Lawmakers and diplomats are included amongst at least 10,000 Pakistanis who have acquired multiple passports by submitting forged documents.
Officials of interior and foreign affairs ministries have disclosed that when the automated fingerprint identification system was not in place, around 10,000 individuals obtained more than one passport on the basis of different multiple computerised national identity cards. “Among the multiple passports holders are diplomats, businessmen, senior civil servants, lawmakers and foreigners,” an interior ministry official said.
Sensing the gravity of this situation, the government has included 1,550 passports of deported individuals and 4,800 double passport holders on the passports control list. The government has not extended the amnesty granted in such cases since January 2014.
A majority of these passports have been issued within the country, officials say. Since 2008, embassies abroad have issued 110,000 duplicate passports to individuals, who either lost their passports or simply got them renewed, a foreign office official said on the condition of anonymity. “Some of them are said to have been issued on the basis of fraudulent information like change in name of parents or dates of birth,” he said.
Over 19,213 duplicate passports have been issued in Madrid, 11,112 in Dublin, 9,110 in Kuala Lumpur, 3,200 in Athens, 3,123 in The Hague, 2,516 in Paris, 2,100 in New York, 1,677 in Bangkok, 1,465 in Frankfurt, 1,234 in Bradford, 967 in Glasgow, 730 in Washington and 170 in Chicago. Pakistani missions also issued duplicate passports to 760 individuals in Berlin, 200 in Nairobi, 150 in Oslo, 58 in India, 40 in Ankara, 34 in Istanbul and 10 in Iran after the local police reported them missing or stolen.
The foreign affairs ministry has yet to gather the figures of duplicate passports issued after 2013.
Data stored in the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports reveals that seven passports were stolen in this period. “This is why we are still indecisive whether to extend the amnesty or not,” he said. “We also want more changes in the passport cancellation policy.”