E-passports to be issued in 2017 to curb human trafficking

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In an effort to curb human trafficking in the country and prevent people from forging travel documents, the federal government plans to issue e-passports to Pakistani citizens.

The project was formally approved by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan at his office in Islamabad. The plan is to make e-passports available by 2017.

DG Immigration and Passports informed the officials at the meeting a micro-chip would be embedded in each e-passport that will contain all biometric information. “This will help in authenticating the identity of the traveller,” he said.

If needed, the information stored in e-passports can be amended. However, the information can only be amended by Pakistani immigration and passport authorities.

Nisar said forgery and misuse of Pakistani travel documents damage the national image.

He said the methods and sophistication through which human traffickers forge travelling document need to be pre-empted through a document that could neither be forged nor copied.

Issuing e-passports will be “the most important step in that direction,” he asserted.

“We will ensure the menace of human trafficking from Pakistani soil [is eliminated] with the introduction of e-passports, a new digital document for international travellers in future,” the minister said.

Nisar directed DG-IMPASS to acquire an in-house, modern digital printing machine equipped with the latest technology to cater to the need of printing e-passports and ensure quality control.

The meeting was attended by ministry’s senior officials including officials of the Federal Investigation Agency and NADRA.