ISLAMABAD - Director General (DG) Immigration & Passports, Sikander Sultan Raja, on Thursday suspended the entire staff of Okara Passport Office on charges of inefficiency, dereliction of duty and mismanagement.
According to a statement issued by the Passport Office, the DG Passports paid a surprise visit to Okara Regional Passport Office (RPO) and observed the working of the office till the end of the official timing.
The Director General observed that only three officials were working against the minimum requirement of eight due to acute shortage of staff, ban on recruitment and inaction on the part of office in-charge and zonal in-charge. Even one out of three was absent. There was total chaos and mismanagement and applicants were sitting on the floor of the office, the Director General observed.
On this, the DG ordered to place under suspension the entire staff of passport office including Office In-charge Noushad Ahmed and new staff members have been deputed to save public from hardships and mental stress.
Taking strong notice of the situation, Sikandar Sultan Raja directed the Project Director of Machine Readable Passports (PRP) Project to reach Okara by Friday morning along with technical team and required staff to ensure smooth functioning of the office. Zonal Director from Lahore has reached Okara and has been directed to remain there till the time an office with perfect facilities is made functional.
The DG directed the concerned authorities to make immediate arrangements for the provision of clean drinking water and washroom facilities to the passport applicants in the office. He further directed for the provision of 100 chairs by tomorrow morning keeping in view the absence of any seating arrangement in the office.
The DG Passport said that Okara Passport Office's average workload was 100 to 125 passports per day. To ensure smooth functioning of the office, staff of at least eight is required. However, it was a sorry state of affairs, he said, that only one of the staff members was found performing all the functions of passport processing all alone which were meant to be performed by separate individuals at counters. He observed with dismay that office steno was conducting interviews of passport applicants.
The DG also took strong notice of the fact that despite issuance of clear and categorical instructions, directional boards were not put in place in the office for the guidance of the public and that no guidelines were being provided for public facilitation.