Islamabad - A parcel containing a large number of passports was stolen from a vehicle hired by a courier service to deliver the package to the regional passport office in Attock, officials and police told The Nation on Saturday.

According to information available with The Nation, the courier service officials had hired a ‘private vehicle’ to deliver two parcels — one containing passports and the other a medical package — in the Attock city.

According to the police record, one of the two courier service staffers went to deliver the medical package at a medical warehouse, after they parked the vehicle in a street (with the driver sitting in the seat), while the other staffer went to a mobile repairing shop.

The intruder, while taking ‘advantage of the missing’ courier staffers, picked the parcel from the parked vehicle without being noticed by the driver.

The courier staffers, in their statement, told the local police that the passport package was left in by the rented vehicle driver, who could not notice the theft, which baffled all the three.

Accorded to the statement, the passport parcel —receipt number 23020478941 — was 12 kilograms in weight.

Later, the CCTV footage of a nearby bank and a jewellery shop, seen by the police and the courier service officials, spotted an unknown person stealing the parcel from the parked vehicle.

The crime had happened just two kilometres away from the city police station and at a distance of around 10 minutes walk from the regional passport office.

Talking to The Nation, Investigation Officer Sajjad Ahmed said that it was the sheer negligence of the courier company which did not hire a secured vehicle for delivering such a sensitive package.

“The parcel was left in the open vehicle which was not suitable for such kind of services,” he said.

He said that the police have examined the CCTV footage to identify the culprit, he was still at large.

Ahmed said that a complaint has been registered and an investigation is under way.

Meanwhile, the courier service PRO, Nayyar Shafi, told The Nation that the company has brought the incident to the notice of the police and the Directorate of Passport and Immigration.

He said that the passport division and customers both have been informed about the incident and “soon new passports will be handed over to the applicants”.

He said that the courier company and the passport directorate were partners for delivering the travelling documents to the applicants.

“Such an incident rarely takes place. The passport clients will be compensated and their passports will be delivered in likely in the next week,” he said.

He, however, could not say how many passports were in the parcel.

When asked about the SOP for secure transportation of such documents, the company official said “he will get back in a while” but he did not contact again.

An official from the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports requesting anonymity told The Nation that a detailed inquiry will be held to fix responsibility.

He said that the courier company and the passport directorate have an agreement to deliver travelling documents to the clients.

“It is the responsibility of the courier service to ‘pick and deliver’ passports to regional offices,” he said.

The official also stated that it was a security lapse on the part of the courier company and it will pay a penalty for the negligence.

“There are certain clauses in the agreement about liabilities. Even if a single passport is lost during the delivery, the company will have to pay a hefty penalty,” he said.

He said that the clients will be compensated by the directorate and company.

The official also said that the theft of passports was an inconvenience to the clients, but “it will be of no use for the culprit”.

“It is impossible to forge this document and misuse it,” the official claimed. 

He, however, could not confirm how many passports were in the lost parcel.

Meanwhile, a source said that a parcel weighing 12 kg contains around 70 passports deliver travelling documents to the clients.

“It is the responsibility of the courier service to ‘pick and deliver’ passports to regional offices,” he said.

The official also stated that it was a security lapse on the part of the courier company and it will pay a penalty for the negligence.

“There are certain clauses in the agreement about liabilities. Even if a single passport is lost during the delivery, the company will have to pay a hefty penalty,” he said.

He said that the clients will be compensated by the directorate and company.

The official also said that the theft of passports was an inconvenience to the clients, but “it will be of no use for the culprit”.

“It is impossible to forge this document and misuse it,” the official claimed. 

He, however, could not confirm how many passports were in the lost parcel.

Meanwhile, a source said that a parcel weighing 12 kg contains around 70 passports.