The government has approved the launch of ePassport – a new digital traveling document for Pakistani citizens. The e-passport project would be fully operational by the year 2017, the government confirmed.
What is ePassport
ePassport is a document with an electronic chip, which carries the biometric data that can be used to identify the travelers. The decision has been taken on account of the fact that the current passports are not very secure, and fraudsters misuse them. Smugglers, terrorists, and opportunists copy identities and create fake passports for conducting heinous activities, thus bringing a bad name to Pakistan.
Recently, six human traffickers were also arrested from Punjab with fake passports and CNICs. With the introduction of the ePassports in the country, these issues can be resolved.
This is not something very unusual and has been in practice in Pakistan for decades; the only way to lower down the rate of human smugglings is to beef up the security measures.
The ePassport is responsive to accept additional information that may be required in the future and can only be added by Pakistani immigration and passport authorities.
It would be very difficult to hack an ePassport, and therefore, the unlawful transportation of things, materials, data or people will be decreased.
The announcement of ePassport was made by the Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan, who also announced six months extension in re-validation of manual arms licenses.
The extension granted today, to be considered as the last and final with effect from 01 June 2016, is aimed at facilitating all the genuine arms licensees to get their manual licenses validated from NADRA. It was also decided that after the expiry of the extension date all manual licenses would automatically stand canceled.
He passed these directions while chairing a high-level meeting at the Interior Ministry today which was attended by Secretary Interior, Special Secretary Interior, DG-FIA, DG-Immigration & Passports, Chairman NADRA and senior officials of Interior Ministry.
During the previous arms re-validation campaign that ended in December last year, over 180,000 weapons licenses were computerized and validated by the Interior Ministry.
Over 8,000 licenses were found bogus during the re-validation drive. The Minister directed that FIR should be registered against fake-license holders, and detailed inquiry should be initiated with FIA as a focal agency.
According to ministry officials, one of the reasons for non-validation of remaining licenses was a lack of awareness of the licensees and their unfamiliarity with re-validation process through NADRA.
For making e-passports, in-house modern digital printing machine will be installed with the newest technology on the permanent basis to cater to the needs of printing e-passports and to ensure quality control.