LAHORE - The Immigration and Passport director general has directed all regional offices heads to get Section 144 of the CrPC imposed through the DCOs concerned to remove illegal agents and petition writers sitting around their offices, sources in the Abbot Road Regional Passport office said. The Abbot Road assistant director has requested Lahore DCO to impose Section 144 of CrPC around passport office. In a letter written to the DCO, the assistant director said that in the Machine Readable Passport System no application form is required to be filled in by the applicants and data, photograph and biometrics are captured by the office in a queue-based system. As such the role of petitioner writer and agents has altogether been eliminated. “Their presence outside the office is sources of inconvenience and misguidance for the passport seekers which also conveys a negative message to the public and give bad name to the department of Immigration and Passports,” the AD added. He said some agents occupied shops on rent on the pretext of photocopy on the way of passport office, Abbot Road, who are also misguiding the innocent applicants and selling the bank challan which are available free of cost in the office. Moreover, there is apprehension that these agents/petition writers may show resentment and create law and order situation in the area.The letter further said that the Director General, IMPASS has directed all regional passport offices heads to personally approach the local administration and police authorities to take necessary steps about complete and permanent removal of touts/agents on the premises of regional passport offices. “No person may be allowed to arrange bench and chair within a distance of 1,000 meters of passport offices. No person may be allowed to sell or fill in the application / forms within distance of 1,000 meters of passport office,” the letter added. The assistant director further requested the DCO to impose Section 144 as has been done in case of Regional Passport Office, Faisalabad. The current management of Abbot Road passport office has made matchless arrangements for passport seekers. Cell phones of all staff are held from 8:15 am to 4:00 pm since cell phone using during duty hours has been prohibited. Separate counters have been established for senior citizens, patients, pregnant women and disable persons to facilitate them in connection with passport issuance. Sanitary conditions have been upgraded in the office.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 16-Dec-2013 here.