Now that we’re safely through that part of the world, I’ll share the letter sent to me by the Australian Consulate in Islamabad. I emailed them at the request of the Pakistan consulate in Canberra, to register our travel. I didnt include their response in our visa application for obvious reasons.
It seems that the Australian goverment’s stance on travel anywhere except New Zealand is that it’s dangerous, dont go! They have travel advisory warnings for every country we have been in since leaving home… crazy.
No doubt Pakistan is a dangerous country to travel in, and some parts are definite no go zones for travellers, we didnt go to those parts. But equally it was an incredibly interesting place to see, full of welcoming generous people. It’s a shame that the actions of a minute few give the entire country such a bad reputation.
Enough of that, here’s the letter…
Thank you for your email and sharing your travel plans with us.
We wish to reiterate that your proposed travel from Islamabad to China border crossing through the Pakistan province of KPK is dangerous and we strongly urge you to reconsider this. As stated in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) travel advice for Pakistan there is a high threat of kidnapping across the whole of Pakistan, but particularly in Karachi, Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). We recommend that Australians not travel to these areas.
In addition to reading the DFAT travel advice for Pakistan and the other countries you will be visiting, we would also like to draw your attention to DFAT’s travel advice on kidnapping, which can be found at http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/TravelBulletins/Kidnapping and on terrorism, which can be found athttp://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/TravelBulletins/Terrorist_Threat
There is no way you can ensure your safety while travelling by road across KPK. Even hiring local armed escorts is no guarantee of your safety. You need to carefully consider the impact on you, your family and friends, resulting from possible kidnap, injury or death including very large financial ransom demands in the event of kidnapping. We urge you to seriously reconsider this part of your plan and to avoid those provinces in Pakistan where we recommend no travel and reconsider any need to travel through other provinces.
Given the Australian Government’s advice against travel across Pakistan, we regret we are unable to provide a letter stating that such a visit is welcome.
If you proceed with this travel, you should ensure that you have personal security measures in place, seek professional security advice and take out appropriate insurance. You should also register your travel and contact details online at DFAT’s Smartraveller website before you travel, and subscribe to the travel advice for the countries you are visiting so you can receive updates should the security environment change in those locations.
With regard to travel insurance, make sure your travel insurance covers all medical expenses for injury or illness, as well as theft of valuables and damage to baggage etc. Check the policy’s exclusions and be aware that it is unlikely to cover you for areas that are assessed as ‘Do not travel’ by DFAT. Please make sure the insurance covers you for all of your activities and for all of the countries you intend to visit, noting any of the policy’s requirements for driving a personal vehicle.
Consular and Passports Manager
Australian High Commission Islamabad
Ph +92 51 835 5500 | Fax +92 51 282 0114