The United Kingdom (UK) has issued a new travel advisory for Pakistan amid multiple PIA flights cancelled to and from Gilgit and Skardu.
The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) recently cancelled multiple flights to and from Gilgit and Skardu. “There are no other carriers available. With road routes likely to be restricted by seasonal weather, options to leave may become limited,” a statement said.
The cancellation of flights is compounded by seasonal weather restrictions, with the Babusar Pass susceptible to closure due to heavy snowfall, potentially hampering road travel in the region.
The UK Foreign Office said travellers in the affected areas are advised to consult their airline and travel agent for guidance on alternative travel arrangements.
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides travel advisories, advising against all travel to several districts and regions in Pakistan due to security concerns.
It advises against all but essential travel to specific areas in Pakistan, including some regions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and Sindh Province.
The FCDO emphasized the importance of checking Pakistan's current entry restrictions and requirements, which may change with little warning. Travelers are advised to stay updated on this information and maintain contact with their travel providers.
If travelers plan to transit through another country on their way back to the UK, they should also check the travel advice for the transit country.
The FCDO recommended obtaining comprehensive travel insurance that provides sufficient coverage, and they offer guidance on foreign travel insurance.
“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Pakistan was a popular destination for British nationals, with most visits being trouble-free. However, current circumstances present unique challenges,” the statement said.
The advisory mentions recent protests in Skardu, Gilgit Baltistan, and the potential for further protests and road closures in the region, with gatherings of four or more people banned and disruptions to mobile phone and data networks.
Travelers are urged to exercise caution and stay informed about local developments, especially in relation to political rallies and protests.