Passport to nowhere: Printers decline supply of passports till dues clearance

Published: April 17, 2013

Passport crisis deepens with 90,000 laminates for passports left pending with no quick solution at hand. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Passport crisis was all set to deepen with 90,000 laminates for passports left pending with no quick solution at hand. The Directorate General of Immigration and Passport (I&P) owes Rs406 million to Printing Security Corporation of Pakistan (PSCP).

Naveed Ahmed Khawaja, PSCP Deputy General Manager told Senate body on Tuesday that the printing corporation, responsible for printing of passport copies, was not paid its dues for months. Hence, the printing body would not continue the supply of passports until being paid.

“If not paid, our outstanding dues will reach Rs600 million by June this year. We are providing 15,000 copies of passports to the directorate every day,” said Khawaja.

Earlier, Zulfiqar Ahmed Cheema, the newly appointed Director General I&P sought two weeks’ time from the Senate Committee to make things better. However, the DG failed to give any workable plan to resolve the lamination paper crisis despite senators’ insistence.

“We will submit before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to resolve the case quickly so that new lamination papers can be procured and I hope the court would do so after being apprised with the gravity of the problem,” said Cheema. The next hearing was fixed for April 25 in IHC, he told the committee.

At present, the process of procurement of new lamination paper was stalled after a stay order by IHC. The court ordered the stay after a French company Hollogram International, one of the bidders, objected to the bidding process and the interior ministry’s inclination towards a US company OpSec.

The interior ministry’s official, however, doubted the French company would easily let go of the case. They would go in appeal in the High Court and would then approach the Supreme Court of Pakistan if their appeal is rejected by the lower court. “These legal proceedings would take at least two years if not more,” said the official.

The DG told the committee that inquiries were underway to ascertain the lapse that created the lamination crisis.

Sources said ten officials were suspended while a deputy director and an assistant director from Rawalpindi regional office were arrested for their alleged involvement in corruption that caused the crisis.

The DG I&P told senators that an operation clean-up was underway and more arrests besides suspensions would come in the days ahead.

The Senate panel directed the directorate to increase the day-to-day production to at least 5,000 until the new laminates arrive.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2013. 

Reader Comments (4)

  • numbersnumbers
    Apr 17, 2013 - 10:50AM

    Lets see now, first the public has to pay many times the posted going rate for a passport or renewal due to “alleged” corruption, but now we read that the suspected parties might have pocketed the ENTIRE passport fee, not bothering to even pay the printers!!!!

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  • manzoor ahmed
    Apr 17, 2013 - 6:38PM

    Dear Sir, Now our judiciary to do the best for livelihood of Pakistanis. Most of the Passport Seekers are to get new jobs and secure their jobs , which is in foreign countries,This is a National crisis. At the induction of Zulfiqar cheema saheb we were delighted that crisis will end soon. But the corruption has paralyzed the state organs.
    O my Great God come and Save my beloved country. Allah Hafiz.

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  • Faraz
    Apr 19, 2013 - 11:27PM

    Sir i have applied for passport renewal on 7th march 2013, is there any response from passport office? are passports printing or not? till which date will i get my passport?

    BR
    Faraz

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  • Tauseef
    Jun 5, 2013 - 4:18PM

    our public servants are our godfathers they even don’t want to listen the complaints its all because of noncompetitive(parchi) people are hired with no ethics/manners and without relevant training’.

    As my daughter’s passport is printed already from last many days, but they don’t handover passport and repeating different statements by different officers e.g. passport misplaced, passport missing, passport not received from isb. passport received but we didn’t open the post yet. come by evening and in evening tomorrow morning.

    other passport office source said the picture for passport is not taken proper that’s why they will not handover the passport in any case. if it is though then why they don’t give the proper information or they want to save their colleagues irresponsible acts.

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