Rs700m released for clearing passport backlog
ISLAMABAD: The finance division has released Rs 700 million to the Printing Corporation of Pakistan (PCP) in order to clear a backlog of 380,000 passports.
Sources said Interior Minister Rehman Malik had himself ensured the release of funds for procurement of material required for the printing of passports.
The minister had directed the director general of passports last week to operate in three shifts to ensure that the backlog was cleared within a week.
Besides non-release of funds, shortage of lamination paper and staff, aligned with an overloaded online system of the National Database and Registration Authority for verification of applicant’s data, had been causing unusual delay in the issuance of passports.
The directorate of passports and immigration received 20,000 blank passports on Tuesday as against the 5,000 it was getting daily hitherto.
Of late, people have had to wait for more than two months to get an ordinary passport and two weeks for an urgent one.
The backlog had crossed the 300,000 mark when the interior minister took notice of the situation on Dec 7, but the number touched 380,000 by the time the PCP agreed to increase printing and supply of passports.
“Although it may not be possible to clear the backlog in a week as directed by the minister, there are signs that things are moving in a right direction and it is hoped that the backlog will reduce gradually,” an official said.