The United States on Friday cautioned its citizens in Pakistan to keep a low profile and avoid large gatherings ahead of a planned rally by cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, who has been pressuring the government to carry our electoral reforms.
A security alert posted on the US embassy website warned American nationals of the possibility of demonstrations between Lahore [ Images ] and Islamabad [ Images ] during January 13-14 due to a 'long march' by Qadri and supporters of his group, Tehrik Minhaj-ul-Quran.
"We advise all US citizens to stay clear of all published procession routes, keep a low profile, and avoid large gatherings," the alert said.It urged American nationals to avoid the Lahore and Islamabad demonstration sites.
Qadri has said he will lead his followers from Lahore to Islamabad for a planned protest near parliament.
The federal government has already sealed off the area around parliament with empty containers and Interior Minister Rehman Malik [ Images ] has warned Qadri that his rally could be targetted by terrorists.
The US embassy alert further said there could be a large number of gatherings and processions between Islamabad and Lahore along the G T Road and within the federal capital.
"The embassy expects travel in and out of the downtown area (of Islamabad) to be restricted or prohibited, and for traffic to be blocked, restricted, or rerouted in other portions of the city," it said.
The alert said the public services at the US embassy would be temporarily suspended on January 14 due to the planned demonstrations.