islamabad - Inhabitants of district Attock are compelled to face severe miseries at passport office due to poor internet services for last two weeks while administrative negligence has multiplied their grievances.
Muhammad Imran (not original name) is from Hazro. It is his second attempt in second consecutive day to apply for his passport, because the staff has mistakenly marked his application in wrong category in their computer system.
“I came to apply for fresh passport, and they put it in the category of renewal, now like the previous day I have to stand and wait until their dysfunctional computer system is operational,” said Imran.
For last two weeks hundreds of passport applicants visit the office to get new or renewal of their passports but after waiting for entire day they turn back to their homes unsuccessful.
District Attock is considered as backward area but is divided into six administrative tehsils including Attock, Hasanabdal, Fateh Jang, Jand, Pindi Gheb and Hazro.
Not all the tehsils have their own passport offices and Attock office is dealing with most of the population of the district. Although from federal capital this passport office is not more than 50-km away but headquarter has a loose grip on the affairs of this public office, which majorly deals with rural area population. Sakeena Bibi told The Nation that it is her 3rd visit in six weeks, as she has to apply for urgent passport but it has become impossible because every time officials informed that ‘link’ is down from headquarters and they cannot enter data. “Already reaching to token office is a difficult task where you have to meet with corruption mafia and finally when you get access, the computer system is not working,” she said.
Number of people in a conversation with The Nation informed that non-cooperation of staff at office, junior staff’s misbehaviour with individuals and bribery is a common practice at this office.
Saleem Ahmed told The Nation that ‘agent mafia’ grabs you at the main entrance of the office which shows you the ‘shortcut’ to get easy access inside the office.
“Agents finalize the deal with lower staff which helps in taking the person inside without token number,” said Salim. He also said that for more than a week computer system worked for only one hour and rest of the day people waited for its restoration. He also said that staff also avoids to inform people whether they should wait or go.
A woman Shehla, who waited for around two hours outside the token office, said that along with other poor services, lower staff also misbehaves with people coming here.
“They talk arrogantly with women to queue them up in line and directs old villagers to sit on the floor,” she said.
She also stated that staff is enjoying taking tea and snacks in absence of internet services while people have been left for guards who disgraces them when they ask any question.
In Charge Passport Office Muhammad Ikram talking to The Nation said that the internet link is down from the headquarters and he cannot do anything to restore it.
“I don’t know when the issue will be resolved as officials at Islamabad are not attending my call,” he said.
He also stated, “We cannot ask people to stay or go because it is their own will to come, we cannot take responsibility of sending them back.”
Ikram informed The Nation that computer system works in early hours but then it stops.
Meanwhile, an official from Directorate General of Immigration and Passports at Islamabad denied any technical fault in the system.
“Passport system is interconnected from central database system and we have received no complaint of halting of system,” he said.
Moreover, he also stated that the system was upgraded two weeks before and now it is operational. On the other hand, applicants demanded from the Minister of Interior to take notice of the passport office affairs at Attock. “Though this is not district of interior minister but it falls in the same division,” said an old man Muhammad Amin, who has been given the choice to come next day early morning.
This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 17-Feb-2017 here.