Passports to be issued for 10 years instead of 5
18 September, 2013
ISLAMABAD: A meeting presided over by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan decided on Tuesday that passports would be issued for 10 years instead of five years. It also ordered cancellation all those passports which were issued against the rules and regulations, within the next three days.
Nisar visited the Directorate General of Immigration & Passports, Islamabad where Immigration & Passports Director General Sikandar Sultan Raja briefed him about the organisational set-up and functions of the directorate.
Speaking at the meeting, the minister said that officers of the department should remember three key principles in their service; there shall be no tolerance for corruption; they should always work in accordance with law and that their service is towards the state of Pakistan.
The DG informed the minister that the directorate has completed the process of replacing manual passport system with machine readable passport system. He also briefed about special arrangements that have been made to issue passports to Hujj pilgrims.
The directorate has successfully cleared the backlog regarding the printing of passport and issuance of citizenship certificates, he added.
To facilitate the public and improve performance of the department, the minister directed the DG to initiate an SMS-based service for tracking of passports in a week and home delivery service in six major cities of the country.
Nisar said that construction of new passport offices and renovation of old buildings should be completed at the earliest to improve the customer service.
"A new helpline complemented by a facilitation desk be set up at Islamabad office to address complaints of the public regarding passports," the minister ordered. He also ordered making policy guidelines for setting up of new passport offices. He noticed the shortage of passport offices in Sindh and sought a report on setting up new offices in the province.
Nisar asked the directorate to reconsider fines imposed on lost passports and rationalise the charges. He instructed the directorate to draft a clear policy on citizenship certificates and modernise the visa extension process.
He also asked for a priority list regarding setting up of foreign machine readable passport offices and visa issuance facilities at foreign destinations so that the deadline of November 2015 set by ICAO can be met in time.
The minister ordered the staff not to cave in to any undue pressure, and ordered an inquiry into "politically influenced" decisions taken in the past. He also asked the directorate to improve its functions and streamline the process to completely eliminate corruption.
The DG briefed the minister about certain issues facing the directorate.
The minister assured the DG of his help in addressing the issues faced by the directorate, and said that he wanted to make the department a model department of the government of Pakistan.