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