LONDON: British High Commission officials have denied media reports claiming that the UK government had added Pakistan to the list of dangerous countries.

In a recent update, the Foreign and Common­wea­lth Development Office (FCDO) has added eight additional destinations, including Israel and Gaza, to the list of places deemed ‘too dangerous’ for UK citizens to visit.

Indian media reports, as well as some local websites, had wrongly reported that Pakistan was “off limits” for travel according to a UK government advisory. But officials told Dawn there was no change in Pakistan’s travel advisory status which was last updated on January 24, as per the UK government’s website.

Several reports mentioned a ‘black list’ and ‘red list’, misstating that Pakistan was included in the latter, but officials confirmed to Dawn that there were no black or red lists and that each country has its own travel advice.

The UK’s FCDO has similar travel advisories for both India and Pakistan. “FCDO advises against all travel to within 10 miles of the border between Pakis­tan and Afghanistan” and “the Line of Control,” says the advisory for Pakistan.

The warning for India is identical to Pakistan, and UK citizens are warned against travelling to Manipur and parts of India-held Kashmir.

The advisory for Pakis­tan also warns against tra­v­e­lling to KP and Baloch­istan areas, including Bajaur, Bannu, Buner, Charsadda, D.I. Khan, Khyber, Kohat, Kurram, Lakki Marwat, Lower Dir, Mohmand, Orakzai, Peshawar, Swat, Tank, North Waziristan, South Waziristan and Gwadar.

‘Too dangerous’

The eight countries declared ‘too dangerous’ to travel for UK citizens are Ukraine, Iran, Sudan, Leb­a­non, Israel, Belarus, and the Palestinian territories.

They have joined Afgha­n­is­tan, Syria and Yemen, already designated as high-risk destinations.

The expansion of the ‘too dangerous’ list underscores the ongoing volatility and threats present in these regions.

With conflicts and tensions escalating in several areas, the FCDO has urged British nationals to avoid non-essential travel to these destinations for their own safety.

The FCDO regularly issues travel advice for its citizens to consider before making travel plans to other countries.

Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2024

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