ISLAMABAD: Secretary interior Khawaja Siddique Akbar Friday informed the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that interior minister and secretary interior have powers to issue official passport even to unauthorised persons.
“The rules not only allow interior minister but also interior secretary to issue blue passport to any private citizen of the country,” he told the PAC on Friday.His claim, however, was immediately challenged by the members of the committee who asked him to provide details of the official passports issued to unauthorised persons in the last four years.
The whole issue started when PAC member Hamidyar Hiraj asked secretary interior in which capacity the interior minister issued official passports to unauthorised persons. He also wanted to know how many unauthorised people were issued official passports.
The secretary interior did not have the details but he claimed that not only the minister, interior secretary could issue the blue passport to any one.Hamidyar Hiraj said that the law did not allow issuance of official passports to unauthorised persons.
Earlier, the PAC sought report from the Passport Office about probe into the missing passports.Noor Alam Khan asked DG Passport about the culprits and those officials who were involved in the scam. Riaz Hussain Peerzada wanted to know whether the interior ministry has cancelled the licences and blacklisted those travel agencies who were involved in the scam.
Secretary interior and DG Passport were not aware of it wand asked PAC to give them one day to provide details. But the committee asked them to provide the needed information within 30 minutes.
Riaz Hussain Peerzada wondered why the interior ministry was reluctant to reveal the names of the travel agencies and officials of the ministry involved in the scam The committee expressed no confidence in the preliminary report and sought detailed report within one month.
The preliminary report said that in the year 2011, as many as 5634 passports were stolen from Karachi, which could pose serious threat to national security as some might have fallen into the hands of non-state actors. The PAC was informed that after the probe around 5428 passports were recovered and many arrests were made in this regard and the case is in the court of law.
Meanwhile, the PAC expressed complete dissatisfaction over the financial management of the interior ministry and even cancelled the review of the audit para.The PAC also raised objection to the purchase of helicopter worth Rs50 million. Secretary interior told the committee that the helicopter was purchased by FC.