I APPLIED for my passport renewal on Jan 18, paying a sum of Rs8,250 online for a 72-page book. My husband and I went to the passport office the next day with our proof of payment. We were informed that the standard passport paper was not available and 72-page books were not being issued anymore. Therefore, it was advised that we apply for 36-page passport, which would take at least two months to arrive.

I asked the staff if the amount would be reimbursed, and I was told that there would be no reimbursement. Consoling myself, I applied for the 36-page version with the amount mentioned on my application (Rs4,500) instead of the actual paid amount, and patiently waited for my passport to arrive. The delivery date given to me was Feb 15.

Incidentally, we had also made an online payment for our son for a 72-page book. He went to the passport office a week later, submitted his passport and received the new one within two weeks. On the other hand, I and my husband have been hounding the passport office for months and are constantly informed that our passports are still ‘in the process’.

Although I have lived in Pakistan all my life, I never fail to be surprised by how convoluted and inefficient the whole system is. I have not been able to travel for an urgent work, thanks to the whims of officials, and am still at their mercy.

And, of course, I have no hope of getting my 72-page book, so I will have to suffer the whole agonising process once again probably in the near future.

Shanaz Ramzi
Karachi

Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2024

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