Late payment: Overseas-based passport workers go without pay

Employees have not been paid salaries or house rent for the last 8-10 months

Sehrish Wasif December 24, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Hundreds of people working at the immigration and passports section of Pakistan’s foreign missions across the globe are forced to live on roads and starve due to their non-payment of salaries for the last many months.

Requesting anonymity, an Interior Ministry official told The Express Tribune that the employees, posted in various countries of North and South America, Middle East, Gulf countries, Africa and Europe, have not been given their salaries and house rents for the last 8-10 months.

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“Owners of the houses hired for these officers of Immigration and Passports department are insisting that their properties be vacated. Many have already been forced to evacuate their homes and also are facing legal action taken by the owners,” said the official.

Earlier, the interior minister took notice of the non-payment of salaries and house rent and directed the secretary Interior and director general of the immigration and passports to ensure these payments within shortest possible time.

“However, despite these directions no action has been taken so far,” he said, adding that these employees are the ones who were posted abroad on merit.

All the staff posted abroad has again requested to take up the issues with the higher ups on immediate basis before their families come on road, said the official.

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According to a letter written by the Consulate General of Pakistan, Community Wing, Manchester to the Wafaqi Mohtasib, Islamabad, “Machine Readable Passport [MRP] staff gets their monthly salaries after every 3 to 4 months which causes them stress.”

The letter, whose copy is available with The Express Tribune, said they were facing financial issues and requested the Wafaqi Mohtasib to take up the disbursement issue with the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports in Pakistan for allocating funds for timely disbursement of their salaries.

When contacted Federal Ombudsman Islamabad’s Senior Adviser Law/Registrar Ahsan Ahmad Khokhar said he has taken up the issue and written a letter to the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports’ DG, summoning him for a hearing on December 28.”

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The Directorate General of Immigration and Passport spokesperson Waqar Anwar said these employees were working under the MRP project.

“Mostly the fund under the project is being released on a quarterly basis and delay in payment is not a big issue. There might be a few people, who are facing this issue, but most people are fine so far,” he claimed.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 25th, 2016.


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