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Immigration agency being set up: Moin

July 03, 2002

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RAWALPINDI, July 2: The government is planning to set up Immigration and Naturalisation Agency, said interior minister Lt- Gen Moinuddin Haider (retired) here on Tuesday.

Addressing “Meet the Press” programme at the press club, he said the agency would be set up after separating immigration from the FIA and visa issuance plus registration matters from the passport cell. Personnel of the new agency would also be deputed in Pakistani missions abroad and would be responsible for visa issuance.

The minister said around 40 personnel were in the process of being recruited for the agency.

Deliberating on the immigration and border control issue, Haider said the automatic border control system, presently installed only at the Karachi airport, would be extended to all the 18 exit and entry points of the country by next March. All these points would also be coordinated after the installation of this system, he added.

Machine readable passport, the minister said, would be launched within few months. “The project directorate of the machine readable passports is being set up and international tendering would be done very soon.” The minister informed the gathering that the conviction rate in case of passport violations was 80 per cent. “This has been achieved after separating passport cell from immigration. The conviction rate in case of immigration violations is 24 per cent.”

HUMAN TRAFFICKING: He said a law to check human trafficking was about to be introduced under which the punishment for those involved in it would be seven years imprisonment and Rs0.3 million fine. Similarly, he added, federal prosecution service ordinance was also about to be enacted.

Discussing the sectarian issue, Haider said, the government had, for the first time, established a sectarian database after one-and a-half year. This database that profiles the sectarian incidents and related information was available to the provinces, he went on to say.

Databases of both legal and illegal manpower exporters was being established after which action against the illegal operators would be started and they would either be neutralised or got regularised.

Responding to a query regarding FBI operations, he reiterated that the American agency could not operate on its own and came into picture whenever its assistance was required and was requested to help.

Denying that hundreds of FBI operatives were operating in the country, Haider said two FBI agents came in connection with Daniel Pearl case and another 14 arrived after the US consulate bombing, seven of whom had already left.

The minister said some evidence had come to the government’s notice suggesting that Al Qaeda financed the US consulate bombing.