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E-passports to be issued from June: Interior Minister

KARACHI: Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed said that process of issuance of “E-Passports” in the country would commence from June, and a German company had been awarded the contract for the purpose.

While addressing a news conference at the Zonal office of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Sindh, he said He said that validity of passport expiry had been increased to 10 years and its fee had also been reduced to half.

The minister said that the FIA and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had taken stern actions against money launderers and sugar mafia. He said ten accused were arrested by the FIA and 31 sugar mills were issued legal notices while 57 accounts including 19 ‘Benami’ accounts (unrevealed third party accounts) were seized in sugar scam.

Sheikh Rasheed said that entire visa process had been made online and about 300,000 visas had been issued while only 12000 visas applications were rejected during his tenure. Citizens of 192 countries could get Pakistani visa within 30 days with the clearance from any relevant agency of the country.

He said that national economy was flourishing and strengthening as the dollar price had reduced to lowest level in 22 months. The Ramazan package would be announced within couple of days to provide relief to the underprivileged segment of the society.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan was committed to control the inflation. Imran Khan also performed the ground-breaking of the low-cost housing units in the capital’s Farash Town the other day.

To a query, Sheikh Rasheed replied that opposition was not a challenge for premier Imran Khan but the real challenge for him was to control the inflation.

To another question, he said that courts were working independently in tenure of incumbent government and provision of justice was being ensured.“I don’t see any conspiracy succeeding against Imran Khan. He will complete his five year constitutional tenure,” he remarked.

On a query about Nawaz Sharif’s passport, the minister said that if the former prime minister shows any intention to return to the country, the Interior Ministry would issue him travel documents within 24 hours.