No, Portugal has not announced it is ‘completely safe’ or safe for its citizens to travel to Pakistan
Multiple reports and social media posts say that Portugal has declared Pakistan “completely safe” or “safe” for its citizens to travel there. The reports came after the Portuguese government released a travel advisory saying the security situation had improved in Pakistan. But the advisory did not declare the country safe; it warned of possible terrorist attacks and said some areas were “particularly dangerous”.
This online report from The Times of Islamabad dated December 13, 2018, is headlined: “First European State declares Pakistan completely safe for tourist and business travel”.
Its first paragraph states: "In a new development, European state Portugal has become the first one to declare Pakistan completely safe for tourist travel".
It refers to a "new advisory" from the Portugese government that stated the security situation in Pakistan had improved, though it did not provide any details to explain its claim that the country had been declared "completely safe" for tourism.
The report was also posted on its Facebook page here.
Below is a snapshot of that post:
Similar claims have been repeated in other online reports, including this one on ProPakistani.pk.
Its headline states: "Portugal is the first European country to term Pakistan safe for tourism".
And this piece on Siasat.pk has a headline that states: "Portugal Government says Pakistan is a safe place for tourism and first country in europe to allow their citizen for tourism".
The post on Siasat’s Facebook page promoting the report has had thousands of shares and reactions. Below is a snapshot of that post:
The purported news of Portugal declaring Pakistan safe for travel has circulated very widely elsewhere online.
Pakistan’s Finance Minister Asad Umar posted this tweet on December 18, 2018, which was liked or shared more than 28,000 times in the next 17 days.
Below is a snapshot of that tweet.
However travel advisories with restrictions and security warnings for Pakistan remain on the website of the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The latest advisory updated on November 23, 2018, does note Pakistan’s improved security situation.
But it warns of various dangers and does not declare the country “safe” or “completely” safe”.
The advisory is in Portuguese. Below is an English translation of the section of the advisory about travel. Correspondents in AFP’s Lisbon bureau did the translation.
The notice shows clearly that Portugal has not declared Pakistan “completely safe” or "safe" for travellers.
An AFP correspondent in Islamabad sought comment from Umar, Pakistan's finance minister, about his tweet, sending him two text messages on January 1. As of publishing time on January 4, AFP did not get a reply.
AFP also sought clarification from Pakistan’s foreign ministry.
"We are checking reports that Portugal has dropped advisories against Pakistan. Will get back to you as soon as we confirm it," Pakistan foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal told AFP on January 3.
AFP emailed the Portugese embassy in Islamabad on December 20, 2018, to inquire about the issue but did not get a reply by publishing time.