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.


More From This Section

PPO’s implications

The Protection of Pakistan Ordinance (PPO) grants sweeping powers of arrest and detention to security forces. We ...

Intolerant society

A NUMBER of incidents during the last couple of weeks have shattered the peace of my mind. One was a gang-rape...

Drug abuse

THE surfacing of drug-abuse statistics in Pakistan by Drug Use in Pakistan, 2013, has shocked legal and medical...

Retirees’ appointment

APROPOS your news report, “Retirees` reappointment goes against SC orders” (April 13), by reappointing retired...

Comments are closed.

Comments (15)

March 31, 2013 11:04 am
the outgoing PPP took a final revenge from expats by messing with passports system. The situation is no different in other embassies and consulates in other countries, e.g. Germany.
Gerry D'Cunha
March 31, 2013 11:21 am
this happens when you don't recuit season diplomats in foreign mission and rely on recruiting friends and family members in your mission - take examples of diplomats of foreign countries in pakistan and their efficiency
Hassan Zia ul
March 31, 2013 12:10 pm
It's true here in Italy when we go to embassy it's look as we entre some indian area they look so tried and noncoprtive if they do some thing it's like as they doing a very big fever to us realy it's make you vomiting how thirdclass behave they with us as some jagerdar do bussiness with his mezara
March 31, 2013 12:12 pm
same situation Persists in UAE
Hassan Zia ul
March 31, 2013 12:16 pm
Think how much money and time you give for passport and if its take two or three trip it's mean if you just count train ticket from most poupletd era of pakistani cumunty in Italy it's round trip of Rome is 120? and if you go three time it's mean you pay 360 ? only train ticket so tell me where we go
March 31, 2013 12:29 pm
The foreign office website (pakistan) clearly states to report your experience regarding dealings of counsel generals in foreign missions with them by email. DO report your grievance. THEY have ruined the whole country. No passports to print books !!!!!! How ridiculous can you get. This tantamount to imprisonment as delay is caused due to negligence and incompetence. Also we should do away with giving the 'officials' due Protocol in letters as they do not live up to their assigned roles.
March 31, 2013 12:36 pm
Recently a colleagues MRP passport was renewed for 2 years (it was stamped) and the new expiry date was entered in the system. It was in the Pakistan counsel general in Scandinavia. It was a MRP passport and he had to submit the documents for a new application at the same time as well. The subjects visa was expiring. ALL Pakistanis abroad. DEMAND that your current MRP be extended by 2 years as well. the current passport printing system has gone to the dogs for a good 1 year. This is your RIGHT. Full Stop. Thank you PPP. Your incompetence will be remembered.
March 31, 2013 1:20 pm
In this age of the internet, perhaps they should simply shut down all embassies. Or do we need to wait for some "advanced countries" to get rid of the obsolete concept of "foreign embassies" first before we do the obvious?
March 31, 2013 2:39 pm
Hi Pakistani, If they cannot help they can hurt you by delaying your application. Whatever the reason maintain your cool and work with the system. Otherwise you are the loser as nothing happens to them
March 31, 2013 3:38 pm
Mr. Hassan, pls get your facts clear...Indian embassy is more efficient and pleasure in dealing than the pakistani embassy...they care for their citizens unlike your country who don't even bother....
Gerry D'Cunha
March 31, 2013 3:49 pm
overseas pakistanis when renewing their british passport have no hassle - forms and old expired passports are sent by post recorded delivery and one gets the passports within 10 working days - for urgent passport get an appointment and you get the passport the same day - no hassle, no worry. this is how efficient the western countries work - the same service one gets at the british mission abroad.
March 31, 2013 4:25 pm
I know having Pakistani Passport means so many difficulties you are taking in shoulder already. Nevertheless Pakistan Embassy is not good anywhere in the world. Regardless it is EU/America/Middleast. Even in Middleast people are sleeping 2-3 days around embassy to sort out their passport. Even there is no support available for any Pakistani anywhere. Hence you can't expect anything from them. I my previous experience the Pakistan Consulate in Jeddah is full of horse shit to much rush secondly people leaving their jobs and unable to get their turn and in the last when you finally submit the application for passport. The system is turn down from the Islamabad. I was totally in Chaos and paranoid. That's something good this green passport is now for ten years. Therefore we don't need to knock the door every time. Embassy of Pakistan anywhere in the world with no Support!
Amir Iftikhar Warraich
March 31, 2013 6:12 pm
I had a similar experience with the issue of POC application in Oslo, Norway. I payed the fast-track fees and was told about the processing time. After 2 months I contacted the Embassy and they referred me to NADRA Islamabad Head Office. When I called NADRA they could not trace the application: "it might have been lost" I was told. After 6-7 calls I got infuriated and started using aggressive language and I was told to call again next day. When I called again they had found the application, somehow they had misplaced the documents and this led to the plus 2 months delay. If I had not become infuriated and used aggressive language they would have most likely have ignored my queries for sure. This is just one example out of many cases which reflects the largely defunct "system" in Pakistan. There is hardly a "system" in place, beauracracy is anno domini 1945 - old world British mindset minus the efficiency of the British. Bribery and "contacts" is the norm!
March 31, 2013 10:01 pm
Most of the embassy staff are hired on quota system and come from mainly 1 province hence the quality of service
Allah oh Akbar
April 1, 2013 1:14 am
Good for you, you deserve this, I wonder how you landed in Italy, you cant even write English properly, hope your Italian is good at least. And for Allah's sake, don't blame Indians, they have a much better system.
Explore: Indian elections 2014
Explore: Indian elections 2014
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
Front Page