|06ISLAMABAD3253||2006-02-25 08:01:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Islamabad|
VZCZCXRO8749 PP RUEHPW DE RUEHIL #3253/01 0560801 ZNR UUUUU ZZH P 250801Z FEB 06 FM AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD TO AMCONSUL PESHAWAR PRIORITY 5517
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 ISLAMABAD 003253
1. Post welcomes and grants post clearance for the visit of
Gautam Rana for February 27, 2006. The purpose of the visit
is to attend the Avian Flu town hall meeting.
2. Control officer for the visit will be Mohammed Motiwala.
He can be reached at the following numbers: Embassy:
92-51-208-0000; Office: 92-51-208-2624; Fax: 92-51-208-2537;
3. Visitors must/must obtain separate post clearance if
they plan to visit any of the three Mission Pakistan
consulates (Karachi, Peshawar, Lahore) or any other areas
under the jurisdiction of the consulates. Most travel
outside of Islamabad will require separate post clearance.
Post clearance for the consulates should be requested via
cable to the consulate(s) on the planned itinerary.
4. Visas: Everyone arriving in Pakistan must/must have a
valid visa. If you do not have a valid visa, you will be
If you will be in Pakistan on TDY for more than 30 days,
ensure that you have a multiple entry visa that shows &Work
at the U.S. Embassy8 or &Official Business8 as the purpose
of your visit. If your visa does not contain this language,
your visa cannot be extended or renewed while in Pakistan and
you will have to physically leave the country to renew or
5. Electronic Equipment: Official travelers on temporary
duty, including non-State personnel, must coordinate the
transport of any USG provided electronic or photographic
equipment (to include laptops/electronic notebooks), and
receive RSO authorization prior to introducing the equipment
into the Chancery. No connectivity is allowed to State's
unclassified or classified networks. Personal electronic or
photographic equipment as well as camera/video capable cell
phones are not permitted in the Chancery.
6. Security: Islamabad and the three constituent consulates
in Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar are high-threat posts.
Employees assigned to Pakistan are unaccompanied and receive
danger pay. The Department of State Travel Warning for
Pakistan asks U.S. citizens to defer non-essential travel to
Pakistan because of the continued high security concerns
about terrorists in Pakistan. The Embassy approves only
essential official travel to Pakistan. All official visitors
to Islamabad must adhere to Embassy security standards and
procedures, and those staying more than one week must attend
a security briefing held every Tuesday at 10 a.m. TDY travel
outside of Islamabad requires RSO clearance. Travelers to
the consulates must follow RSO consulate security procedures.
The potential for continued threats to Americans in Pakistan
from Al-Qaida and other extremist elements remains real. A
car bomb damaged the U.S. consulate in Karachi in June 2002
and killed several by-standers. A grenade attack against the
Protestant International Church in Islamabad killed two
Embassy members and injured several others in March 2002.
American, Western, and Christian targets continue to be
threatened and attacked. Anti-Americanism remains strong
among certain elements of the population. For further
information about travel to Pakistan, U.S. citizens should
consult the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet
for Pakistan, available via the internet at
7. Hotel Security: Security at major hotels in Pakistan has
been generally good. However, extremist elements know that
westerners stay in and congregate at these hotels as evinced
by the May 2002 car bomb attack outside the Sheraton hotel in
Karachi that killed nearly a dozen French submarine
engineers. As well, an October 2004 there was a recent
bombing in the lobby of at the Islamabad Marriott that
injured a number of people, several seriously.
A. Post uses the Serena and Marriott Hotels for TDY
visitors. Based on our continuing review of the security
programs at both hotels, they may continue to be used to
house short-term (seven days or less) TDY visitors. All
agencies and sections that sponsor long-term TDY personnel
(eight days or longer) must move their personnel from one
hotel to the other after the seventh day and should consider,
where possible, the use of guest houses, residences currently
occupied by PCS or TDY employees of their agency or section,
or houses rented expressly for the use of long-term TDY
B. The guidelines below must be followed by all short-term
TDY personnel (seven days or less):
-- TDY personnel should minimize the time they spend in the
hotel lobby and adjoining areas.
-- TDY personnel should establish a transportation schedule
and adhere to it. They should not congregate in the lobby
area waiting for transportation, but should arrive in the
lobby for pick-up approximately one minute before scheduled
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-- The Marriott Hotel has a private dining room for Embassy
visitor use. Buffet breakfast service will be available
there. TDY personnel are also encouraged to take lunch or
dinner there, ordered directly from one of the restaurants
located in the hotel. There is no extra charge for this
service. Room service is also available at no extra charge.
-- TDY personnel should report any security concerns
directly and immediately to the Regional Security Office.
C. The Serena and the Marriott have been instructed to house
Embassy personnel in the backside away from the main roads
that run adjacent to the front/main entrances of the hotels.
Also, since fire fighting is not up to U.S. standards, post
recommends that TDY personnel stay on lower floors in the
hotels and familiarize themselves with the emergency exits on
theirs floors immediately after check-in. Valuables such as
money or jewelry should also not be left behind or hidden in
8. Public Transportation: for safety reasons, Americans are
prohibited from using taxis and all public transportation.
The Embassy requires that official visitors use its motor
Emergency telephone numbers:
American Embassy Islamabad 92-51-208-0000
Marine Security Guard (24 hrs) 92-51-208-2338
Regional Security Office 92-51-208-2203/2204
American Consulate Karachi 92-021-568-5170
American Consulate Peshawar 92-091-527-9801
American Consulate Lahore 92-042-603-4000
9. Embassy Motor Pool Services: Post maintains a 24-hour
motor pool. However, the demands on the motor pool have
increased considerably since September 2001 and motor pool
services may not be immediately available when you need them.
Accordingly, Post strongly urges all TDYers either to
provide a fund cite in their travel orders or come with
sufficient resources in hand for the purpose of renting a
vehicle and driver (if necessary). The Procurement Section
at Post can assist TDYers with vehicle rentals. Motor Pool
cars and drivers are available for airport pick up and
drop-offs. An International Driver,s License is not valid
10. Health: The Embassy Health Unit has provided the
following information to aid visitors and temporary duty
employees in Pakistan:
A. Facilities: There are health units at the embassy and
each of the three consulates. The Islamabad Health unit is
staffed by a Regional Medical Officer, a Foreign Service
Nurse Practitioner and two RNs. It provides routine medical
care and basic laboratory services during the workweek. It
does not supply medications for chronic medical conditions;
these must be brought with you. The facilities in Lahore,
Karachi and Peshawar are extremely limited in the services
they provide and are staffed by part-time local medical
providers. Official visitors traveling to or working at
those locations should bring all personal medicines with them
including over-the-counter drugs.
B. Access: Access to the Health Units at all Mission Pakistan
posts other than good samaritan, care is limited to
American citizen employees and contractors who are eligible
for Health Unit services. Good samaritan care is emergency
care designed to stabilize a patient until s/he can reach or
be reached by local medical practitioners.
The following American citizen employees and contractors are
ineligible/ineligible for Health Unit services:
NON-PERSONAL SERVICES (COMMERCIAL) CONTRACTORS
DIRECT HIRE EMPLOYEES PERMANENTLY ASSIGNED TO PAKISTAN
without a current medical clearance from the Department of
State,s Office of Medical Services (MED).
TDY DIRECT HIRE EMPLOYEES ABROAD FOR MORE THAN 60 DAYS IN A
CALENDAR YEAR without a current MED clearance.
PERSONAL SERVICES CONTRACTORS (PSCs) unless all of the
following conditions have been met:
-- The PSC has a current MED clearance.
-- The PSC,s contract stipulates that s/he is eligible for
MED services and requires the individual to have health
insurance coverage overseas.
-- The employing agency is paying for medical services under
ICASS and guarantees funding for the direct charge of local
hospitalization and medical evacuation.
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Agencies should review personal services contracts BEFORE the
arrival of PSCs to determine the status of Health Unit access
and must inform the Health Unit of eligible PSCs before they
arrive. PSCs must submit documentation proving eligibility
for services to the Health Unit.
The Health Unit can provide a copy of the Health Unit
Handbook to employees and contractors who are ineligible for
services. The Handbook contains a list of physicians to whom
the Health Unit refers patients and a list of acceptable
hospital facilities and pharmacies in Islamabad, Karachi,
Peshawar, and Lahore.
C. Food and Water-borne Illnesses: Visitors to Pakistan are
at high risk for water-borne and gastrointestinal illnesses.
Careful attention to the choice of food and beverages helps
to reduce the risks. Avoid salad bars and buffets while
eating at local restaurants; a la carte items are your safest
bet. Meat, eggs, and vegetables should always be thoroughly
cooked or steamed. Safe foods include steaming hot dishes,
rice, pasta, cooked vegetables served hot, and bread
products. Foods that are moist and served at room
temperature, especially peeled fruits, salads, sauces,
egg-based foods, mayonnaise-based dishes and buffet offerings
are risky. Avoid ice cream as well.
D. Drinks: Safe drinks include hot tea, coffee, and
carbonated beverages. Assume all tap water is contaminated
contrary to notices occasionally posted in some hotels or
elsewhere. The only exception to this rule is the tap water
on the embassy compound. Commercially available water
bottled in Pakistan has been found to be inconsistently safe
for consumption. Bottled water sold in our commissary has
been judged safe. Be sure the seals have not been broken.
Remember that freezing does not make water safe, so avoid ice
cubes unless you know they have been made from potable water.
Personal portable water purification systems are available
commercially at nominal cost and can easily be transported in
luggage as they are no larger than a tall mug. These devices
protect against bacteria as well as viruses and protozoa.
E. Malaria: Malaria is endemic to various regions in
Pakistan, and the risks of infection vary depending on
location, altitude and season. During the rainy season all
visitors are advised to take prophylaxis, especially those
traveling outside the major metropolitan centers or who make
frequent trips between the consulates and Embassy.
Mefloquine is the preferred prophylaxis and should be brought
with you during travel as it is unavailable in country except
at the mission health units. Doxycycline is an alternative
and is available in country. In conjunction with medication,
visitors must also take measures to reduce contact with
mosquitoes, such as wearing clothing that covers most of the
body and using an insect repellent containing DEET.
F. Immunizations: Visitor immunization records should be
reviewed by the Department,s Immunization Clinic prior to
departure. For short-term visitors the following
immunizations are recommended: hepatitis a, hepatitis b,
typhoid, and tetanus in addition to usual childhood
immunizations. The rabies series is also recommended for
Pakistan and should be completed before arriving in country.
The Health Unit in Islamabad can provide most vaccinations
except smallpox, which is only available in Washington. The
consulate health units can provide a limited number of
vaccinations depending on type needed and health unit
G. All TDY travelers are urged to take annual flu
vaccination before international travel. Vaccine will not be
available after the current vaccination program is complete
in November. Tamiflu, the flu treatment drug, is not
available in country. If travelers wish to obtain supplies
for travel, they will need to consult their local provider in
the U.S. for a supply prior to travel to Pakistan.
H. Emergency Medical Services: Emergency medical care is
extremely limited in Pakistan even in major cities. The
health units keep up-to-date lists of available facilities in
cities in which the embassy and consulates are located.
Travelers should arrange for medical evacuation insurance
either personally or through their sponsoring agency prior to
their arrival in country.
I. Automobile and Pedestrian Safety: Overseas automobile
accidents remain a major cause of death of expatriates abroad
and Pakistan is no exception. Further, vehicles in Pakistan
are driven on the left side of the road, which adds another
dimension to automobile and pedestrian safety if you are not
used to this traffic pattern. Avoid driving at night if at
all possible. Use seat belts in both rear and front seats,
and insist that your driver maintains a safe speed. Stay
alert crossing streets and intersections, especially after
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