New passports to be valid for 10 years
By: Zulqernain Tahir
LAHORE: Interior Minister Rehman Malik announced on Saturday that passports issued from Sept 15 onwards would be valid for 10 years.
“The validity period of a Pakistani passport will be increased from five to 10 years and the process will start from Sept 15,” Mr Malik said while talking to reporters at the inauguration of the Integrated Border Management System (IBMS) at the Allama Iqbal International Airport.
He said the government was also considering issuing a 100-page passport to citizens.
Answering a question, Mr Malik said he had been misquoted on the issue of pre-paid mobile phone SIMs. “I never said pre-paid SIMs is being banned,” he said, adding he had said that he was going to lay his hands on those who had got their SIMs issued on fake identities.
“We will announce a new policy in this respect that will be approved by all stakeholders so that no SIM is issued on a fake identity, stolen computerised national identity card or without a CNIC. Let me make it clear that action will be taken only against fake SIMs.” He also talked about use of cellphones in terrorist activities.
In reply to a question, Mr Malik said he could not confirm whether Badaruddin Haqqani, a leader of Afghanistan’s Haqqani network, had been killed in a drone attack in North Waziristan. “The attacker(s) and victim are not Pakistanis so I cannot confirm.”
About the alleged UK visa scam involving a British newspaper, he said the main character of the scandal (Muhammad Ali Asad) had flown to Britain on forged documents and he had sent a three-member team there to investigate the matter. The minister said armed guards would accompany buses in various parts of the country and would be authorised to shoot attackers on sight.
“I have warned some countries not to destabilise Pakistan, otherwise I will hold press conferences there,” he said.
Mr Malik said the new border management system had been introduced for public convenience, adding orders had been issued for installation of closed-circuit cameras at all airports in the country. The minister said he had issued directives to the FIA chief to suspend officials who were interested in getting posting at airports.
The IBMS has replaced the Personal Identification, Secure Comparison and Evaluation System. The IBMS has been designed in accordance with immigration laws of Pakistan to help prevent illegal entry, use of counterfeit documents, human smuggling and other travel fraud.