Former interior minister Rehman Malik issued these directions to ‘camouflage’ the issue of non-availability of lamination papers that surfaced due to his vested interests.Under the new policy announced by the Interior Ministry on the directions of then minister, Directorate General of Immigration and Passports is busy revalidating all the expired passports free of cost for a period of next five years.
The ministry has already extended the validity of Pakistani passports for a period of ten years from five years.
Sources privy to the development informed that former interior minister issued such directions because the Passports Directorate was short of security laminate, necessary for the issuance of new passports, after the ministry got cancelled a foreign firm contract for the import of these papers.
“The contract with foreign firm was just cancelled to sign a new contract to another foreign company allegedly to receiving kickbacks,” sources added. Interesting, Rehman Malik used the pretext of ‘taking notice of delay in issuance of passport’ while announcing the decision of revalidation of passports.
An applicant has to pay normal fees of 3100 rupees for the revalidation of his/her expired passport and Rs 5000 as urgent fee for such purpose. Same schedule of fees is applicable for issuance of new passports.
A senior official of the passport office on condition of anonymity said the national exchequer was costing millions of rupees because of this policy of the ministry despite the fact that generally poor masses were not benefiting from the facility.
He was of the view that passport was not such facility that should be issued free of cost as mostly well off citizens were taking advantage of this policy.
Just two days prior to the dissolution of the PPP-led federal government, former interior minister had issued orders of revalidation of all expired passports free of charges what he claimed ‘taking notice of the delays in issuance of passports’.
In his message sent on March 14 through the social networking website, Twitter, Rehman Malik advised the applicants to approach the passport office for revalidation of their passports.
The Tweet from @SenRehmanMalik read: “I have ordered the revalidation of all the old passports for five years free of cost. Applicants to approach passport office for revalidation”.