Passport to hassle-free renewal stands cancelled!

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Pakistani community members in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have opposed the termination of the courier service by their embassy to deliver passports and other official documents at their doorsteps.

Pakistanis in UAE will now have to visit the embassy twice to get their passports renewed-once for submitting an application and then for collecting the documents.

Last week, the Pakistani Embassy in Abu Dhabi abruptly terminated a contract with the courier company, TCS Worldwide, and directed the staff to stop their service and vacate the embassy premises.

The service had been operational since 2010 for nominal charges. TCS Global Vice President Mazhar Ayub Khan said, “I was called for a meeting last week at the embassy where we were issued a termination letter, without giving us any valid reason.”

He said he understood that members of the Pakistani community had to face problems because of the termination but said he could not provide the service without the embassy’s permission.

Under a special contract, the TCS courier used to charge AED 10 for the delivery of passports, identity cards and any other official documents within Abu Dhabi and AED 15 for delivery in other emirates.

An embassy spokesperson said the courier service was terminated because the embassy had to take the permission of the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs to offer the service, adding that the service might be resumed after approval from the ministry.

Another embassy official said the courier service was started by the previous ambassador without seeking formal approval from the government.

The courier service is still being offered at the Pakistan Consulate General in Dubai.

“We do not know about the permission issue because we signed the contract with the previous ambassador in Abu Dhabi and the Consulate General in Dubai to provide the service in a bid to facilitate Pakistani community members,” said Ayub.

Around 500 to 600 people apply for passport renewal at the embassy in Abu Dhabi everyday, with even more people visiting the consulate in Dubai for the same purpose. They have to stand in queues for hours to submit and collect their passports. The courier service saved their time as the passports were delivered at their doorsteps.

“This is ridiculous,” said Jamil Shaikh, a resident of Al Ain.

He said that due to the termination of the courier service, people from Al Ain had to travel twice to the embassy in Abu Dhabi, wasting their time and money.

A resident of Abu Dhabi, Kaleem Ahmed said, “Instead of alleviating the problems of the applicants who have to wait for hours to get their passport renewed, the embassy is adding to our woes.”

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