Thousands suffer owing to delay in passport issuance


–Shortage of lamination papers, out of order printing machines impede process

–Students, business professionals complain of disruption in their schedules


LAHORE: Like the delay of issuance of Machine-Readable Passports (MRP) during the tenure of previous governments, thousands of passport seekers have been facing the same problem even in ‘Naya Pakistan’ owing to either the shortage of lamination papers or out of order printing machines.

Passport seekers in different cities have been forced to face the issue owing to the delay in obtaining their MRPs, Pakistan Today learnt on Thursday.

There are at least two categories of passport; one is urgent which usually delivered within one week while another is ordinary which is supposed to be delivered in 15 days.

Sources in Passport Office Garden Town informed Pakistan Today that passports were being issued to those who applied for urgent deliver while those applied for ordinary passports are facing delay. They said that the problem occurred as Directorate of Immigration and Passport, Islamabad, delayed the issuance of passports.

“At least one hundred thousand citizens are facing this problem across the country due to this delay,” they said adding that such kinds of problem occur due to the shortage of lamination papers used in the printing of MRPs or out of order printing machines.

However, they said that no official at the regional and district offices had been informed what the reason for the recent delay in issuance was. They further informed that they pass out the information to the seeker regarding next date what they receive from high-ups. They further said the issue of delay in delivery had been discussed during their internal meetings.

“The staff appointed at delivery was also facing the problem as they often face rubbish attitude of applicants. People blame the staff responsible to disturb their foreign journeys,” they added.

During a visit to regional passport office Garden Town Lahore, passport seekers could be seen standing in long queues and were being informed by passport staff to go back and come again on other days. This delay in issuance has irked many citizens who had panned their visits abroad.

Rashid, 35, a passport seeker told this scribe that his passport was due on October 3 but he was informed to visit again on October 25. “I had to apply for a job in UAE before October 15 and this delay has ruined my future,” he lamented and continued that they officials at passport staff were not confirmed either his passport will be delivered on October 25 or not.

Another passport seeker, Umar Farooq informed that he had to apply for an international scholarship for which October 10 was the last date but this delay has made him totally hopeless.

“I have completed my all requirements for scholarship and just needed my passport. If there was a delay in delivery of passports with ordinary fees then why officials are not informing the public,” he said adding that people usually submit their fees at National Bank branches before coming to passport office while there was no mention in the bank regarding this delay.

To know the comment regarding this delay, this scribe tried to contact Regional Head, Director Akhlaq Qureshi and State Minister for Interior Shehryar Afridi but they were not available for comment.