In yet another sign of Pakistan’s weakening economy, the South Asian country’s citizens are now facing difficulties to secure new passports due to scarcity of lamination paper.
“I was all set to move to Dubai for work soon. My family and I were beyond ecstatic that our fortunes would finally change but the mismanagement of Directorate General of Immigration & Passports (DGI&P) seems to have cost me my golden ticket out poverty and this country,” an individual who went by last name Gul, was quoted as saying by the Express Tribune.
“My student visa for Italy was recently approved and I had to be in the country in October. However, the unavailability of a passport robbed me of an opportunity to leave,” Hira, a potential student in Italy, was quoted as saying by the publication.
Pakistan has had a history of such inefficiencies in issuing passports to its citizens in the past as well.
In 2013, passport printing came to a similar halt due to the DGI&P owing money to printers and a lack of lamination papers, The Express Tribune reported.
“The situation will soon be under control and passport issuance will continue as normal,” Qadir Yar Tiwana, the Director General for Media of the Ministry of Interior, the parent ministry of DGI&P, was quoted as saying by the Express Tribune.
But Pakistani residents do not agree with Tiwana’s assertions.
The Express Tribune report quoted Faizan, a resident of North Nazimabad in Karachi, a city which receives around 3,000 passport applications every day as per official estimates.
“I submitted my application more than 2 months ago and have not received my passport yet,” he said.
“My passport has not arrived to date and I have had to cancel all my plans for travelling abroad,” an irate Amir, a resident of the Gulshan-e-Iqbal area of Karachi said.
A senior officer of the passport office in Peshawar told The Express Tribune that they could presently only process 12 to 13 passports per day as compared to 3,000 to 4,000 passports per day previously.
“People may have to wait for another month or two,” the official was quoted as saying by the paper on the condition of anonymity.