After Pakistan was rocked several blasts on Sunday, Australia on Monday issued a new travel advisory for its citizens in Pakistan urging them to increase caution and limit travel within the city.
“Australian officials in Islamabad have been advised to increase vigilance and limit travel within the city. You should exercise heightened vigilance and monitor the media for the latest updates,” read the advisory.
Earlier on Sunday, the US government warned its citizens of information that unknown individuals are possibly planning an attack at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad during the holidays.
“Heightened security arrangements are in place and public events have been banned,” read the US Govt advisory.
Many army officials and civilians lost their lives as the country battles a fresh wave of terrorism. On Sunday, at least seven blasts took place in Pakistan’s Balochistan where 5 army personnel were killed and 19 others were injured.
According to Dawn, at least 15 people were injured in five separate grenade blasts in Balochistan on Sunday, officials confirmed.
Meanwhile, 5 Pakistan Army personnel were killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) during a clearance operation in Balochistan’s Kahan area, the military’s media wing confirmed.
Separately, in Quetta, at least four people were injured in a grenade blast on the Sabzal Road in Pakistan’s Quetta, according to a statement by Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo, reported The Dawn.
The Australian government also advised against travelling to Balochistan or Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa due to the risk of kidnapping.
“Many terrorist groups hostile to Western interests operate in Pakistan. Don’t travel to Balochistan or Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (except Chitral district). The risk of attack is the highest in these locations. If you travel to other parts of Pakistan, be cautious. Avoid crowded places and possible targets. Always have an exit plan,” read the Australian travel advisory.
Violent crime, including armed robbery, assault, carjacking, and kidnapping, occurs across Pakistan. The risk of kidnapping is very high in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
“If, despite our advice, you travel to these areas, get professional security advice. If you must go to Chitral district or Gilgit Baltistan, travel by commercial aircraft and not by road,” read the advisory.
It also advised avoiding large public gatherings. “Political and religious protests are common and can turn violent. Political, sectarian and gang violence often occurs in Karachi. Avoid large public gatherings. If you’re caught in a rally, find a safe place and stay indoors,” it further read.
On the volatile Afghanistan border, it read, “Foreigners must not travel within 50km of the Afghanistan border in Gilgit Baltistan or within 15km of the Kashmir Line of Control or the entire border with India except at official crossings. If you’re in an area close to the border, consider leaving.”
Meanwhile, a flag of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) hoisted on an electric pylon in Mir Ali Market, North Waziristan Tribal District was reported by locals and taken down.
TTP is allied with the Taliban, who seized power in neighbouring Afghanistan in August last year. The radical Islamic outfit has stepped up attacks since it announced the end of an Afghan Taliban-brokered ceasefire with the government in November.
Last month, TTP called off a shaky ceasefire with the government and ordered fighters to stage attacks across the country.
The TTP has conducted dozens of major attacks in Pakistan. In Bannu, over two dozen TTP fighters at a police station in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa took guns from seven security personnel on duty and took them hostage. The militants had also fired upon the security personnel, reportedly injuring a CTD man and a soldier.
The rise in the TTP attacks in Bannu has pushed the authorities to declare the district as a terrorist troublespot, reported The Dawn.
In 2022, TTP killed more than 150 Pakistanis in multiple attacks. Since the end of the ceasefire, TTP conducted 33 attacks in which 35 security personnel were killed, claims TTP. (ANI)
This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.