THE claim by the Passport Office, Karachi, that corruption has been eradicated with the introduction of computerised system is negated by the fact that touts are there in the premises and they charge Rs300 to Rs700 for passport processing and final delivery, depending on the task. To begin with, the hurdle in the payment of the fee at the National Bank branch at the passport office in connivance with passport officials is that the bank refuses to accept the payment of challan at any other branch on grounds that they do not receive information of payment in this age of the Internet.
So they insist that payment must be made in their branch only where it takes almost an hour or two for payment alone.
However, if you are ready to pay Rs300 per passport, the broker would get it done in a few minutes. The concept of senior citizens’ line is only up to the window plate for senior citizens. There is no separate line for young and healthy persons. As a consequence, senior citizens — limping, panting — are pushed aside.
I am 78-year-old and took two-and-a-half hours to get my turn with the photo and token after fighting with the staff. My request to the director of passports is to first remove the senior citizens’ or else stop the entry of applicants below 65 years and their touts.
Secondly, the National Bank of Pakistan staff be directed to accept the challan paid at other branches of the NBP to save the agony and time for standing in long queues.
Thirdly, stop the menace of touts. No touts should be allowed in the processing hall.