On Thursday, the State Department in the U.S. warned its citizens not to travel into Pakistan, while at the same time ordering its nonessential government employees to leave the Consulate in Lahore due to a specific threat against that diplomatic mission.
The State Department, in a travel warning, said that several indigenous and foreign terrorist groups were present and posed potential danger to citizens of the U.S. across Pakistan.
The drawdown on personnel at the consulate in Lahore was taken as a precautionary measure and was not in relation to the other closures of diplomatic missions across the Muslim world, said two officials from the U.S.
The Lahore consulate was scheduled to be shut down for the Eid holiday starting Thursday and up until Monday and no reopening has been set, said one of the U.S. officials.
A U.S. Embassy spokesperson at the Islamabad Embassy said the U.S. had received credible information of a threat to the Lahore consulate and therefore decided to draw down the number of employees.
The spokesperson said the U.S. was evacuating some staff to its Islamabad embassy and only emergency personnel would stay on in Lahore, with no date set for the Lahore mission to be reopened.
The threat, said the U.S. officials, was specific to the Lahore mission.
Earlier in the week, the U.S. closed 19 diplomatic outposts in North Africa and the Middle East through Saturday, while nonessential personnel were pulled out of the U.S. Embassy in the city of Sanaa in Yemen following intelligence reports saying they intercepted a message from a top leader in al-Qaeda about plans for a huge terror attack.
None of the Pakistan closures or the Islamabad Embassy was affected by the closures of outposts that took place earlier.