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