FIA launches crackdown against passport agents
By Asad Kharal
LAHORE: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has launched a massive crackdown in passport offices across the country against passport agents. More than 20 agents were nabbed outside different passport offices, The Express Tribune has learnt.
The operation was launched on the directives of the interior ministry after massive complaints of corruption by agents in passport offices were received.
More than 20 agents have been arrested and huge quantity of passports, passport forms, bank challan receipts, tokens as well as cash have been recovered from their possession, sources revealed.
On the directions of Director General FIA Tahsin Anwar Ali Shah, FIA Punjab chapter has constituted 16 teams led by the respective deputy directors of four circles.
Two teams have been constituted by FIA Anti Corruption Circle (ACC) Lahore, seven by FIA circle Multan, five by FIA circle Gujranwala, while two have been formed by deputy director, FIA circle Faisalabad.
Agents, identified as Maqsood Khan and Safdar Ali, were arrested from outside the passport office of Garden Town Lahore, Muhammad Siddique and Muhammad Saeed from Sialkot, Sajid Iqbal, Tasawar Rehmani, Azhar Nawaz, Tasawar Gondal from Mandi Bahauddin, Safdar Ali, Azeem Qasim, Rehmanullah, Qamar Sajjad from Gujrat, Asif Ali from Hafizabad, while Faizaan was taken into custody from the passport office outside Faisalabad.
Six cases have been registered in different circles’ police stations under sections 165-A of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and 5(2)47 of Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA).
FIA Sindh, FIA Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, FIA Balochistan as well as FIA Islamabad chapters have formed special teams that conducted similar raids at different localities on Thursday, sources in FIA headquarters told The Express Tribune.
They added that this special drive has started after having received various complaints regarding bribe-taking as well as other fraudulent behavior, involving mafia agents across the country. These include setting up of temporary stalls as well as charging exorbitant rates for services outside passport offices.
Source: The Express Tribune