Isuance of E-passports to start in June: Sheikh Rasheed

KARACHI: Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed Friday said that process of issuance of E-Passports in the country would commence from June, and a German company had been awarded the contract for the purpose.

He said that validity of passport expiry had been increased to 10 years and its fee had also been reduced to half, he said while addressing a news conference at the Zonal office of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Sindh.

The Minister said that the FIA and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had taken stern actions against many mafias including money launderers and sugar mafia. As many as 10 accused were arrested by the FIA and 31 sugar mills were issued legal notices while 57 accounts including 19 ‘Benami’ accounts (unrevealed third party accounts) were seized in sugar scam.

The FIA officers who had been enjoying the same positions for years would be replaced in Ramadan, he said.

Sheikh Rasheed said that entire visa process had been made online and about 300, 000 visas had been issued while only 12000 visas applications were rejected during his tenure as Interior Minister. Citizens of 192 countries could get Pakistani visa within 30 days time linked with the clearance from any relevant agency of the country.

He said that national economy was flourishing and strengthening as the dollar price had reduced to lowest level in 22 months. The Ramadan package would be announced within couple of days to provide relief to the underprivileged segment of the society. Prime Minister Imran Khan was committed to control the inflation. Imran Khan also performed the ground-breaking of the low-cost housing units in the capital’s Farash Town the other day.

To a query, Sheikh Rasheed replied that opposition was not a challenge for premier Imran Khan but the real challenge for him was to control the inflation.

To another question, he said that courts were working independently in tenure of incumbent government and provision of justice was being ensured.

The Minister said “I don’t see any conspiracy succeeding against Imran Khan. Imran Khan will complete his five year constitutional tenure.”

PPP had positive approach while PML-N was creating problems for itself due to its narrative, he said.

On a query about Nawaz Sharif’s passport Sheikh Rasheed said that if Nawaz Sharif express any intention to return to the country, the Interior Ministry would issue him travel documents within 24 hours.

The Interior Minister concluded that Pakistan enjoyed congenial diplomatic relations with US, China and Afghanistan. Pakistan was playing key role in Afghan peace process.