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Letter from Vancouver

Machine Readable Passports for Overseas Pakistanis 

By: Khalid Mateen 

Recent challenges which world faces today in human trafficking and terrorism has made the machine readable or computerized passports necessary. Most of the third world countries have completely resorted to such passports even before the dead line of 31 December 2013 after which manual passports will not be entertained anywhere in the world.

Some countries have already started giving tough time to Pakistanis who are specially delayed if they have manual passports. Overseas Pakistanis at many consulates where this computerized facility does not exist get a manual passport after paying full fee and would have to pay it again in few months when they will get machine readable passports.

It is funny to report that in some consulates the machinery has been installed since last year and even after almost a year no staff has been posted by FIA to operate it. Reliable sources told us that there is a big list of FIA /NADRA staff trying for their foreign postings and the kick backs have also been offered by some apart from approaching Rehman Malik through influential's.

In Canada machine readable passports are issued in Pakistani consulate at Toronto and nowhere else. In Vancouver consulate machinery was installed a year back and is not functional due to staff not posted there. Pakistanis travel thousands of kilometers by taking five hours flight to Toronto spending $600 to get their computerized passports. It is a great misery and danger for a Pakistani if you happen to have a manual passport while getting into USA told Mr. Muhammad Aiman who passed through the worst night mare of his life spending whole night with the US immigration at the Canadian border.

Overseas Pakistanis who are yet having green passports are praying for the early receipt of their computerized passport, especially when the facility is so near but yet too far due to staff not being posted to Pakistani Consulate at Vancouver.

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