ISLAMABAD:(APS)Nov 26,2015-Minister for Interior and Narcotic Control Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan Thursday informed the National Assembly that 73 more regional passport offices, costing Rs 680 million, were being set up across the country next year.
Speaking in the House, the Minister said these offices would only be established in such districts where passport office did not exist.
“The offices are being set up mostly in Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkwa,” he added.
Nisar said the offices were being established in larger national interest rather than on the recommendation of anyone for the first time in country history.
“Next year, passport offices will be available in every district of the country,” he said.
The Minister said 13 mega National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) centres were also being set up across the country where international standard facilities would be provided to the citizen.
He said when he took charge of the interior ministry on June, 7, 2013, there were a backlog of 0.1 million passports as no raw material was procured for printing the passports.
He said that the backlog was not only cleared within two months but also many pragmatic initiatives were taken for delivery of passports in short possible time.
He claimed that now applicants were getting urgent passport in just 4 days and normal in 10 days.
The Minister said the time limit for passport delivery was reduced to 4 from 6 days (urgent passport) and 14 to 10 days (normal passport).
He said that expiry limit of passport had also been extended from five to ten years.
He said online tracking and SMS system was introduced in the passport offices to ensure transparency and counter corrupt mafia.
Some employees were terminated and arrested on account of corrupt practices, he added.
He said incentive package was also announced for officials who would excel in their duties.
Nisar Ali Khan said that VVIP culture for getting passport had already been completely abolished and he himself being an interior minister visited the passport office for renewal of passport.
“Every one even VVIP will have to go to the passport office for biometrics process like an ordinary citizen,” he said.
He appreciated the President Mamnoon Hussain, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif for setting up good tradition in the country’s history for the first time.
He said that he had strictly banned sending of a mobile cameras and biometrics system to the VVIP places.
He said home delivery of passport had been started initially in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Karachi and Lahore adding that it would be extended to the whole country in next four months.
The Minister said a sum of Rs 18 billion revenue was collected under head of passport and immigration during last year while it was Rs 13 billion in 2013.
Similarly, he said that NADRA was running into loss of Rs 1.7 billion before inception of the incumbent government.
He said NADRA earned Rs five billion profit in 2014 and hoped the revenue would be increased to Rs over five billion.
Nisar Ali Khan said around 100,000 computerized National Identity Cards (CNICs) were blocked during last one year while just 20 to 25 were blocked in 2012 and 400 in 2013.
He vowed that all fake CNICs would be traced and blocked.
“Some 200 NADRA employees including assistant directors were dismissed from service besides sending them behind the bars during the last one and half years for issuing fake CNICs,” the Minister added.
He suggested the Business Advisory Committee should decide that every ministry presents its performance before the House.
The performance of every ministry should be debated at this august forum, he said.
He offered to present his ministry’s performance first before the House adding that open debate should be carried out on all issues being confronted the masses, he added.
Replying to reservations of Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, Dr Nefeesa Shah, Junaid Akbar and others regarding discriminatory attitude towards Pakhtuns and blockage of their CNICs, the Minister assured the members that no injustice or discrimination would be done with any community.
He said that it was a complicated issue and suggested that an oversight committee of the House should be set up for verification of blocked CNICs.
Nisar said that issuing of machine readable passports in the entire country besides 76 country’s foreign missions would be started next month.
Earlier, Maulana Fazlur Rehman appreciated the steps taken by the interior minister but alleged mostly CNICs of Pakhtuns were blocked.
“Instead of individual, the CNICs of whole tribes had been blocked,” he claimed.
He said all Pakhtuns mentioned ‘Afghan’ in the caste column of CNICs which did not means that they were not Pakistani.