73 more regional passport offices being set up: Ch. Nisar

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 26 (APP): 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.