Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"FYI : TRAVEL REPORT - for Canadians Traveling to Pakistan," Travel Video TV, December 31, 2008.

OFFICIAL WARNING: Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against non-essential travel to Pakistan. Canadians choosing to travel to Pakistan despite this warning should evaluate carefully the implications for their security and safety. Canadians already in Pakistan should consider leaving if their presence is not necessary, as means of transportation may be disrupted or become limited without notice. The Government of Canada does not permit infants and school-aged dependants of Canadian government personnel to live in Pakistan. The High Commission of Canada in Islamabad has instructed Canada-based staff to limit their movements in Islamabad until further notice.

The security situation remains fragile and unpredictable. The terrorist threat remains very high. Terrorist attacks have occurred throughout Pakistan, causing many deaths and injuries, most notably since the beginning of 2008. Extremism, sectarian strife, regional political disputes and the situation in Afghanistan are usually the reasons behind these attacks. Pakistani institutions are generally the targets. However, there have also been attacks in public areas, such as hotels, markets, transportation hubs, Western-style fast food outlets, restaurants, and religious sites, including places frequented by foreigners. Only the very best hotels, with stringent security, including metal detectors, should be used; however, these hotels may also become targets. Mosques and their vicinities at prayer times, especially on Fridays, should be avoided. Canadians should be particularly vigilant in the lead up to and on days of national significance, such as Independence Day (August 14), National Day (March 23), the Islamic month of Muharram (which started on December 29, 2008) and the Muslim holiday of Eid al Fitr (October 1-5 this year). Large cities, such as Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar, are particularly vulnerable to indiscriminate bombings and other attacks. During the homecoming of Benazir Bhutto to Karachi on October 18, 2007, two bomb explosions caused over 125 deaths and a large number of people were injured. Benazir Bhutto herself was assassinated by a suicide bomber on December 27, 2007. On August 21, 2008, bomb blasts at an arms plant in Taxila killed 63 people and injured over 100 others.

The document is lengthy and contains other important imformation here =>
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