Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Safety During the Ashura Holiday

This Security Message informs U.S. citizens of increased safety concerns and security restrictions during the Ashura holiday. From now through October 25, there will be a number of large gatherings and moving processions across the country. In preparation, the Government of Pakistan is expected to mobilize several thousand additional police officers and military personnel throughout the country.

Muharram processions are solemn religious events and are not tourist attractions. The processions, and related events, are often unpredictable. Previous processions have occasionally become violent, resulting in multiple deaths and/or 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.

In previous years, there have been large-scale disruptions to cell-phone service. Processions will cause major road closures and/or traffic delays in most cities throughout the country. We urge you to pay attention to local media for security updates and planned procession routes.
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. to 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. to 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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