This is an annual report produced in
conjunction with the Regional Security Office at the U.S. Consulate General in Lahore,
The 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. Some areas have increased risk: Do Not Travel to Balochistan
province and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, including the former Federally
Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), due to terrorism and kidnapping; or to the
Azad Kashmir area due to terrorism and the potential for armed conflict.
Crime and Safety Situation
The U.S. Consulate General in Lahore does not
assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons
or firms appearing in this report. The American Citizens’ Services unit (ACS)
cannot recommend a particular individual or location and assumes no
responsibility for the quality of service provided.
Please review OSAC’s Pakistan-specific webpage for proprietary
analytic reports, Consular Messages, and contact information, some of which may
be available only to private-sector representatives with an OSAC password.
There is considerable risk from crime in
Lahore. 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.
In 2018, the overall reports of criminal
activity in Lahore decreased by 1.6%. In 2017, there were 83,801 crimes of all
kinds reported to or cited by the police, compared to 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:
These figures are only for major crimes, and only capture Lahore City
statistics. Added up, the 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 U.S.]
Crimes Against Persons- Lahore City Figures
Crimes- Lahore City Figures
Total Property Crime
Motor Bike Snatching
Motor Bike Theft
For more information, review OSAC’s report, Security in Transit:
Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.
Road Safety and Road Conditions
quality of roads in Punjab are not uniform. The toll road between Lahore and
Islamabad is particularly well maintained and patrolled by the Motorway Police.
The roads in Lahore and the motorways between major cities in Punjab are
generally paved and adequate; 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.
number of factors complicate the driving situation in Lahore. The traffic in
Pakistan moves on the left side of the road (opposite to that in the U.S.). Roads
are usually very congested; cars, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians, and animal-drawn
carts vie for space, often disregarding traffic laws and moving against traffic.
While people generally drive defensively, patience and consideration are not
traits commonly experienced while driving in Lahore. As a result, there are
frequent vehicle collisions. Complicating the issue is the fact that most
drivers are uninsured. Expect other drivers to ignore road signs and traffic
lights, and to cross over and/or drift into other lanes without warning or
signaling. Proceed through intersections with caution. In short, defensive
driving is a must. For more information on self-driving, please review OSAC’s report,
Driving Overseas: Best Practices.
signals are frequently inoperative due to widespread power outages, and roads tend
to be poorly illuminated at night. Pedestrians, animal-drawn carts, and cattle along
the roads add additional challenges to safe driving.
using non-dispatched taxis and other forms of public transportation, and have
members of your host organization or family meet you at the airport. Hotels are
often able to arrange for airport transfers.
transportation and driving in general in Pakistan can be extremely hazardous. Lack
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 2018, approximately 429 people died in road accidents in Lahore.
There is serious risk from terrorism in Lahore.
The presence of several foreign and indigenous terrorist groups poses a danger
to U.S. travelers throughout Pakistan. Various separatist groups and ISIS
members have claimed responsibility for several deadly attacks.
In March, a member of
Jamaat Ul Ahrar placed a bomb under a motorbike in Raiwind, approximately 40km
from Lahore, and left it unattended near a police check post. The blast killed three
police officers and two civilians; four others sustained injuries.
In May, an assailant shot
and injured Federal Interior
Minister Ahsan Iqbal in Narowal during a corner public meeting. Police arrested
the attacker, later identified as a member of Tehreek-e-Labik Pakistan (TLP); however,
TLP leadership disowned him. The attacker claimed the attack was due to the Minister’s
support of legislation against the blasphemy law.
Religious, and Ethnic Violence
is considerable risk from civil unrest in Lahore. Political violence is common
in Lahore and rural Punjab. Examples from the last year include:
January, police shot and killed two protesters in Kasur when they tried to
enter into the Deputy Commissioner’s Office forcefully. Five protesters were
also sustained injuries. The protest was in connection with a local rape case.
In February, assailants killed two members
of the Union Council in Sheikhpura, having targeted them based on political
July, general election-related violence left two people dead in Khanewal, and one in Faisalabad. In
Lahore, 15 people of different political parties sustained injuries related
with general election activities.
In September, police injured five
protesters who had tried to enter into the Lahore Accountability Court forcefully.
Ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was also present in the court during this time.
In December, when the former Chief Minister of the
Punjab appeared at the Lahore Accountability Court, protesters attempted to sneak
in. Seven people sustained injuries, including two police officers.
the Pakistan Apex Court of Law acquitted Asia Bibi, who had been on trial for
blasphemy. Several religious parties under the TLP flag held sit-in protests at all major entry points of Lahore. The interchanges remained closed for normal traffic and created
traffic congestion throughout Lahore. Police and district administration
requested the participants to conclude the sit-in, but Khadam Hussain Rizvi,
head of TLP, did not comply. For almost three days, protests kept the city
closed and resulted in damage to public property. After three days, successful negotiations
between TLP and the government concluded the protests/sit-ins.
November, TLP announced a protest against the government. Before
the day of the protest, the government started to crack down against TLP
leadership and workers. Police arrested hundreds of TLP workers.
pollution continues to be a concern. Dozens of roads/bridges are under
reconstruction around the city, adding to the ambient dust and pollution. The
government has no proper system in place to get rid of the construction dust. In
addition, poorly maintained two-stroke Rickshaw type motor bikes and other
transportation contribute to the city’s pollution. Additional air pollution
comes from agricultural fires and industrial estates. In October-November,
Lahore and parts of Punjab including major motorways closed to vehicle traffic
due to dense smog. The severe smog obstructed daily traffic, causing shortages
of fuel and some food staples in Lahore; changing the hours for schools and
institutions. There recently have been 15 fatalities due to road accidents.
Industrial safety standards in Punjab do not
meet U.S. standards, and pollution from raw sewage and industrial waste is
commonly dumped where convenient.
Counterfeit goods are widely available. Many
garment factories sell secondhand quality garments to local outlets, which sell
them at a reduced price since they are not fit for export.
Unauthorized access to personally identifiable
information (PII) is quite possible. Few holders of information have adequate
safeguards and access controls to prevent dissemination of sensitive personal
information. Official intrusions into personal privacy are also common.
Personal Identity Concerns
conservative attire that blends in and does not easily identify you as being a
Westerner. Avoid wearing clothing that is military in nature or displays
Western sports teams or immediately associates you with the U.S. Women should
keep their arms and legs covered, and wear headscarves when visiting any
religious site. When in public, avoid carrying or displaying large sums of
money or valuables. Avoid crowded areas, markets, and areas of civil
disturbances, particularly protests and demonstrations.
The Consulate continues to receive reports of
female U.S. citizens subjected to domestic violence, sexual harassment, verbal
abuse, and forced marriage. There are reports of U.S. citizen women of
Pakistani heritage tricked by their families into traveling to Pakistan and
forced into marriage; those who refuse are sometimes threatened with violence
and being disowned by their families, who often confiscate their belongings. There
have also been numerous cases of U.S. females having their and their children’s
passports confiscated by spouses/family members, and their movement severely
restricted. Women who attempt to report these kinds of cases to local police
might find their complaints not taken seriously. However, U.S. citizen women
who find themselves in a life-threatening situation should call the police
immediately. Some Pakistani NGOs can assist victimized women within the
Consensual same-sex sexual conduct is a
criminal offense; however, the government rarely prosecutes cases. LGBT persons
rarely reveal their sexual orientation in Pakistan. No laws protect against
discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Discrimination
against LGBT persons is widely acknowledged privately, but insufficient data
exists for accurate reporting on these forms of discrimination, due in part to
severe societal stigma and fear of recrimination for those who have come
forward. Find more detailed information about LGBT rights in Pakistan in the State Department’s
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.
Individuals with disabilities will find
accessibility and accommodation very different from what is generally found in
the U.S. Access for individuals with physical disabilities to public facilities
is very limited in major cities, and almost non-existent outside major
population centers. The law provides for equality of the rights of persons with
disabilities, but the legal provisions are not always implemented. Families
typically care for most individuals with physical and mental disabilities.
Police do not documented 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 3,231 in 2017 to 2,753 in 2018. 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. For more information, review OSAC’s report, Kidnapping: The Basics.
Police is the largest police force in Pakistan, numbering over 180,000 active
members. However, funding, resources, and training for the police (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 through computerization and modernization. In 2018, Lahore
city is monitored through approximately 10,000 surveillance cameras under the
phased 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 the license plate number.
How to Handle Incidents
of Police Detention or Harassment
American Citizen Services (ACS) can assist when
a U.S. citizen is arrested, missing, a victim of violent crime, becomes ill/dies,
or when there is otherwise a need for immediate help.
Crime Victim Assistance
can contact the police by dialing the nationwide police emergency number, 15. Police response times are generally
between 15-25 minutes, depending
on the location and traffic conditions.
For an after-hours emergency anywhere in Punjab
Province south of the Jehlum River and the districts south of and including
Leiah, and Dera Ghazi Khan, the ACS contact number is +92 (51) 201-4000 or 5000.
The Consulate General can provide information
on local resources and contact family members in the U.S. so that they can make
necessary decisions and provide financial and other support.
medical care equivalent to Western standards in Pakistan is only available
within the major cities. Most Pakistani hospitals possess limited advanced
life-support equipment and may not be up to U.S. standards.
Punjab Emergency Service (Rescue 1122) is Punjab’s premier emergency response
unit. Should travelers encounter a medical emergency or a fire, they can 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 traffic conditions.
Contact Information for Available Medical
For medical assistance, refer to the
Consulate’s Medical Assistance page.
Available Air Ambulance Services
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
Confirm overseas hospitalization and medical
coverage with your insurer before travel. Medical facilities require
pre-payment. Local hospitals generally do not accept insurance as payment; travelers
must instead seek reimbursement from their insurers.
Country-specific Vaccination and Health
Take 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. For more information, refer to
OSAC’s report, I’m Drinking What in My
The CDC recommends vaccinations for hepatitis A
and B, typhoid, Japanese encephalitis (for prolonged travel), polio, and rabies.
Prevent insect 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 Government of Pakistan has implemented the polio
vaccination for travelers’ guidelines recommended by the World Health
Organization (WHO). 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.
Lahore air pollution continues to be a concern.
Air pollution generally increases during the winter months, due in part to
wood-burning for heating. Additional air pollution comes from agricultural
fires and industrial estates. The resulting smoke can cause respiratory
irritation and discomfort to individuals suffering from asthma or other
respiratory conditions. The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and
health guidance for Pakistan.
OSAC Country Council
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.
Consulate Location and Contact Information
Consulate Address and Hours of Operation
50 Empress Road, Lahore
Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday
General Lahore Switchboard: +92-42-3603-4000
Consulate General Lahore
Marine Security Guard Post One: +92-42-3603-4104
Nearby Posts: Embassy Islamabad, Consulate Karachi,
with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) for further information about the current situation in
areas where you are planning to travel.
Additional Resource: Pakistan Country Information