Pakistani citizens are facing a daunting challenge as the nation grapples with a severe shortage of lamination paper, leading to a halt in the issuance of new passports. The scarcity of this crucial material, imported from France, has left countless individuals in limbo, unable to embark on international journeys for study, work, or leisure.
Students Stranded: Visa Approvals But Passport Delays
The dire situation has particularly impacted students who have secured visas for pursuing degrees abroad. With approved visas in hand, aspiring scholars find themselves stranded at home, their dreams of studying in countries like the UK and Italy on hold indefinitely. The unavailability of passports threatens to shatter their aspirations, with some fearing the loss of golden opportunities. This isn’t the first time Pakistan has faced such a passport issuance crisis. In 2013, a similar halt occurred due to financial disputes and a shortage of lamination papers. History seems to be repeating itself, leaving citizens frustrated and questioning the efficiency of the Directorate General of Immigration & Passports (DGI&P).
In response to concerns about the DGI&P’s efficiency, Qadir Yar Tiwana, the Director General for Media of the Ministry of Interior, assured the public that the situation would soon be under control. Tiwana acknowledged the challenges but emphasized that the government was actively working to resolve the crisis. Thus expressing confidence in overcoming the backlog. Adding to the frustration, many residents have reported receiving messages from the DGI&P informing them that their passports are ready for pickup. Only to be turned away upon reaching the passport offices. This confusion has further fueled the sense of helplessness among those eagerly awaiting their travel documents.
The Human Cost
Individual stories highlight the human cost of this bureaucratic quagmire. Zain Ijaz, a resident of Gujrat, secured admission to a university in the UK. But finds himself unable to travel without a valid passport. Similarly, Gul, from a far-flung area in Punjab, lamented how the mismanagement of the DGI&P may have cost him a life-changing opportunity to work in Dubai. Therefore pulling him out of poverty. Despite the current challenges, Tiwana remains optimistic about resolving the passport issuance crisis. He assures citizens that the government is committed to getting the process back on track. And that the backlog is steadily decreasing as affected individuals anxiously await a solution. Therefore there is a glimmer of hope that the bureaucratic hurdles will soon be overcome. Thus allowing dreams to take flight once more.