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Senate body yet to end hibernation

Senate body yet to end hibernation

2013-06-01T01:34:13+05:00 Imran Mukhtar

ISLAMABAD -

The Senate Standing Committee on Interior headed by JUI-F lawmaker Senator Talha Mahmood has so far failed to prepare any report on the issue of passports' backlog ignoring Senate Chairman's directions in this connection.

Some two months back, Chairman Senate Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari while holding the charge of Acting President, on March 21, had taken notice of various reports of inordinate delay in the issuance of passports. The backlog of passports, at that time, had reached up to seven hundred thousand rupees.

The Chairman Senate had referred the matter to the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, under Rule 166 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate 2012 and had asked the committee to examine the reasons for inordinate delay and suggest concrete measures to clear the backlog as well ensure timely issuance of passports. The Acting President had directed that the committee must report back the matter within two weeks time.

However, the parliamentary committee neither ever struggled to probe the issue nor suggested any measures to clear the backlog after the directions of the Chairman Senate came. Some days back, Director General of Immigration and Passports Zulfiqar Ahmed Cheema while briefing journalists had informed that 0.4 million passports out of the total 0.8 million backlog of passports had been cleared and some more time was needed to clear the remaining backlog.

The committee, after March 21, held only two meetings and first meeting that held under the chairmanship of Senator Talha Mahmood left the agenda of the passports' crisis unattended because of the absence of DG Immigration and Passports. The second meeting held under the chairmanship of Senator Fateh Mohammad Husseni did not even discuss the issue and took up only the issue of various allegations of polls rigging in Balochistan.

The people from various walks of life including students, those aspiring to proceed for Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah and overseas Pakistanis are even now suffering a lot because of the delay in the issuance of passports. Visas of many Pakistanis employed abroad expired because of the non-availability of valid passports. The reason behind the crisis was the non-availability of laminate papers used for the printing of passports.

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