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Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik. -File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Friday approved establishing 23 passport offices in various countries to facilitate Pakistani nationals.

The interior minister has directed the director general immigration and passports to ensure functioning of these offices by mid January, 2013.

The directive came while he was chairing a high level meeting to review problems of the people related to issuance of Machine Readable Passports (MRP).

The meeting was attended by the federal interior secretary, additional secretary interior, director general immigration and passports and the project director MRP.

Rehman Malik has ordered three shifts in passport headquarters, Islamabad to clear the entire backlog within one week.

He also ordered an inquiry under additional secretary-II of the interior ministry to find out reasons behind the backlog.

Moreover, the minister observed that around 120 FIA female officials have not been considered for promotion for the last ten years and took a serious notice of the issue.

It was informed during the meeting that 12 passport offices are ready with machine readable passports in Ottawa, Kuala Lumpur, Damascus, Madrid, Sydney, Bradford, Tashkent, Washington, Athens, Vancouver, the Haque and Houston.

The minister directed to ensure commencing of these 12 offices abroad by the end of December, 2012.

New passport offices have been approved in Italy (Milan), South Africa (Pretoria), Afghanistan (Kabul), Denmark (Copenhagen), China (Beijing), Hong Kong (Hong Kong), Belgium, Luxemburg (Brussels), Japan (Tokyo), South Korea (Seoul), Jordan (Amman), Iran (Tehran), Singapore (Singapore), Thailand (Bangkok), Austria (Vienna), Philippines (Manila), Egypt (Cairo), Bangladesh (Dhaka), Sri Lanka (Colombo), Nigeria (Abuja), Turkey (Istanbul), Brazil (Brasilia), Libya (Tripoli) and Darussalam.

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