Abu Dhabi: Pakistani community members in the UAE have cried foul over the termination of the courier service by their embassy to deliver passports and other official documents at their doorsteps all over the country.
The community members are worried at the decision as now they have to come to the mission twice to get their passports renewed — once at the time of submitting applications and second trip will be to collect the documents.
The Pakistan Embassy in Abu Dhabi abruptly terminated the contract of the courier company TCS Worldwide last week asking the staff to stop their service and vacate the embassy premises.
The service has been in operation for nominal charges for about three years since 2010. “I was called for a meeting last week at the Embassy and then they issued us a letter terminating the service without any valid reason,” Mazhar Ayub Khan, Vice President Global at the TCS, told Gulf News.
He said that he understood community problems but he cannot provide service without the permission of the embassy. The TCS courier charges only Dh10 for the delivery of the passport, ID cards and any other official documents within Abu Dhabi and Dh15 for delivery in other emirates under a special contract with the Pakistani missions
A spokesperson at the Embassy said the courier service has been terminated because embassy needs to take permission from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan to offer the service and it may be resumed after approval.
Another official at the Embassy confided to Gulf News that the courier service was started by the previous ambassador without seeking formal approval from his government.
However, he said that it does not make sense to terminate the service which was operational for the last three years.” Issue could have been resolved without shutting the service down as the decision will add to the problems of the applicants,” he noted.
The courier service, however, is still being offered at the Pakistan Consulate General in Dubai without any interruption.
“We don’t know about the permission issue because we had signed contract with the previous ambassador in Abu Dhabi and the Consul General in Dubai to provide the service in a bid to facilitate the community members,” said Ayub.
Around 500 to 600 people apply for passport renewal daily at the embassy in Abu Dhabi and even higher number of people visits the Consulate Dubai for the same purpose every day. They have to stand in queues for hours to submit and collect their passports. The courier service at nominal prices helped them save their time and second trip to the missions as the passports were being delivered at their doorsteps all over UAE.
“This is ridiculous,” said Jamil Shaikh, a resident in Al Ain. He said that it was quite convenient service but now people from Al Ain have to travel twice to the Embassy in Abu Dhabi wasting their time and money.
“Instead of alleviating the problems of applicants who have to wait for hours to get their passport renewed, the embassy is adding to our woes,” said Kaleem Ahmed, a resident in Abu Dhabi. He said that it was quite convenient to get the passport delivery at home for just Dh10.