Long queues have become a regular sight at the Sadar Passport Office in Karachi, amidst scorching heat, according to reports, as passport issuance and renewals are being delayed.
In normal circumstances, clients could expect to receive their passports within 10 days. However, the current crisis has caused significant delays, with some waiting over a month for their passport to be issued.
The situation was particularly bad on Monday, after the weekly holidays, with citizens forced to wait for hours in excessive heat. This is a common occurrence across different districts of the city, with citizens often returning home after being told to come back in a few days.
Reports suggest that the delay in passport issuance is due to the Directorate General Immigration and Passports in Islamabad. This has caused significant distress, particularly for those who need to travel abroad for work or Umrah. The situation appears to have been triggered by rumors that passport fees would increase with the introduction of e-passports.
Despite attempts by the Passport Directorate to clarify that no such increase is planned, the situation remains out of control. Even the facility of mobile messages, which previously provided updates to applicants regarding the various stages of passport issuance, has been suspended.
It is clear that the existing system is struggling to cope with the sudden surge in demand. While efforts are being made to improve the situation, it is likely that citizens will continue to face significant delays and inconveniences in obtaining their passports.
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