ISLAMABAD: Most of the contractual employees of the Passport Office hired for machine readable passport (MRP) project’s phase II have not yet received their salaries for the last six months.
Of the total 632 employees hired from across the country, only a few have received their salaries for the said period, stated sources.
Interestingly, during a recent visit to the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports, also known as the Passport Office, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal was misled into believing that all was well at the office, when the fact of the matter was that, the worst shortage of funds was being witnessed due to the negligence of its bosses.
Passport Office employees without salary for three months
The gravity of the situation can be gauged by the fact that the passport office did not have the funds to pay salaries to hundreds of its employees and it had to request the finance ministry for supplementary grant at the start of the new financial year 2017-18 in July, The Express Tribune learnt.
“Supplementary grants are requested before the end of a financial year when funds are exhausted and additional funds are required. Given that this grant was sought at the beginning of the new financial year means something is really wrong with our policies,” said an official at the office of the DG Passport, requesting anonymity.
The DG Passport is presently undergoing training at the National Defence University in Islamabad, while simultaneously retaining his post. Due to the official training, his availability at the passport office is highly limited. Usman Bajwa hardly visits the office to attend to official matters. “The DG is too busy to address the genuine problems of the passport office,” sources said.
Corruption in passport office
According to sources, his almost rare availability at the office was creating issues in the smooth running of affairs of the department.
The sources said that 632 employees were appointed in the passport offices across Pakistan and in foreign missions for the MRP Phase II. Strangely, the finance ministry, responsible for looking after the affairs of the passport office, had not sanctioned the hiring of these employees that included both gazette and non-gazette personnel.
Subsequently, the passport office had to switch the allocation from development budget to a non-development one in a desperate bid to arrange funds, but failed.
Two passport office officials held
Resultantly, the employees did not receive salaries for several months. However, the passport office managed to arrange funds to pay off only some of them.
When contacted, the DG Passport denied the fact that several passport officials were not paid.
“Except for a few individuals who have not submitted their complete papers, all of them are getting salaries,” he replied to a query. However, he did not say as to what sort of documents were required for the employees to get their salaries.
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