ISLAMABAD: In a major breakthrough, the United Kingdom (UK) has changed its travel advisory for its citizens to reflect the improved security situation in Pakistan as Britons are allowed for travel by road to the North of Pakistan as well as the Kalash and Bamboret Valleys.
The announcement is the result of a comprehensive review of UK travel advice for Pakistan, based on a wide-ranging assessment of the country’s security situation. This is the first major update in the travel advice since 2015.
The improved security situation allowed for the return of British Airways to Pakistan in June 2019 and the visit by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in October 2019. Among other changes, the advice now allows for travel by road to the North of Pakistan as well as the Kalash and Bamboret Valleys.
Dr Christian Turner, British High Commissioner to Pakistan said that following his arrival in Pakistan in December 2019, he had made this review of the travel advice a priority.
“It is great credit to the hard work of the Government of Pakistan in delivering improved security over the past five years. I am delighted that British nationals will be able to see more of what Pakistan has to offer,’’ he added.
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides travel advice based on objective information to help British Nationals make better informed decisions about foreign travel.
The new travel advice for Pakistan reduces the section of the Karakoram Highway where the FCO advises against all travel to the area between Mansehra and Chilas alone (previous travel advice covered the full route from Islamabad to Gilgit). Travellers may bypass this section by taking the alternative route through the Kaghan Valley and Babusar Pass.
The FCO no longer advises against all but essential travel to the Kalesh and Bamboret Valleys.
The FCO advises against all travel to most of Balochistan including the city of Quetta. This is except for the southern coast of Balochistan, including the city of Gwadar, where the FCO advises against all but essential travel.
Like all FCO travel advice, these changes are based on security assessments, which are kept under constant review.
In 2018, there were an estimated 484,000 visits by British nationals to Pakistan. There are 22 weekly direct flights to the UK.