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Monday July 22, 2024

Touts outside MoFA office a nuisance for visitors

By Sher Ali Khalti
July 11, 2024
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pakistan building can be seen in this image. — APP/File
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pakistan building can be seen in this image. — APP/File

LAHORE:The growing number of touts operating outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) office in City has emerged as a disturbing issue for the citizens. These touts used to charge applicants exorbitant fees for services allegedly with the ‘collaboration’ of some officials within the office, The News has learnt.

Hundreds of people, including male, female youth, elderly men and women visited the office daily to get attested documents, including educational degrees, marriage certificates, police verification certificates and other documents in a bid to visit abroad for multiple purposes.

As the citizens approached the office, they encountered with touts mafia who demanded Rs5,000 to Rs10,000 for the attestation of documents without any trouble. According to Ahmad, one of the touts, while talking to this scribe, said that we provide our services including saving the times of the applicants by not letting them stand in the queue.

Another tout, Rauf said that he got Rs9,000 from one applicant and got his documents attested with protocol. Both touts revealed that they have ‘understanding’ with the officials working inside the MoFA office and they shared the amount with them, which they got from the applicants.

A student from DHA told that he had been coming to the office for the last three days, but could not get his documents attested due to the rush. He demanded that the necessary information about the attestation process should also be displayed outside the MoFA office for the visitors. During three days, he was not allowed to enter from that gate. According to him there was huge rush and it was not easy to enter from the gate.

Even the applicants were standing on Gurumangat Road, which disturbed the passersby. After seeing the situation, the Assistant Commissioner Cantt rushed to control the situation and restore traffic flow. Fatima Kazmi, an applicant became faint due to suffocation at the gate but AC Cantonment intervened to control the situation.

M Naeem, who wanted to travel to Malta and was there to get his documents attested, complained that he was approached by the touts demanding Rs5,000 for the attestation of his documents within short span of time. Naeem told that he will leave the country to earn money and want to get rid of unwanted issues like this.

MoFA Director Ali Fraz while talking to The News confirmed that touts are working outside the office. They used the fake stamps/bar code. We cannot stop them. Provide us a solid proof if they have contacts inside the office. We will take action if proved, said the MoFA Director. The News told the officer about having contact numbers and audio recording of the bargaining of the touts with the applicants, upon which the director gave cold shoulder.