Event: This Security Message informs U.S. citizens of increased safety concerns and security restrictions during the upcoming Ashura holiday. From now through August 9, there will be a number of large gatherings and moving processions across Pakistan, including in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Karachi, and Peshawar. In preparation, the Government of Pakistan is expected to mobilize several thousand additional police officers and military personnel.
The U.S. Mission to Pakistan urges U.S. citizens to keep a low profile and avoid all procession routes and areas where large crowds of any kind gather. Depending on ongoing security assessments, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates may place tourist attractions, hotels, markets, shopping malls, places of worship, and restaurants off-limits to official personnel. U.S. government personnel in some locations will be under movement restrictions around and during the Ashura period of Muharram, July 30-August 9.
Processions will cause major road closures and/or traffic delays in most cities throughout the country. In previous years, there have been large-scale disruptions to cell-phone service. The U.S. Mission to Pakistan urges U.S. citizens to pay attention to local media for security updates and planned procession routes and maintain good situational awareness and operational security wherever they travel in Pakistan. U.S. citizens should carry appropriate identity documents when in Pakistan and should cooperate with police and security forces in any encounter. For additional information, please consult Pakistan Travel Advisory.
Actions to Take:
- Follow the above guidance.
- Visit the Department of State website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
- Review the Country Security Report for Pakistan.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program(STEP) to receive security alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Remain aware of your surroundings and local events.
- Vary travel routes and schedules, especially for routine trips.
- Be cognizant of your surroundings, particularly around public markets, restaurants, government and military institutions, places of worship, and other locations.
- Review your personal security plans.
- Have a contingency plan for emergencies.
- Monitor local media for updates.
- Avoid large crowds.
- Exercise caution if unexpectedly in the vicinity of a large gathering and/or demonstration.
- Maintain a low profile.
All U.S. Mission facilities in Pakistan, including the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad and Consulates General in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar, are scheduled to be closed on Monday, August 8, 2022, and Tuesday, August 9, 2022, in observance of the Ashura holiday. We will reopen on Wednesday, August 10, 2022. For emergency assistance, please see the contact information below.
U.S. Embassy Islamabad, Pakistan
U.S. Consulate General, Karachi
+(92)(21) 3527 5000
U.S. Consulate General, Lahore
+(92) (42) 3603 4000
U.S. Consulate General, Peshawar
+(92) (91) 526 8800
State Department – Consular Affairs
888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444