Is Pakistan safe for tourists?

Security for travelers in Pakistan is intense.

There are rifle-wielding guards everywhere.

When you approach the airport in Karachi, you have to pass through a couple of check-points before you ever get to the airport. At the checkpoint, there will be a guard with a rifle pointed straight at you a little ways away. Then beyond him is another guard with a pointed rifle. Past him is a third, and past him is a fourth. That way if the first misses, there’s back-up.

The university where Jassim was at hires lots of security escorts, and they tag along, whether you’re going around town or visiting a historic site.

If you’re a man, at least, they are willing to take a selfie with you, dressed in their camouflage and beards.

One time, Jassim and a party of people from the university wanted to visit some ruin. The university security escorts approved the trip, so everyone set out. Halfway there, however, they came upon a security checkpoint. That checkpoint declared that after all, the party could not pass because there was a person with an American passport (Jassim) and another person with a Swedish passport in the group. It’s not that they don’t want Americans and Swedes to visit this place, but apparently there’s psychos in the region, and if someone lets it slip that foreigners are coming, they try to blow everyone up. They don’t just try to blow up the person with the foreign passport, but all the Pakistanis who are also on the trip with them. Apparently, a bus was blown up in that way a few years ago, and ever since, they’ve been taking extra precautions. The fear is that an evil person working at the hotel where the foreigners are staying will tip off his psycho buddies on the road, who will wait for the coming caravan and welcome it with explosions. Or maybe, it’s a person in the security forces themselves who tip off the psycho buddies down the road.

After a one hour discussion between the security checkpoint people and the security escort, Jassim and the man with the Swedish passport decided they would come back to their hotel alone, so at least the rest of the party could be allowed to continue.

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