When Pakistan is fighting against terrorism and is pursuing terrorists everywhere, a serious loophole has come to light under which one Pakistani mission abroad is issuing Pakistani passports to foreigners.
The Pakistan Embassy in Damascus, Syria, has issued a passport to an Iraqi national without having any such authority and the Pakistani Ambassador to Syria has confirmed the issuance of such a passport.
The case has raised eyebrows in the Interior Ministry and intelligence agencies as in the recent past a computerised Pakistani identity card was recovered from one of the most wanted men in Iran, Abdul Malek Rigi, the chief of Jandullah, when he was arrested by the Iranian intelligence.
Sources say that the Iranians succeeded in forcing the plane to land in the Iranian territory in which the terrorist was flying from Dubai to a hithero unidentified Central Asian State. Miss Suad, an Iraqi national, was issued a Pakistani passport from the Embassy of Pakistan, Damascus, Syria, for two years. Miss Suad was issued a passport bearing number KG074143 on 11th September, 2008 while she already possessed an Iraqi passport bearing number G710238.
Her Pakistani passport, which is expiring on 10-09-2010, has an address of Gujar Khan, Rawalpindi. (House No. 179, Mohalla Rajgan, ward No. 9, Gujar Khan) and the NIC number mentioned on the passport is of a minors form-B, who is a resident of Rawalpindi, according to the National Data Base Registration Authority (NADRA).
Interestingly, this passport has been issued to an Iraqi lady by an official of the Intelligence Bureau presently posted abroad. The said Iraqi lady is a teacher at the Pakistan International School of Damascus.
The Pakistan Ambassador to Syria, Ameenullah Raeesani, when contacted on telephone, confirmed that a passport had been issued to an Iraqi national but mentioned that it was done before he joined the embassy. He said that he had raised the issue with the concerned department.
Attaullah Khan, Counsellor Embassy of Pakistan, Damascus, was all in all when he issued the passport to the Iraqi lady as the previous ambassador was also not in the country, said the ambassador.
“Attaullah is from the Intelligence Bureau and I have written about the passport to the concerned authority,” said the ambassador. When asked about the concerned authority, the ambassador said that the department from where Attaullah Khan had come i.e. the Intelligence Bureau was the concerned authority. Ameenullah Raesani said that there was no biometric system installed at the Embassy and the passports issued to the Pakistan community were manual passports.
He gave a spin to the question when asked whether this passport will be cancelled and said: “I have written to the concerned authorities.” When asked about issuance of any other passport to a foreigner, the ambassador said that he has checked and so far has found only one case i.e. of the Iraqi lady.
A senior official of Nadra told this correspondent that there were loopholes in the systems installed at the Pakistan embassies in various countries and a terrorist could also get away with a green passport without any hindrance.
The official said that the passport in question was a manual passport, issued by the Embassy in Damascus to an Iraqi lady and at many embassies of Pakistan bio-metric system has not been installed yet therefore many foreigners could have availed this facility.
When asked if any terrorist leader tries to obtain a manual passport what were the chances of his success, the Nadra official said that mainstream known terrorists like Osama bin Laden and Eman Zahwari etc could not obtain such passports but others may succeed as there was a loophole in the system. “We are trying to improve the system and are hopeful that we will minimize the error,” the Nadra official said. It is worth mentioning here that many terrorists arrested from the tribal areas possessed Pakistani passports which has alarmed the country’s intelligence agencies.