WASHINGTON: The US State Department has issued a new travel warning, asking US citizens to delay all non-essential travel to Pakistan.
The warning comes in the light of the protests in Pakistan over the controversial film Innocence of Muslims.
Earlier this week, similar warnings against travel by US citizens to Tunisia, Libya, Lebanon, Sudan and Algeria had already been issued by the State Department.
The warnings highlight protests and political rallies against the US, NATO and its ISAF force, drone strikes, and Pakistan’s ongoing energy crisis.
Over the past week, there have been dozens of protests around Pakistan against the low-budget film Innocence of Muslims, killing at least two people. And for the first time on Thursday, protests in the capital turned violent.
Police fired tear gas and live rounds as the protesters, chanting “We are ready to die to safeguard the Prophet’s (pbuh) honour,” tried to break through a barrier of truck containers set up to block access to Islamabad’s heavily guarded diplomatic enclave.
The area is home to most Western embassies, including the US, British and French missions.
The crudely made film mocking Islam, has triggered protests in at least 20 countries since excerpts were posted online, and more than 30 people have been killed in violence linked to the clips.
Earlier this week, the US ordered non-essential diplomatic staff and their relatives to leave Sudan and Tunisia following violent anti-American protests sparked by the film.
The State Department has also updated its travel warnings for Algeria and Lebanon in the last week.