§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of Stale for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Chris Mullin)
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has changed its travel advice for Pakistan with effect from 7 July 2003.
We previously advised British Nationals other than those of Pakistani origin:46WSagainst all but essential travel to Pakistan for which there is a compelling reason and where they have confidence in the security arrangements for the entire visit;against holiday travel to Pakistan and, to leave Pakistan unless they have a compelling reason to stay and unless they also have confidence in their security arrangements.
We are now advising British Nationals:against holiday travel unless they have family contacts there;if they are travelling to Pakistan for professional or holiday reasons, they should be very careful about, and confident of, their personal security arrangements throughout their visit.
Our previous advice was drafted against the backdrop of escalating tensions between India and Pakistan in 2002, a number of terrorist attacks against Western targets (including Pakistani Christian institutions) in 2002 and unrest in Pakistan following coalition action in Afghanistan and, more recently, in Iraq.
We reviewed this advice taking into account the recent improvement in India/Pakistan relations, post-conflict stabilisation efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, the action taken by the Pakistani authorities against al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups in Pakistan and the relative decrease in the number of terrorist attacks against Western targets thus far this year.
We believe that our advice needs to reflect these improvements, but without underplaying the risks to the British public. Our advice continues to underline that Pakistan remains a hostile environment for Western interests. It also underlines the serious risk of terrorism throughout Pakistan and the risk of indiscriminate attacks against Western targets.
Visibly Western targets and individuals are more vulnerable to attack than British citizens of Pakistani origin and our advice makes this clear. We are therefore advising British nationals against holiday travel unless they have family contacts in Pakistan. Our advice also highlights the need for all visitors travelling to Pakistan (for business, holiday, visiting family or other purposes) to be very careful about, and confident of, their personal security arrangements throughout their visit.