Pakistan is one of those countries that sets off alarm bells in the minds of friends and family – you're going where? Their reaction is understandable, given the news coverage of Pakistan over the past 20 years, and there's no doubt that some areas just aren't worth the risk. That said, you can rest assured that Intrepid would not take you anywhere unless we were convinced it was safe and trust us, there's more – so much more – to Pakistan than the media would have you believe.
The Pakistan Government has been fighting a war against terrorism for many years now. Terrorist activity peaked in 2009 but has decreased greatly in the decade since. A lot of this was concentrated in the regions bordering Afghanistan, like the Federally Administered Tribal areas and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, neither of which Intrepid visit. Both the Australian and UK governments also advise against travelling into the Balochistan region because of the risk of terrorism, but Intrepid's expeditions are limited to the Punjab region and Northern areas.
Pakistan's relationship with India is notoriously prickly. The eastern border (India's western border) has been the subject of debate and violence since both countries gained their independence in 1947. The main point of contention is the mountainous Kashmir region to the east of Islamabad, and the Australian and UK governments advise against all travel into this area as well as all sections of the border. Intrepid does visit the border at Wahga, just outside of Lahore, but this crossing is further south and is relatively secure with an entertaining flag-lowering performance every day. Pakistan and Afghanistan also have issues with their border and Intrepid does not travel anywhere in the west of the country because of the poor security situation.
Where does Intrepid travel to in Pakistan?
Intrepid's expeditions travel to Lahore, Islamabad and the Gilgit-Baltistan region. To mitigate security risks on the southern sections of the Karakoram Highway, we fly to Gilgit and use private vehicles to head north up the Hunza Valley towards the Chinese border. This area is remote, surrounded by mountains and far removed from Afghanistan and Kashmir. Our itineraries and leaders do all they can to minimise risk to our travellers.