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Government launches online passport renewal service

Overseas Pakistanis will now be able to get their passports renewed at their residences abroad

Gulf News

Islamabad: The government has launched online passport renewal service for the overseas Pakistanis, the country’s interior minister said on Thursday, according to the national broadcaster.

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told reporters the overseas Pakistanis will now be able to get their passports renewed at their residences abroad.

The minister said e-service will be introduced in Pakistan within six months, and it will be ensured across the country in the next two years. The e-service will help check frauds in issuance of passports besides easy renewal of passports.

The government is making efforts to provide people the best services to acquire national identity card and passport in an easy way, he said.

The interior minister said passport offices will be established in every district of the country.

To a question about the controversial news regarding a high-level meeting published by an English daily, the Interior Minister said a committee has been constituted to probe this national security issue.

He said the representatives of Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors and All Pakistan Newspapers Society have been called for a meeting to discuss the matter.

He said the reporter’s name was put on the Exit Control List because he was scheduled to leave the country the very next morning, and his presence in the country was necessary for investigation.

The reporter, Cyril Almeida was barred from leaving the country on Monday after he wrote the news report about a high-level security meeting claiming on the basis of leaks that civilian participants had told the military to act against militants or face international isolation.

The Prime Minister’s Office rejected the story thrice since it was published October 6.

The interior minister said the incorrect news provided an opportunity to enemies of Pakistan to level allegations against the country.

In an Editor’s note, newspaper Dawn clarified its position and stated that the story “was verified, cross-checked and fact-checked.”

The note further stated that “many at the helm of affairs are aware of the senior officials, and participants of the meeting who were contacted by the newspaper for collecting information”.

The elected government and state institutions, the note said should refrain from targeting the messenger and “scapegoating” the newspaper.

In the wake of the travel ban on the reporter, human rights and journalists’ organisations protested while news channels debated the issue.