The US State Department on Saturday cautioned American citizens to exercise vigilance during the upcoming general elections, scheduled for February 8.
In a travel advisory, it highlighted potential disruptions and safety concerns linked to political activities, such as marches, rallies, and speeches leading up to election day.
Acknowledging that public gatherings are intrinsic to the democratic process, the advisory underscored their capacity to impede traffic, disrupt transportation, and pose safety risks, as political events in Pakistan have previously become targets for violence.
US citizens intending to visit Pakistan were urged to stay vigilant and informed about the locations of political rallies in their planned areas. On election day, specific areas around polling stations were expected to be crowded, prompting non-participating US citizens to avoid these locations.
Additionally, disruptions to internet and cellular services were anticipated in the period leading up to, during, and immediately after the elections.
The State Department provided specific recommendations for US citizens, including avoiding areas with large public gatherings, exercising caution near demonstrations, reviewing personal security plans, monitoring local media for updates, maintaining a low profile, carrying identification and cooperating with local authorities.
The advisory encouraged enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (Step) for security updates, with additional information available on the US Embassy’s official website.
As Pakistan’s political landscape evolves ahead of the general elections, the US State Department reaffirmed its commitment to offering timely information and support to American citizens in the region. It urged citizens to stay informed and take necessary precautions for their safety amid heightened political activity.
For assistance, US citizens in Pakistan can contact the US Embassy in Islamabad and the US Consulate Generals in Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar, as well as the State Department’s Consular Affairs in Washington.
To find your constituency and location of your polling booth, SMS your NIC number (no spaces) to 8300. Once you know your constituency, visit the ECP website here for candidates.