Numerous complaints have been filed against the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports, citing prolonged waiting periods for passport issuance, leading frustrated applicants to seek intervention from the federal ombudsman.
Responding to the increasing complaints, Federal Ombudsman Ejaz Ahmad Qureshi acted on Monday by dispatching an inspection team comprising senior officials to assess the situation at the passport office and identify the reasons for the delays.
During the inspection, the administration of the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports explained to the visiting team that the delay in printing passports was due to the unavailability of lamination paper.
They assured the team that the backlog would be swiftly cleared as they now had an adequate supply of lamination paper.
The inspection team recommended that the administration ensure timely procurement of lamination paper in the future to prevent a recurrence of the issue.
They also advised the administration to adhere to the prescribed timeframe for passport issuance and, in cases of late delivery, refund the fees charged for urgent passport processing.
Simultaneously, the Federal Ombudsman directed the secretary interior to comprehensively assess the functioning of the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports to ensure more efficient service delivery in the future.
The inspection team discussed in detail the entire process of issuing passports to ascertain the causes of inordinate delay and breakdown of efficient delivery of services in the Passport Office.
The team also interviewed many people who had come to get their passports in the Passport Offices located in the G-8 and G-10 sectors in Islamabad.
The team was informed by the applicants that they had been visiting the Passport Office to collect their documents for many months and their visas had expired in the meantime.
The inspection team on arrival at G-10 Passport Office observed hundreds of applicants waiting to collect their travel documents. The lack of proper seating arrangements was causing further agony to the visitors.
The inspection team will submit its report based on its recommendations for the consideration of the Federal Ombudsman within one week.