See how stinking our passport office is!

THERE have always been complaints and allegations about rampant corruption in the Passport Office but Tuesday’s frank admission by Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan about sorry state-of-affairs in the department demands surgical operation to cure the malaise as it is threatening national security and interest. Same deplorable conditions persist in NADRA, which shamelessly issued over 45,000 computerized national identity cards to foreigners in the past ten years and no one knows to what extent this harmed the country.
The Interior Minister was necessarily speaking in the backdrop of American drone attack that reportedly killed Afghan Taliban leader Mulla Mansoor and the passport found from the site of the attack in the name of one Wali Mohammad. Tehsildar, who verified Pakistani nationality of Wali Muhammad, has also been arrested but what about others who helped foreigners obtain CNICs and Pakistani passports. The problem is not just confined to Balochistan but the entire Pakistan and passports issued to foreign nationals have frequently resulted into embarrassment for the country as the holders have been committing serious crimes like terrorism, sabotage, smuggling and drug trafficking. Some of them were even hanged by Saudi Arabia on similar charges but still no remedial measures were taken to reform working of both NADRA and Passport Office. It is strange and regrettable that while genuine applicants are made to visit and re-visit offices of NADRA and Passport Office on frivolous pretexts and objections, forged documents are issued to foreigners and unscrupulous elements with the full connivance of some officials of these organizations. This is era of digitisation but still there is no transparency in the working of NADRA and Passport Office and known corrupt officials are free to compromise national interest for the sake of few bucks. We hope that the Interior Minister, who is a leader of vision, commitment and foresight, would not leave the matter at that and apart from fixing responsibility for issuance of CNICs and passports to foreigners, would also devise a foolproof mechanism to avoid recurrence of the practice in future.

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