RAWALPINDI - Indifferent and pathetic attitude of the staffers, lack of facilities and abundant of touts have multiplied the miseries of passport seekers outside the passport office. From the form sellers to the neighbourhood shopkeepers and even the car-cleaners claim to have an inside connection in the passport office. Over the past few years, the process has been simplified to an extent but the passport office staffers along with other fishy characters outside the building have turned this ease into tease, claimed Muhammad Hussain, a passport seeker. The problem stems from the long lines followed by another line at the token counter. The sheer volume of applications is the reason why touts find the passport office one of the most lucrative areas to operate from. The rates are varied from Rs 50 for advice on filling the form to Rs 100 for the notarised affidavits to Rs 1,000 for submission of the form, everything is negotiable. The overtures start soon after the parking of vehicle. As you walk along, touts are only too willing to sell the form, of course, at double rates, so that you can skip the long line. The staff in the Passport office is the most unfriendly, irresponsible and callous, furthermore, the system is entirely despicable. To know the process of renewal, I have been waiting at the enquiry counter for hours; even that I did not get a proper response, said Ajmal Khattak, resident of Kalar Syedan. The staff in the passport office treated us like we are their slaves and as though they are doing us a favour. The environment outside the office is entirely favourable to fleece the regular public, Shahid Jameel Abbasi resident of Humak said. The token system was introduced to avoid inconvenience, but the 'agent mafia has hijacked it and turned it into a loathsome affair. The agents send their workers at dawn who collect tokens and sell them to visitors for Rs 400 to Rs 500 especially to those who come from other cities. To evade all these gigantic problems, the only way to obtain the passport is through agents who rip off the public conveniently using the conditions prevailing at the passport office. Apart from local residents, there is a majority of people who come from far- flung areas including Murree, Chakwal, Talagang, Taxila, Kalar Syedan, Rawat and Attock. The building has no parking area and the people have to park their motor bikes or vehicles wherever they find any space in the open in highly congested area at their own risk. No shed is available to provide some relief to the people who brave extreme weather conditions under the open sky. It is quite hard to stand in sweltering summer heat but we do not have any other option. The concerned authorities should take immediate measures to protect people from the hazards of summer season, said Imran Aziz.