ISLAMABAD  - Without raising any objection regarding the issuance of fresh Pakistani passport to MQM chief Altaf Hussain, interior ministry has conveyed to Foreign Office that Hussain would have to apply for NICOP to get his passport.

In its reply to the letter of ministry of foreign affairs regarding issuance of passport to Altaf Hussain, interior ministry in a letter written to the Foreign Office has said that MQM chief would have to get NICOP (National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis) first, as a pre-requisite for the issuance of Pakistani passport, under the existing laws. After that, he would be able to apply for Pakistani passport, the ministry said in the letter, a spokesman of the ministry of interior informed.

The letter said that all official procedures to get NICOP would be completed in the office of National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA) located at British High Commission in London. In the official procedure, Altaf’s fingerprints and biometrics and digital photographs would be taken, besides jotting down his particulars.

The letter further said that if MQM chief wanted to get issued new NICOP and passport in his name, the ministry would provide him all facilities. However, he would have to personally visit Parisian High Commission in London for this purpose under the prevalent procedures.

According to NADRA’s official website, previously NICOP was issued to overseas Pakistanis working/living/staying/studying abroad for consecutive time period of six months or possessing dual nationalities but now it can be issued to any citizen of Pakistan.

Some days back, Altaf Hussain, who also holds British nationality, had applied for a new Pakistani passport in Pakistan High Commission in London that had given rise to many speculations in the political circles of Pakistan. His Pakistani national identify card and passport had expired. Passports Directorate in Pakistan had issued him passport in 1991. MQM chief had gone on self-exile since 1992 before a military operation had been launched in Karachi against his party.

Pakistan High Commission had contacted the Foreign Officer seeking his consent on the issue. Foreign Office had written a letter to the interior ministry to get its official point of view on it.