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Passport Shortage Grips Pakistan as Lamination Paper Scarcity Hinders Travel Plans

In a concerning development, Pakistan is grappling with a severe shortage of passports due to a lack of lamination paper, leaving thousands of citizens stranded and frustrated in their pursuits of overseas travel for study, work, or leisure.

The scarcity of lamination paper, a critical component for passport production, has led to a nationwide shortage of travel documents. This situation has dire implications for those who rely on passports to realize their dreams of international study, employment, or leisure.

The Directorate General of Immigration & Passports (DGI&P) in Pakistan has revealed that the lamination paper used in passports is imported from France, emphasizing the external dependence for this crucial element.

Impact on Citizens:

  • Dreams Deferred: The passport shortage has left many citizens in despair. One such individual, Zain Ijaz from Gujrat, who had secured admission to a UK university, finds his plans in jeopardy due to the lack of a valid passport.
  • Work Opportunities Slipping Away: Ijaz is not alone; others seeking to work abroad face similar challenges. The unavailability of passports has dashed their hopes of improving their fortunes and escaping poverty.
  • Education Opportunities Missed: Students like Hira from Peshawar, whose student visa for Italy was approved, have been unable to seize the opportunity due to the unavailability of passports.

Recurring Issue: It’s worth noting that Pakistan has encountered a similar passport crisis in the past. In 2013, passport printing was halted due to financial issues and a lack of lamination paper.

Government Response: Qadir Yar Tiwana, Director General for Media of the Ministry of Interior (the parent ministry of DGI&P), reassured that the situation would soon be under control, and passport issuance would return to normal. The government is working diligently to address the crisis and reduce the backlog.

Citizens’ Experiences:

  • Backlog Woes: Karachi’s North Nazimabad resident Faizan shared that the city receives approximately 3,000 passport applications daily, but the mismanagement by DGI&P has caused substantial delays. He submitted his application over two months ago and is yet to receive his passport.
  • False Notifications: Amir from Karachi’s Gulshan-e-Iqbal area recounted receiving an SMS indicating that his passport was ready for pickup. However, upon reaching the office, he was informed that his passport had not arrived, leading to the cancellation of his travel plans.
  • Reduced Processing Capacity: A senior officer at the passport office in Peshawar disclosed that they can currently process only 12 to 13 passports per day, a stark contrast to the previous capacity of 3,000 to 4,000 passports daily. Unfortunately, the timeline for resolving this backlog remains uncertain, with some individuals possibly facing waits of another month or two.

The scarcity of lamination paper is a pressing concern in Pakistan, affecting citizens’ ability to realize their aspirations and necessitating swift action to address the passport shortage.

For more updates stay tuned to FELA News!

Source: Mint Live

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