Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Islamabad – Security Precautions during Ashura Processions

U.S. Embassy Islamabad, Pakistan

This Security Message updates U.S. citizens of planned processions in Islamabad during the 8th to 11th of Muharram (Ashura).  The U.S. Embassy expects very large processions of up to 50,000 participants in and around Islamabad from Thursday, October 22 through Sunday, October 25.  We anticipate heavy police presence throughout the city and in the vicinity of the larger scheduled processions.  Many roads will be blocked or heavily congested.  If you are on the road during this period, you should remain alert to your surroundings and be prepared for unexpected road closures.   In previous years, there have been large-scale disruptions to cell-phone service.  We expect the same this year.  We urge you to pay attention to local media for security updates and planned procession routes.  Seehere (PDF 586 KB) for maps of the largest processions.

Date: Thursday, October 22, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Location:  Jamia Tul Murtaza G-9/4 to Jamia Al-Sadiq G-9/2, Karachi Company.  10 km via Rohtas Road, Karachi Company G-9 Markaz area and Street 11, G-9/4.

Participants: 8,000 to 10,000

Date: Friday, October 23, 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Location:  Imam Bargah G-6/2 to Melody Market (surrounding areas in G-6).  7th Avenue will be closed to all traffic during the procession.

Participants:  30,000 – 40,000

Date: Saturday, October 24, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Location:  Tali Mohallah to Col. Maqbool Imam Bargah Raja Bazar, via Tali Mohalla to Raja Bazar, Old Fort, Jamia Mosque Road, Qadeemi Imam Bargah, Rawalpindi

Participants:  40,000 to 50,000

Date:  Sunday, October 25, 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Location:  Barri Imam Shrine and surrounding areas 3 km North of Diplomatic Enclave

Participants:  8,000 – 10,000

Muharram processions are solemn religious events and are not tourist attractions.  The processions, and related events, are often unpredictable.  Previous processions have become violent, resulting in multiple deaths and injuries.  Protests, resulting in further restrictions on movement to include the closure of major highways, motorways, and main roads within major cities, have also occurred.

The U.S. Mission to Pakistan urges U.S. citizens to avoid all published procession routes and reminds citizens that U.S. government personnel may not visit mosques and other places of worship located outside the Diplomatic Enclave.  U.S. government personnel will be under movement restrictions around and during the Muharram period of Ashura, October 23-25.  U.S. citizens are reminded to keep a low profile and to avoid large gatherings, including processions, during this religious holiday.

For further information:

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Pakistan Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan, located at Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5, Islamabad, Pakistan, by phone at (+92) (51) 208-0000 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.– 4:30 p.m., or by email at  For After-Hours Emergencies, call 051 208-0000 within Pakistan.  Contact the U.S. Consulate General in Karachi, located at Plot 3, 4, 5, New TPX Area Mai Kolachi Road, Karachi, by email at, or by phone at (+92) (21) 3527-5000, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  For After-Hours Emergencies involving U.S. citizens in Sindh or Balochistan, call 021 3527-5000 within Pakistan.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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