ISLAMABAD - The government is all set to reopen doors of a passport office in Wanna next week that it had shut seven years ago, officials of the Interior Ministry told The Nation yesterday.

Sources said that the ministry has also decided to reopen passport office in Killa Saifullah district of Balochistan province after two years. They said that five new passport offices in different cities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including Mansehra, Kharan, Sawabi and Shangla would be opened by end of this month.

The passport office in Wanna was closed in 2008 after army operation was launched in the area to eliminate terrorists and the Killa Saif Ullah passport office was also closed due to terrorists’ activities in Balochistan.

The ministry has planned to open 73 new passport offices in the country by end of next year. It had already shortlisted 7,000 candidates for the 475 new slots and all candidates were picked on merit through the National Testing System (NTS).Sources said that executive passport offices would also be opened in 13 cities.

Officials at the ministry said that by early next year applicants for the passport would be able to deposit their fees online. The ministry had also been working to make the passport renewal process online. They said that printing process of passports was manual which will also be made automated by January 2016.

They said that after November 24, no Pakistani diplomat would be allowed to issue manual passports. Officials of the Directorate General of Immigration and Passport had been working closely with NADRA to automate the system, they added.

Earlier, the passport directorate had blocked thousands of passports of non-nationals, including Afghans, Bengalis, Burmese and Tajik with the help of NADRA.

Senior security analyst Asad Munir appreciated government’s decision to reopen passport office in tribal areas saying that this means the situation in Wana is under control.