Govt offers amnesty scheme for multiple passports holders

ISLAMABAD   –   The federal government on Friday finally gave a go-ahead to the amnesty scheme for holders of multiple passports giving them another chance to get their additional passports cancelled to avoid a jail term under the law.

The scheme will be applicable for those Pakistanis who are holders of more than one passport as well as national identity card, according to an announcement made by the Ministry of Interior.

The federal cabinet in its last meeting had approved the amnesty scheme on the basis of a summary sent by the Ministry of Interior.

According to the Interior Ministry, the scheme that will be the seventh one will remain functional till December 31, 2022.

The multiple passport holders would be able to revoke all passports except one under the amnesty.

Under Section 6 of the Passport Act 1974, any Pakistani having more than one passport can face jail term for a maximum period of three years or penalty of fine or both.

The federal government has decided to give one-time amnesty of the sentence to dual passport holders under Section 12 of Passport Act. The decision has been taken for the larger public interest and Pakistanis living within the country and abroad can benefit from it, according to the Interior Ministry.

The scheme would especially benefit some overseas Pakistanis currently facing difficulties as they have been placed on the blacklist for holding of more than one passport.

In the past, a large number of Pakistanis had obtained more than one passport on the basis of multiple national identity cards. They had got issued these passports when the automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS) was not in use.

The ministry has estimated that as many 38,000 passports could be revoked under the amnesty. Before this, the federal government had announced six amnesty schemes from 2006 to 2016 and as many as 12,000 passports were revoked under these schemes.

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