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Pakistan 2017 Crime & Safety Report: Lahore

South Central Asia > Pakistan; South Central Asia > Pakistan > Lahore

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

U.S. Consulate Lahore does not assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms appearing in this report. The ACS Unit cannot recommend a particular individual or location and assumes no responsibility for the quality of service provided.

THE 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.

Please review OSAC’s Pakistan-specific webpage for proprietary analytic reports, Consular Messages, and contact information.

On many occasions, the U.S. Department of State has issued travel warnings and emergency messages to U.S. citizens, advising them of the inherent dangers associated with travel to Pakistan. This report describes significant crime, security, and safety issues that affect foreign visitors to Punjab, in general, and Lahore, in particular. Crime and safety are ongoing concerns for foreigners throughout Pakistan, including Lahore, a major city with a population of approximately 10 million people. All statistics provided were obtained from local law enforcement sources.

Crime Threats

Carjacking, 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 2016, the overall reports of criminal activity in Lahore decreased by 1.38 percent. In 2015, there were 86,707 crimes of all kinds reported to or cited by the police, as compared to 85,510 in 2016. 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 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 considered to be misdemeanors in the U.S.]

 

 

2015

2016

% Change

Violent Crimes Against Persons- Lahore City Figures

Murder

445

440

-1.12 %

Rape

144

60

-58.33%

Gang Rape

35

5

-85.71%

Hurt (Assault)

1,112

935

-15.91%

Attempted Murder

622

700

+12.54%

Kidnapping/Abduction

699

1,054

+50.78%

Property Crimes- Lahore City Figures

Total Property Crime

26,221

25,210

-3.85%

Burglary

4,619

7,556

+38.86 %

Robbery

4,445

4,410

-0.78%

Dacoity (Banditry)

101

96

-4.95%

Vehicle Theft

6,320

6,881

+8.87%

Motor Bike Snatching

457

528

+15.53 %

Car Snatching

41

47

+14.63

Motor Bike Theft

6,454

5,930

-8.11%

Transportation-Safety Situation

Road Safety and Road Conditions

The quality of roads in Punjab is 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.

There are a number of factors that 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 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. 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.”

Traffic 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 navigation.

Public Transportation Conditions

U.S. citizens are strongly advised to avoid using non-dispatched taxis and other forms of public transportation and are encouraged to have members of their host organizations or families meet them at the airport. Hotels are often able to arrange airport transfers.   

Public 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 2016, 206 people died in road accidents in Lahore.

Terrorism Threat

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED LAHORE AS BEING A CRITICAL-THREAT LOCATION FOR TERRORIST ACTIVITY DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.

In 2016, there was an overall decrease in the number of terrorist attacks in Pakistan; however, terrorist groups have focused their efforts on minority religious groups and Pakistani government targets, with an emphasis on security and law enforcement facilities and personnel.

  • On March 27, 2016, a suicide attack took place in Gulshan-E-Iqbal Park, approximately 12 kilometers from the Consulate General. 75 people were killed, while 350 others were injured. TTP (Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan) claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that it was conducted against Christians in the midst of the Easter celebration.
  • On February 26, 2016, the government announced that all government and private schools would be closed February 26-31, 2016. The government claimed it was because of cold weather but later revealed that the closure was because of an overarching security threat. The government exercised this show of caution after Batcha Khan University in KPK was attacked; 21 students and teachers were killed in the attack.

 

Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence

THE 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.

Civic Unrest

Political violence is common in Lahore and rural Punjab.

  • On November 11, 2016, Young Doctors Association (YDA) conducted a sit-in on Mall Road to outline their demands. They partially closed Mall Road, one of Lahore’s major thoroughfares, for two days. They boycotted hospitals and announced that they would remain on the streets if their demands were not addressed by the government. After two days of protest, the police removed the YDA from their protest sites.
  • Kisan Ittehad conducted a day-long protest on Mall Road on September 29, 2016. Thousands of farmers gathered on Mall Road and blocked traffic. They demanded that the government provide them free electricity and farming tools. This protest kept the city almost paralyzed for the entire day. They ended their protest after successful negotiations with the government.
  • On August 21, 2016, a political worker of PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) was killed in the Shah Almi area of Lahore. He was gunned down as a consequence of his work as a municipal representative.   
  • On July 14, 2016, YDA launched movements across Lahore in favor of their demands. At multiple locations, they established protest camps, boycotted the hospitals, and announced that they would remain on the streets if their demands were not addressed by the government. In several locations, these protest turned violent when police tried to remove them from the roads. Some of the young doctors sustained minor injuries. It paralyzed the city’s vehicular traffic.
  • On May 31, 2016, medical nurses of the government hospitals conducted a sit-in on Mall Road at Assembly Hall to revisit long-standing demands. They boycotted the hospitals and occupied Mall Road for two consecutive days, affecting traffic. They abandoned their protest when they were assured that their demands would be addressed by the government.

  • Religious/Ethnic Violence

    Additionally, sectarian violence continues to occur.

  • In 2016, many religious groups staged protests and rallies against the execution of Mumtaz Qadri, the assassin of the former governor of Punjab. Mumtaz Qadri was a police bodyguard of the former governor, and he killed the governor for his stance against the blasphemy laws. Mumtaz Qadri was executed following his capital sentencing by the courts.


Post-Specific Concerns

Environmental Hazards

Pakistan experienced flooding in the Punjab from July-September 2016; thousands of people were affected, killing over 30 people and injuring more than 100, and several villages and houses were destroyed. The power and road infrastructure were impacted by the flooding. 

Industrial safety standards in Punjab do not meet U.S. standards, and pollution from raw sewage and industrial waste is commonly dumped where convenient.

Personal Identity Concerns

Travelers are strongly encouraged to wear conservative attire that blends in and does not easily identify them as being a Westerner. Clothing that is military in nature or displays Western sports teams or immediately associates you with the U.S. is discouraged. Women are advised to keep their arms and legs covered, and headscarves should be worn when visiting any religious site.

Kidnapping Threat

Reports of kidnappings in the greater Punjab region decreased to 1,900 in 2016 from 2,810 in 2015. In Pakistan, kidnap reporting encompasses crimes that have a broad base of motives; kidnapping for ransom, sexual exploitation, property disputes, elopement, and others.  

Police Response

The Punjab 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 of many processes.

How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment

American Citizen Services (ACS) Units 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

Travelers can contact the police by dialing the country-wide police emergency number: 15. Police response times are generally between 15 and 25 minutes.   

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) (42) 3603-4000. Please ask to be connected with the consular duty officer.

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 Emergencies

Emergency 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.

The 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 to 10 minutes, depending on the location and traffic conditions.

Insurance Guidance

Travelers should arrange for medical evacuation insurance prior to arriving in Pakistan.

Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance

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. Dozens of roads/bridges are being rebuilt around the city, adding to the ambient dust. The government has no proper system in place to get rid of the construction dust. In addition, poorly maintained two-stroke Rickshaw motor bikes and other transportation contribute to the city’s pollution. Per the District Government’s Environmental Department, the two-stroke rickshaws are responsible for 65% of the total vehicular pollution in Lahore. The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Pakistan.

OSAC Country Council Information

There is currently no active Country Council in Lahore. Please contact OSAC’s South and 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 Location and Contact Information

Consulate Address and Hours of Operation

50 Empress Road
Lahore, Pakistan 54000

Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri, 0800-1630

Consulate Contact Numbers

Consulate General Lahore Switchboard:  +92-42-3603-4000
Consulate General Lahore Marine Security Guard Post One:  +92-42-3603-4104
Website: https://pk.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/lahore/

Nearby Posts

Embassy Islamabad: https://pk.usembassy.gov/
Consulate Karachi: https://pk.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/karachi/
Consulate Peshawar: https://pk.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/peshawar/

Information describing how to contact the embassy or one of the consulates general directly is also available on the Internet on the
Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

Representatives of the Overseas Citizen Services call center (1-888-407-4747) can answer general inquiries regarding safety and security overseas. The number is manned from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).  Callers unable to use toll-free numbers may obtain information and assistance during the same hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.

Consulate Guidance

Enroll with the “Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) for further information about the current situation in areas where you are planning to travel.

Additional Resources

Pakistan Country Information Sheet

For additional security information, please refer to U.S. government-issued consular information sheets, travel warnings, and public announcements relating to Pakistan, including:
Pakistan Travel Warning
Worldwide Caution Message

Economist Intelligence Unit