Pakistani citizens are facing difficulty in getting new passports due to a shortage of lamination paper, The Express Tribune has reported.
According to Pakistan’s Directorate General of Immigration & Passports (DGI&P), the lamination paper used in the passports is imported from France.
Qadir Yar Tiwana, the Director General for Media of the Ministry of Interior, the parent ministry of DGI&P, told the newspaper that the government was doing its best to navigate the crisis.“
The situation will soon be under control and passport issuance will continue as normal,” Tiwana said, according to The Express Tribune. He further added that the department had already witnessed a steady decline in the backlog.
The shortage has affected thousands of Pakistanis who have been planning to travel abroad. Several students, who have looming admission deadlines in universities around the world, have blamed the inefficiency of the Pakistan government for the crisis.
“I was all set to move to Dubai for work soon. My family and I were beyond ecstatic that our fortunes would finally change but the mismanagement of DGI&P seems to have cost me my golden ticket out of poverty and this country,” Gul, a resident of Punjab, told the newspaper.
Hira, a student from Peshawar, said that her student visa to Italy was recently approved and she was supposed to join in October.
“However, the unavailability of a passport robbed me of an opportunity to leave,” she said, adding that it was unfair that she was paying the price for a government department’s inefficiency.
Muhammad Imran, a resident of Peshawar, said that he is tired of the passport department’s continuous delay and alleged that they were leading applicants on instead of telling them the truth.“
Ever since September the passport office has been stating that your passport will come next week but multiple weeks have passed and they keep repeating the same,” Imran told The Express Tribune.
Notably, this is not the first time that such a crisis has loomed in Pakistan. In 2013, the printing of Pakistani passports came to a halt due to the DGI&P owing money to printers and a lack of lamination papers.