12 Pak passport officials suspended over London Olympics ‘fake visa scam’

The interior ministry has constituted a team comprising officials of NADRA to investigate.

Written by Agencies | Lahore | Published: July 24, 2012 5:24:00 pm

Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has suspended 12 officials of a passport office after the emergence of shocking media reports of a scam involving fake documents for travel to London,ostensibly in connection with the coming Olympics.

The interior ministry has constituted a team comprising officials of NADRA and the Federal Investigation Agency to investigate the matter. The team is expected to arrive here on Tuesday,reports The Dawn.

British tabloid,The Sun,in its Monday edition provided details as to how easy it was for a crime ring operating in Lahore to manipulate the system for getting British visas.

An official of the passport office however said it only issued passports on the basis of a genuine computerised national identity card (CNIC).

“Since only one document – CNIC – is required to issue a passport there is no question of a fake passport. If the NADRA record does not show the complete credentials of a CNIC holder,it is next to impossible that a passport is issued against that CNIC,” he said.

The Sun quoted an “intelligence operative” as saying: “The idea of unknown agents being flown in to the UK to be put up in the Olympic Village beggars belief. Terrorists would have the biggest platform to perform their atrocities. A member of Al Qaeda could fly to the UK on a genuine passport in another name. For all of our sakes this staggering loophole needs closing fast.”

Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Director General Amir Hamza Gilani said the federation of any sports body issued a recommendation letter while NOC was issued to a player or staff after a thorough scrutiny by the interior ministry and intelligence agencies.

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