Risk Level: Two - Danger exists

[ about risk levels ]
Couple of issues: Conflict with India in the Kashmir region in the northeastern corner of Pakistan, and concentration of terrorist group representation in the country.

The primary risk in Pakistan’s airspace (the OPKR/Karachi and OPLR/Lahore FIRs) is from military activity by Pakistan and India in the disputed Kashmir region, which poses a potential inadvertent risk to aviation at all altitudes, particularly in the OPLR/Lahore FIR. Pakistan closed its airspace to overflights from Feb-Aug 2019, following escalating clashes with India in this region, with numerous airstrikes on both sides.

Several countries have long-standing airspace warnings for Pakistan which advise against overflights at the lower levels. Diversion/Landing in Pakistan is recommended against. Avoid operating to OPPS/Peshawar and OPQT/Quetta airports - both are near the border with Afghanistan. OPKC/Karachi Airport was attacked in 2014.

Major events:
Jan 2024: Iran used ballistic missiles and drones to attack a militant group in western Pakistan.
Dec 2023: Crew report of GPS spoofing around OPLA/Lahore airport.
Feb-Aug 2019: Pakistan closed its airspace to overflights, following escalating clashes with India in the disputed Kashmir region, with numerous airstrikes on both sides.

More info: The India-Pakistan Conflict: Impact on Flight Operations, Aug 2021 (OPSGROUP article)

Current warnings list :

Source Reference Issued Valid to
Italy AIC 33/23 10 Jul 2023 05 Oct 2024
USA US FAA Background Notice 01 Jan 2021 01 Jan 2022
Germany AIC 06/24 29 Oct 2020 Ongoing
France AIC 15/24 09 Apr 2020 Ongoing
Source: Italy
Reference: AIC 33/23
Issued: 10-Jul-23, valid until: 05 Oct 2024
Plain English: Italian operators should avoid the airspace of Pakistan below FL320.
Italian air carriers and captains of aircraft in charge of air services operated by carriers holding an operating license issued by italy, whether they are contractual carriers and/or operating carriers, or performing air services through a wet lease or a codeshare agreement as well as for any flight made with an aircraft registered in italy, are recommended to avoid FIR OPLR Lahore OPKR Karachi below FL 320.
Source: USA
Issued: 01-Jan-21, valid until: 01 Jan 2022
Plain English: (This Notice has been withdrawn but we're keeping it listed here for reference). Exercise caution flying into or over Pakistan, particularly at low altitudes, due to the risk posed by small-arms fire, attacks against airports, indirect weapons fire and anti-aircraft fire by extremist/militant elements operating in the country.
FAA Background Information Regarding U.S. Civil Aviation – Pakistan.

There are continuing risks to U.S. civil aviation operating in the territory and airspace of Pakistan, particularly for aircraft on the ground and aircraft operating at low altitudes, including during the arrival and departure phases of flight, due to extremist/militant groups operating in Pakistan. For this reason, on 01 January 2021, the FAA published Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) KICZ A0001/21, advising U.S. civil aviation to exercise caution when operating into, out of, within, or over the territory and airspace of Pakistan.

Although there were no extremist/militant attacks against civil aviation in the territory and airspace of Pakistan in 2020, civil aviation remains an attractive target for extremist/militant groups due to the impact and visibility of such attacks. Between 2014 and 2019, extremist/militant groups operating in Pakistan demonstrated their ongoing capability and intent to target civil aviation through multiple attacks on aviation infrastructure, including airports. In August 2019, two individuals were arrested for firing small arms at a commercial aircraft on approach into Islamabad International Airport (ICAO: OPRN). In July 2017, media sources reported extremists/militants planned to conduct attacks against Jinnah International Airport (ICAO: OPKC) in Karachi. In 2015, extremists/militants attacked two remote airfields in Balochistan Province and a Pakistani Air Force base in Peshawar, resulting in a number of deaths and injuries. In an August 2015 attack on Jiwani International Airport (ICAO: OPJI) in Balochistan, extremists/militants destroyed an air traffic control radar facility. On 24 June 2014, a commercial airliner on approach into Peshawar’s Bacha Khan International Airport (ICAO: OPPS) received a volley of small arms fire, leaving one passenger dead and two crewmembers wounded. On 8 June 2014, extremists/militants conducted a nighttime attack on OPKC, killing 30 people and damaging airport facilities. Pakistani officials speculated the attackers sought to hijack an aircraft and/or attack aircraft on the ground.

To date, there have been no reports of man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) being used against civil aviation in the territory and airspace of Pakistan; however, some extremist/militant groups operating in Pakistan are suspected of having access to MANPADS. As a result, there is a potential risk that extremists/militants could target civil aviation with MANPADS. Some MANPADS are capable of reaching maximum altitudes of up to 25,000 feet above ground level.

Additionally, due to the potential for clashes in the Kashmir Region, operators should monitor regional NOTAMs for any airspace or air route closures. During October and November 2020, Pakistani and Indian military forces conducted multiple cross-border indirect fire attacks, resulting in casualties in the Kashmir Region. Although these attacks were limited, they pose a risk of further escalation, and flight disruptions and airspace closures may occur with little or no warning. Although India and Pakistan have no intent to target civil aviation, increased military air operations could present an inadvertent risk to U.S. civil aviation if the situation escalates. Historically, India, Pakistan, and neighboring air navigation service providers (ANSPs) have managed their airspaces appropriately to de-conflict and protect civil aviation overflight operations in response to clashes in the Kashmir Region.
Source: Germany
Reference: AIC 06/24
Issued: 29-Oct-20, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Caution to German operators below FL260 in the airspace of Pakistan due to potential risks from anti-aviation weaponry.
Level 1 (Lowest risk). Civil German air operators are advised to take potential risk into account in their risk assessment and routing decisions within FIR KARACHI (OPKR) and FIR LAHORE (OPLR) below FL260. Potential risk from anti-aviation weaponry and possible terrorist attacks at all airports.
Source: France
Reference: AIC 15/24
Issued: 09-Apr-20, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: French operators overflying Pakistan airspace should be at FL260 or above.
From 09/04/2020 and until further notice, pilots in command of aircraft performing air services mentioned in paragraph 1.1 are requested to maintain at all times a flight level above or equal to FL260 in the airspace of Pakistan (OPLR FIR (LAHORE) and OPKR FIR (KARACHI)).