ISLAMABAD - Unlike the past practice, Directorate General of Immigration and Passports has cleared the backlog of as many as 1,532 cases of black list passports and 1,722 cases of renunciation of citizenship.

Director General of Passports Directorate Sultan Sikander Raja while talking to The Nation, the other day, informed that backlog of blacklist (multiple CNICs/multiple passports) cases and cases of renunciation of Pakistani citizenship had been brought to zero within last four months. “Now we have no pending cases in this connection,” he added.

Earlier, the masses had to wait for months and years to get their name cleared from the black list that is maintained by the passport office in case they had got issued multiple passports despite the fact that the government had fixed the fee to get cancelled one passport. Similarly, Pakistanis living abroad in those countries with which Pakistan had no agreement of dual nationality had suffered a lot in the past by not getting their renunciation certificates from passport office. Such cases also used to become victim of red-tapism of passport office and such Pakistanis had to wait for more than two years to get the certificate.

According to a working document of the passport directorate; only in the last four months, 1,722 renunciation certificates had been issued and sent to toe concerned Pakistani embassies and 514 such cases had been referred to various agencies for report to finalise such cases. Pendency with passport department in this regard is zero, says the document.

The document says that backlog of blacklist/multiple CNIC/ multiple passport cases have been brought to zero and only in last four months, 1,532 cases had been decided. In addition to that, passport office has floated a tender to initiate a project for home delivery services for passports in six major districts of the country including Islamabad/Rawalpindi, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta and Muzzaffargarh.

According to the document; after this project, applicants’ interaction with the offices will be reduced and passports shall be delivered to them at their mailing addresses. The paper says that this will not only facilitate public at large but will also help to control corruption. Similarly, to attend the increasing number of queries related to functions of passport department especially processing of passport applications, DG Passports has initiated an action to establish the state of the art, call centre, which will be automated phone system offering a menu of choices to respond to the callers queries automatically 24/7 even during off hours. This will also decrease the human intervention. Recently, all the offices of DG, branch incharges and all the incharges of regional passport offices have been connected with one another and to the public through emails. E-mail addressed of all the office incharges of regional passports offices have been developed and they had been forced to receive and send the emails for official correspondence. The applicants can now approach the Directorate General and to each and every officer through email. DG Passports is trying to ensure that the public would get the response from the concerned officers through email and a mechanism of supervision through random checking has been developed to ensure this facility to public.

A web mail system of Directorate General has also been activated and now all the officers of head office and the field are in contact with one another through this system.