De­lay in is­suance of pass­ports caus­ing hard­ships to pub­lic

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

IS­LAM­ABAD

Se­nate Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on In­te­rior on Wed­nes­day took se­ri­ous no­tice of de­lay in is­suance of pass­ports, say­ing im­me­di­ate mea­sures need to be adopted to en­sure its early de­liv­ery to ap­pli­cants.

De­spite pay­ment of Rs. 5,000 as ur­gent fee, peo­ple are un­able to get their pass­ports while those who sub­mit an or­di­nary fee of Rs. 300 have to wait even for months which is not right and fair, Chair­man of the Com­mit­tee, Se­na­tor Talha Mah­mood said.

He was chair­ing the meet­ing which was also at­tended by Sen­a­tors Mukhtar Ahmed Dham­rah, Sar­dar Ali Khan and Fateh Muham­mad Has­sani, Ad­di­tional Sec­re­tary, Min­istry of In­te­rior, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Pass­ports and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Na­tional Counter Ter­ror­ism Author­ity (NACTA), Is­lam­abad. He de­scribed af­fairs of Di­rec­torate Gen­eral of Im­mi­gra­tion and Pass­ports head­quar­ters in Is­lam­abad as to­tal con­fus­ing due to which peo­ple are suf­fer­ing.

Giv­ing a brief­ing, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Pass­port and Im­mi­gra­tion, Wa­jid Ali Bukhari said at present the is­suance of pass­ports has been de­layed as Pak­istan Se­cu­rity Print­ing Cor­po­ra­tion (PSPC), Karachi re­duced the sup­ply of pass­port book­lets from 15,000 to 5,000 per day in Septem­ber 2012 due to non-pay­ment of their out­stand­ing dues on ac­count of print­ing of pass­port book­lets and other travel doc­u­ments. He said af­ter de­tailed de­lib­er­a­tions PSPC agreed to pro­vide 15000 pass­port book­lets per day from Oc­to­ber 1 to 13, 2012 and 10,000 book­lets per day dur­ing the month of Novem­ber, sub­ject to con­di­tion that in case their out­stand­ing dues are not cleared, PSPC will not be able to con­tinue reg­u­lar sup­ply of book­lets be­yond Novem­ber 30, 2012.

He said the ef­forts are be­ing made to clear out­stand­ing dues of PSPC and ar­rears have since been cleared to some ex­tent and for pay­ment of re­main­ing dues, mat­ter has been taken up with Fi­nance Di­vi­sion for seek­ing ap­proval for 100% pay­ment out of sanc­tioned bud­get al­lo­ca­tions

in re­lax­ation of limit fixed on quar­terly ba­sis so as to clear the out­stand­ing li­a­bil­i­ties and restora­tion of nor­mal sup­ply of pass­port book­lets. He fur­ther in­formed that Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee (PAC) has also di­rected Fi­nance Di­vi­sion re­gard­ing pay­ment of out­stand­ing li­a­bil­i­ties of PSPC on top pri­or­ity ba­sis and to report com­pli­ance.

The mat­ter is un­der ac­tive con­sid­er­a­tion and as soon as ap­proval from Fi­nance Di­vi­sion is re­ceived the out­stand­ing li­a­bil­ity of PSPC will be cleared and nor­mal sup­ply of pass­port book­lets will be re­stored by the PSPC.

There­after, the De­part­ment will be in a po­si­tion to ob­serve nor­mal sched­ule of de­liv­ery of pass­ports to the ap­pli­cants.

On the is­sue of cor­rup­tion, the DG said for con­trol­ling cor­rup­tion pro­vin­cial au­thor­i­ties have been asked to re­move the touts or agents sit­ting out­side premises of Re­gional Pass­port Of­fices on per­ma­nent ba­sis. The zonal heads have also been di­rected to ef­fec­tively mon­i­tor the work­ing of RPOs, fall­ing un­der the ju­ris­dic­tion and also con­duct sur­prise checks reg­u­larly to im­prove func­tion­ing of of­fice.

The DG said he has also con­ducted sur­prise checks of RPOs and ac­tion was taken against the de­fault­ing of­fi­cers and of­fi­cials.

The Com­mit­tee was also in­formed that pass­port of­fice has been con­tribut­ing Rs. 14 bil­lion to na­tional ex­che­quer ev­ery year but print­ing of pass­port funds which is Rs. 597 mil­lion were be­ing de­layed caus­ing hard­ships for the ap­pli­cants. The com­mit­tee was also in­formed that there is also a back­log of 0.2 mil­lion pass­ports and rea­son of this mess is the same that is short­age of book­lets and de­lay in re­lease of finds. "It is as­ton­ish­ing that a de­part­ment earn­ing Rs. 14 bil­lion was fac­ing de­lay in re­lease of funds," Se­na­tor Talha and other mem­bers of the com­mit­tee re­marked.

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