I RECENTLY had a firsthand experience, better call it inconvenience, of coming into contact with the embassy of Pakistan in Rome, Italy.
My passport was due to expire in March this year and, keeping in mind the usual bureaucratic inefficiency, I applied for renewal in December last year, leaving an ample time of two-and-a-half months from the expiry date.
I requested for urgent processing of my application by paying higher fees and was informed that the passport would be ready for collection within 20 days. However, after about two months when I inquired about the status of my application, I was informed that due to a ‘system error’ my application could not proceed.
My immediate reaction was to protest as to why I was not contacted before in case there was an error.
I wrote to the respected ambassador and demanded an explanation into this lapse of service for which I paid in advance and in excess.
I used the most formal language known to me and gave due respect and protocol to the person at the receiving end of my communications as I believed I was in touch with the highest official of my country here.
What I received in reply was a poorly-worded email giving absolutely nonsensical reasons for the failure of service. The representative even accused me of not asking for any information in case of a system error that implied as if these supposed system errors are a norm.
She/he exonerated the embassy staff of any blame whatsoever and held responsible the printing office in Islamabad.
The situation is no different in Milan where the ministry of foreign affairs of Pakistan has installed a consul-general to ‘help’ the Pakistanis residing in northern Italy.
I telephoned the office every 30 minutes for two consecutive days and wrote an email to the officers there but, as expected, got no response to both modes of communication available to me through the website of the consulate.
I request the ministry of foreign affairs to look into the matter and arrange for a complete overhaul of the staff at the two representative offices in Italy.
A PAKISTANI Italy