ISLAMABAD: The Directorate General of Immigration and Passports has been running short of lamination paper resulting in delay in issuance of passports to people many of whom have their visas expired due to long gap.

Excessive complaints have poured in against the directorate for the inordinate delay in issuing passports to applicants compelling the latter to approach the federal ombudsman for intervention to resolve the issue.

Taking notice of complaints, the Federal Ombudsman Ejaz Ahmad Qureshi on Monday sent an inspection team comprising of senior officials to the passport office to check reasons for the delay.

The administration of the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports informed the visiting inspection team that the printing of passports got delayed due to non-availability of lamination paper.

They assured the inspection team that the backlog will be cleared soon as the lamination paper was now in hand. The inspection team advised the administration to ensure the timely procurement of lamination paper in future so that the applicants do not face this problem again.

The administration was also advised to ensure the issuance of passports within the prescribed time frame. The inspection team further advised the administration of the directorate to refund the fee charged for urgent passports in case of late delivery.

Meanwhile, Wafaqi Mohtasib also directed secretary interior to take stock of the working of the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports in a comprehensive manner to ensure efficient delivery of services in future.

The inspection team discussed in detail the entire process of issuing passports in order to ascertain the causes of inordinate delay and breakdown of efficient delivery of services in the Passport Office.

The team also interviewed a large number of people who had come to get their passports in the Passport Offices located in G-8 and G-10 sectors. The team was informed by the applicants that they have been visiting the Passport Office to collect their documents since many months and their visas stood expired in the meantime.

The inspection team on arrival at G-10 Passport Office observed hundreds of applicants waiting to collect their travel documents. The lack of proper seating arrangements was causing further agony to the visitors. The inspection team will submit its report based on its recommendations for the consideration of the Wafaqi Mohtasib within one week.

Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2023

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