PR No. 109 Islamabad

The Interior Minister today announced six months extension in re-validation of manual arms licenses issued by the Interior Ministry. The 06-months extension granted today, to be considered as the last and final, would commence from 01 June 2016 and 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 cancelled.

The Minster also approved, in principle, launch of “E-passports”– a new digital travelling document for Pakistani citizens. The e-passport project would be fully operational by year 2017.

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.

It was informed during the meeting that during arms re-validation campaign that ended in December last year, over 180,000 arms licenses were computerized and validated by the Interior Ministry. It was informed that 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 focal agency.

The Minister was informed that one of the reasons for non-validation of remaining licenses was lack of awareness of the licensees and their unfamiliarity with re-validation process through NADRA.

Taking note of media reports about various issues faced by the masses during the previous arms re-validation campaign, the Minister instructed Interior Ministry and NADRA to launch proactive media campaign for creating awareness, on one hand, and to remove bureaucratic hurdles in the re-validation process on the other.

DG-Immigration & Passports gave detailed briefing to the Minister on various features of ‘e-Passport’. He informed that a micro-chip embedded in each e-passport with all the biometric information would help authenticating the identity of the traveler.

The Minister in his remarks observed that forgery and misuse of Pakistani travelling document caused huge damage to the national image and was a matter of serious concern. He said that the methods and sophistication through which human traffickers forged travelling document needs to be preempted through issuance of document which could neither be forged nor copied and the introduction of e-Passport would be the most important step in that direction.

“We will ensure elimination of menace of human trafficking from Pakistani soil with introduction of E-passports, a new digital document for international travelers in the future,” observed the Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

The Interior Minister was informed that e-passport is amendable to accept additional information that may be required in the future and can only be added by Pakistani immigration and passport authorities.

The Minister also directed DG-IMPASS to engage an in-house modern digital printing machine with newest technology on permanent basis to cater to the needs of printing e-passports and to ensure quality control.