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"The purpose is to facilitate safe travel of the people across their borders,” said Sajid Bilal, Minister in-charge of the Counsellor section. ─ Creative Commons/File
"The purpose is to facilitate safe travel of the people across their borders,” said Sajid Bilal, Minister in-charge of the Counsellor section. ─ Creative Commons/File

WASHINGTON: Eight million Pakistanis living abroad have been urged to immediately acquire machine-readable passports as hand-written passports were being phased out.

The government has rushed equipment and staff to Pakistani missions across the world to enable citizens to change their passports.

On Wednesday, Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani inaugurated the facility at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington.

Besides the embassy, Pakistani consulates in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Huston are now also issuing machine-readable passports. About one million Pakistanis living in the United States will benefit from this facility.

After Nov 24, 2015, foreign governments will stop accepting hand-written passports.

“The world is moving from manual to computerised systems and the purpose is to facilitate safe travel of the people across their borders,” said Sajid Bilal, Minister in-charge of the Counsellor section.

Faisal Tirmizi, the Consul General in Chicago, explained that computerised passports had security features, which can positively identify a person from the biometric data.

“This is now a universal requirement according to the standards and recommended practices of the International Civil Aviation Organisation,” Mr Bilal said.

Published in Dawn June 19th, 2015

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Comments (8) Closed



Hassan Jun 19, 2015 08:20am

What a crap our whole govt is. I live in Canada and when I apply for my Passport 2 months ago I was told that they only issue manual hand written passports and I paid $150 for that.By the look of things now I think i will need to pay $150 more.

Bhai Jan Jun 19, 2015 08:34am

Please make sure Pak Consulate in Houston Texas has the facility available now,because they did not have the equipment for MRP till April 2015.

Faisal Jun 19, 2015 09:02am

What about cities where Pakistan embassy doesn't exit. I am not going to fly 1 hour to another city to get machine readable passport.

ahmed Jun 19, 2015 10:38am

Good move. Please give this facility to Ukraine mission as well . There is a big community of Pakistanis and our mission is working for more than TEN years.

Khanm Jun 19, 2015 11:13am

Please keep pace with the rapid changing world ...spend money where you ought to....we are already lagging far behind

NH Jun 19, 2015 07:29pm

It's not that simple.Once you renew your passport, you also have to transfer the relevant visa from the host country where you are living and that process is not THAT simple. Why can't they accept the passports as long as they are valid & then gradually phase out the manual ones from the foreign missions??

ahmed Jun 20, 2015 10:19am

Good move. Please give this facility to Ukraine mission as well. There is a big community of Pakistanis here. They will definitely appreciate it.

Ahmad Jun 20, 2015 11:36pm

@Faisal You won't have a choice from nov onwards. Manual passports can't be used for international travel from 24-Nov-2015 onwards, and that's a requirement by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) and IATA.