Karachi: Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s President Muhammad Haroon Agar has expressed deep concern over inordinate delays in the renewal requests of passports by the businesspersons stating that members are approaching Karachi Chamber complaining about unwarranted delays in renewal requests of their passports fearing that their businesses would suffer if they could not proceed abroad to attend their scheduled business meetings owing to unavailability of renewed passport on time.
Haroon Agar lamented that due to negative travel advisories by the foreign missions, the foreign buyers are reluctant to visit Pakistan leaving no choice to the business and industrial community to proceed abroad to buyer’s country or any other destination for business meetings and materialize business deals bearing additional burden of international travelling adding to the cost of doing business. He stated that the perception of Pakistan has been negatively distorted abroad as a country with unrest and precarious law and order situation which need correction.
The Government has also miserably failed to portray the real and true picture of Pakistan in the countries around the globe with all its strength and potential and to revive the confidence of the international investors and buyers to visit Pakistan for investment and to meet their Pakistani business counterparts and now delay in passport renewal is adding to hardships faced by the Pakistani business Community.
Moreover, he stated that the businesspersons also frequently travel for performing Holy Umrah and a large number of business community will proceed for performance of Hajj, therefore, renewed passports requests of those have applied must be delivered on priority basis. He criticized the backlog of 700,000 passports requests, as reported in the press and media, which is expected to enhance to one million appears as gross negligence at the part of concerned department. Since the Directorate General of the Immigration & Passports department operates under the ambit of Interior Ministry maintaining allocated funds, the delays is inviting tender and acquisition of ink and lamination paper is questionable.
The backlog created in the last month should have been cleared in this month but no emergency measures were taken to control the crises situation. It appears that the tender has been delayed providing an opportunity to the department’s officers to grease their palms with illegal gratification.
He appealed the President of Pakistan and the Caretaker Prime Minister to immediately intervene and requested to entertain renewal or new passports requests by the members of business community on priority basis. He also demanded dedicated passport counters for the members of the business and industrial community may be considered and established at all the regional directorate generals of immigration and passports across Pakistan to facilitate in international travelling.