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BEING one of the millions who live outside the country and still retain their nationality, I try to avoid any kind of interaction with our government departments unless absolutely necessary.

Passport being a necessity forces one to make the trip to the local embassy as no one attends to phone calls and hardly any useful information is available on the Internet.

Since a passport in my family is about to become invalid, I made the usual inquiries at our embassy in Doha, Qatar. They did not offer any professional answers or services.You end up taking a day off from work and reach the premises of your homeland’s representatives only to find utter chaos and a total lack of organisation from both, our nationals as well as the embassy functionaries. There are no boards or instructions to inform people of the procedures, and signs, if any, are old computer printouts on different windows that almost always cannot be read because of rush of people.

There is no information counter and so you have no chance of knowing what to do while many of our countrymen who are illiterate are handed out complicated forms to read and sign.

Then you try to use the out-of-order token system and find out that there is a particular gentleman who carries tokens in his pocket and dishes them out as a sacred offering once you manage to locate him. After negotiating the different claustrophobic cabins and offices, you eventually find someone who could answer your questions and then you are informed that there has been no delivery of passports to anyone for the last three months and you could apply at your own risk. If and when the valuable document will be received, no one knows.

What to talk of an emergency, you should forget to make it to any business meetings, overseas employment, family functions, emergencies, deaths or any other such affairs since your government thinks these are unnecessary distractions anyway.

Long live the arrows, tigers, cricket bats, bicycles, kites, lanterns, eagles and hundreds of other symbols that will soon dot the homeland while the number of delayed passports will soon cross a million.

SAQIB ANWAR     Doha, Qatar

Comments (11) Closed

Shehwar Minhaj Apr 01, 2013 04:28am
Aptly put Saqib Saahab. I too live in Doha and wanted to inquire about the upcoming elections and the voting procedures..No one picks up and the official site is almost as helpless as the current state of affairs of the country. I hope these people realise the importance of becoming and projecting themselves as an educated and organised organisation soon. Good luck to you!
Husain Jan Apr 01, 2013 05:24am
More or less same type of problems are faced by overseas Pakistanis living in other countries too. Men posted at our missions behave as if they are not interested in giving any service to Pakistanis and make the visitors feel that they should not come there again with any hope. Overseas Pakistanis need to consider forming a strong association which can make our embassies care for visitors.
Imran Apr 01, 2013 06:53am
Insist on Extension of the current MRP Passport Expiry dates. This is the only solution everyone. Apr 01, 2013 07:00am
I used to live in Dubai, and I believe our embassy was the most inept entity in the whole country. I feel sorry for Pakistan and Pakistanis.
Ayaz Apr 01, 2013 09:24am
Why don't they just give up that country if they can't manage it? after all eventually it will go down one day!
Amjad Apr 01, 2013 09:54am
Embassy postings are one of the major source of corruption in Pakistan, these posts are offered for money and to those who have strong party affiliations. End of the day, who suffers most are the Pakistani's working abroad directly, and those living in Pakistan indirectly for loss of reputation. Again if we choose not to cast our vote in favor of right candidates, we will continue to suffer. No change will last unless brought through the ballot.
Gerry D'Cunha Apr 01, 2013 10:41am
this inefficiency will continue in our missions abroad,when the FO is told to recruit and post 'mamas;chahas'bithijas' of the elites of the country in their mission abroad - season diplomats are left behind to handle the foreign office's affairs in the country.
anony Apr 01, 2013 05:18pm
I totally feel for your situation, but would like to offer my experience when I had to get a passport made. I currently live in the US and had to go to the NY embassy for the MRP as well as a CNIC. I must admit, I was impressed by the smoothness of the whole operation. All the information was available on the embassy's website as well which was easy to follow. This is the first time EVER that I have had a good experience with a govt staff from Pakistan, and I promptly received my CNIC (also the passport that I applied for after receiving the CNIC) without any delays. All this happened roughly 2-3 years ago.
Ariff Apr 01, 2013 06:23pm
I agree with you 100% I live in the US and the Pakistan Embassy is the same here, no one picks up the phone, and if someone does you know right away that they hardly know any english. What if a person calls and he/she does not know urdu? Pakistan is really messed up, I wish it was never created. Dr. Tahir Qadri is right, remove the word ISLAMIC REPUBLIC from Pakistan. Ariff
Salman Saifi Apr 01, 2013 07:41pm
yet you can pay 25,000 rupees and get it in a week. Magic. Always works. imagine the amounts involved. I doubt if this profitable business would end up any soon.
Vigilant Apr 02, 2013 06:28am
Pakistanis embassies are the worst, bureaucrats & diplomats are sleeping while drawing salaries from taxes we pay while citizens are in miserable solution. Any upcoming government must look into punishing those bureaucrats & diplomats.