Umrah aspirants facing passport delay

In Local
March 28, 2024



KARACHI:

Despite the fact that the daily number of passport applicants have halved during the holy month of Ramazan, the country’s intending Umrah pilgrims are still facing difficulties in obtaining the travel document.

Sources said the number of applicants in the passport offices of Karachi was usually around 4,000 per day, but it had reduced to 1,800 to 2,000 in the month of Ramazan.

Even through the number of applications for issuance of new passports has declined significantly, the citizens who had completed the process for acquiring it before the month of Ramazan are still waiting to receive their travel document.

According to the sources, most of those waiting for passports are citizens who want to perform Umrah.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, the citizens said they had visited the offices several times to obtain their passports.

The surprising thing is that despite a message being received through SMS, they are told that their passport had not been printed.

The citizens have alleged that instead of finding a permanent solution to the problem, the administration was advising them to receive their passports through the fast-track service by paying extra money.

Sources in the passport office said there was a delay in the delivery of normal travel documents because of “technical” problems.
However, they added that the timely delivery of passports was being made possible on urgent and fast-track applications.

The fee for a normal passport having 36 pages is Rs4,500 and is supposed to be issued after 21 working days.

Similarly, the fee for an urgent passport having 36 pages is Rs7,500 and is supposed to be issued within five days.

Meanwhile, the fee for a fast-tack passport having 36 pages with a five-year validity is Rs10,000 and issued after two working days.

In November last year, a shortage of lamination paper, which is used in passports and typically imported from France, had resulted in a pendency of millions of travel documents.

Later in December, it was announced that the issue of delay in the issuance of passports had been resolved as lamination paper had been arranged by the authorities.

This inefficiency was not a one-off event. Back in 2013, passport printing came to a similar grinding halt because of the Directorate General of Immigration & Passports owing money to printers and a lack of lamination papers.

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