Crime Victims Assistance brochure.
medical care equivalent to Western standards in Pakistan is only available at a
few hospitals within the major cities. Most Pakistani hospitals possess limited
advanced life-support equipment and may not be up to U.S. standards. Find
contact information for available medical services and available air ambulance
services on the U.S.
Punjab Emergency Service (Rescue 1122) is Punjab’s premier emergency response
unit. In case of a medical emergency or a fire, dial 1122 locally
to report it. Ambulance and fire response from Rescue 1122 are reasonable in
Lahore; response times range from 5-10 minutes, depending on the location and
facilities require pre-payment. Local hospitals generally do not accept
insurance as payment; travelers must instead seek reimbursement from their
insurers. Emergency medical evacuation (medevac) by air is very expensive. Any
personally funded medevac requires funding upfront. Insurers typically
coordinate medevac directly with a contracted air ambulance service. The U.S.
Department of State strongly recommends purchasing international health
insurance before traveling internationally. Review the State Department’s
webpage on insurance
steps to avoid tainted food and water. Water is not potable in Lahore, and sanitation
in many restaurants is inadequate. Gastrointestinal illness is common and can
be life threatening. Review OSAC’s report, I’m Drinking What in My Water?
The CDC recommends vaccinations for hepatitis
A and B, typhoid, Japanese encephalitis (for prolonged travel), polio, and
rabies. Prevent mosquito bites to avoid malaria and dengue fever. The Consulate
Health unit considers the risk of malaria to be moderate and recommends
medication to prevent the disease.
The Pakistani government has
implemented the polio vaccination for travelers’ guidelines recommended by the
World Health Organization. Authorities may ask travelers to show proof of
recent polio vaccinations. Visitors who have stayed in Pakistan for longer than
four weeks might have to show a yellow vaccination card certifying that they
have received a dose of polio vaccine within the past year.
The CDC offers additional
information on vaccines and health guidance for Pakistan. Review OSAC’s reports, The Healthy Way, Traveling with Medication, Shaken: The Don’ts of Alcohol Abroad, Health 101: How to Prepare for
Travel, and Fire Safety Abroad.
OSAC Country Council Information
is an active Country Council in Lahore. Please contact OSAC’s South & Central Asia team
if you are interested in private-sector engagement in Lahore or have questions
about OSAC’s Country Council programs.
U.S. Consulate Contact Information
50 Empress Road, Lahore 54000
Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday,
Marine Security Guard Post One: +92-42-3603-4104
Other U.S. Diplomatic Posts in
- Consulate Karachi, Plot 3, 4, 5, New TPX Area Mai
Kolachi Road, Karachi. (+92) (21) 3527-5000.
- Consulate Peshawar,
11, Hospital Road, Peshawar. (+92) 091-526-8800. U.S. Consulate General
Peshawar does not provide routine consular services.
Before you travel, consider the