Pakistan will be introducing an e-passport system by June and for this purpose, the services of a German company have been acquired, as announced by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar on Friday.

While conversing with the reporters after visiting the FIA’s zonal office, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told it was a major advancement that would help eliminate all the difficulties encountered by passport seekers in the existing system. “I assure you that this [e-passport] service would be available by June [2021],” he said in reply to a question. “After that, you would not hear any complaints or year-long delays for minor work. A German company has been hired for this project and it would be a major relief for all those seeking speedy service by the passport office.”

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Moreover, biometric records will expedite the identification process, simplifying passport control and paving the way for the computerization of services. The new e-passports will be incorporated with a biometric chip comprising personal data such as images, fingerprints, and other information. Furthermore, the validity of passports has been further extended to 10 years and its fee had also been reduced to half. Sheikh Rasheed announced that the complete visa application procedure is now online and about 300,000 visas had been issued while only 12,000 visa applications were rejected during the last four months.

In addition to it, Pakistan proclaimed to process all visa applications using an online visa portal only from February 2021, phasing out the exhausting manual visa system. The e-visa facility is part of the government’s digital transformation efforts to simplify and streamline visa facilities and to promote tourism and business visits to Pakistan.

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The e-passport entails a contactless microprocessor that saves the same information that is printed on the passport’s data page such as the holder’s name, date of birth, passport number, picture as well as fingerprints, and signatures. The e-passport adds a special layer of protection to the traditional travel document and lessens the risk of fraud. More than 150 countries around the world have launched e-passports by 2020, according to recent reports.

Source: Ary News

Image Source: Dawn


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