Recently, I went to the passport office, situated near the Sindh High Court building as my old passport had expired. It was quite an experience. Outside the building, the footpath was occupied by 'agents' who were not allowing people to easily enter premises without settling matters with them. They were trying to convince people to get all formalities completed through them by paying extra money. For depositing payment against bank challan form, I stood in queue of 'senior citizens' but was surprised to find many young people there in it. Perhaps they were there through agents. When I complained at the window, the man on duty replied: They are here to assist their elders. I retorted: If it is so, before receiving the payment, you must confirm the age of senior citizens from their NICs as this will save genuine senior citizens from unnecessarily wait. Also, a person was able to deposit many challans through the window reserved for women, despite objections from women. Again, when I inquired how soon I will get my passport, I was told although the scheduled time for delivery of an ordinary passport is about two weeks, it might take three to four weeks. As I needed the passport by the second week of January to enable me to attend the graduation ceremony of my son abroad scheduled in the last week of January, I decided to pay the Rs4000 urgent fee instead of the Rs2100 ordinary fee. This was in view of the uncertainty, though it was not my fault. Further, after paying challans I found no one was there to guide the people. Though there were instructions written on the board, these were insufficient in the absence of a proper reception office. In view of my experience, I suggest the following: a. An area of about 10 feet outside the wall of the passport office be marked and the entry of 'agents' be banned inside. b. Inside the office premises a proper reception be set up to guide people as instructions on the notice board are not enough. c. People of Malir and adjoining areas may be allowed to deposit their passport applications at the Awami Markaz, as done earlier. d. Agents' entry in the office premises should be banned. e. If photocopy of first two pages of the passport and the NIC are required, it must be told to people at the reception. Also such requirement must be written on the wall. f. In the queue for senior citizens it is only the deserving people who should be allowed. g. The timeframe for delivery of passports must be strictly observed as people have to travel abroad and sometimes on emergency basis. h. In case the delivery of passports takes more than two weeks, the passport fee must be returned to the people. This will ensure delivery of passports on time. i. Instead of receiving complaints on phone number as mentioned on the notice board, additionally a complaint/suggestion box must be kept. Nevertheless, only competent authority should open it and people's suggestions/complaints may be acknowledged in writing. MOHAMMAD KHAN SIAL Karachi