Pakistan is all set to introduce Asia’s first-ever E-Passport service by the beginning of next year and a German company has been hired for the project. This development is said to remove hurdles faced by passport seekers. The Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed hinted at many other developments that will take place in order to strengthen the Immigration and Passport system. The introduction of E-Passports by Pakistan will be the first of its kind in Asia.
An E-Passport is a highly secure travel document embedded with a microchip containing biometric information about the holder. Unlike ordinary passports, the electronic passport or e-passport has a contactless microprocessor that stores a digital version of the ID photo and all of the ID data found on the first page of the paper passport. More than 150 countries around the world especially in Europe have adopted e-passports for travelling and Pakistan will soon be one of them. E-passports are said to reduce the risk of fraud and are more secure as they are swift and seamless.
The decision to incorporate e-passports was also taken to facilitate the overseas Pakistanis as it will remove all the hurdles of manual system and facilitate online applications with an updated system. Other initiatives were also announced by the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports which included improving online passport facility, fast track delivery services and upgrade of the website and logo.
E-passport also referred to as biometric documents, will help in speeding up the identification process and assist the airport authorities to complete the travel procedure in a brief time frame. Undoubtedly, this technological improvement is a big step for Pakistan. The world will be able to see Pakistan as an advancing country and the pace of other technological developments will also increase.
The Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed also said that the overseas Pakistanis are very pleased with the government and its steps towards technological advancements. The e-visa facility is part of the government’s digital transformation. The passport validity has also been increased to 10 years and its fee had also been reduced to half.