Immigration staff barred from re-checking travel documents at airports

F.P. Report

KARACHI: The higher authorities have barred the immigration staff to re-check the travel documents of the passengers once it was scrutinised at airports across the country, on Tuesday.

The relevant authorities have taken notice of the complaints raised by the passengers regarding the misuse of regulations devised for special checking of travel documents at the country’s airports.

The regulations had been implemented in 2005 for carrying out special checking of the passengers travelling outside the country.

immigration special checking travel documents passengers airports

The airport authorities have notified a set of new regulations for the immigration officers of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) under its Standing Order No 31 in order to streamline the re-checking process.

It read that the passengers are faced with unwarranted hassle at the immigration check posts at the airports as the standing order was ‘not followed in its true spirit.’

In view of the passengers’ facility, Director-General (DG) Immigration of FIA ordered special checking officers not to check travel documents of each and every passenger except those about whom a reasonable suspicion exists regarding the validity of their documents.

It further stated that women, children, old aged, crippled and sick passengers should be exempted from the re-checking process in order to avoid undue hurdles for the travellers.

It added, ‘Depending upon the circumstances, it shall be ensured that not more than 10 per cent of the total passengers boarding on airlines are passed through the re-checking process by Special Checking Officer.’

The new set of instructions have been conveyed to all immigration in-charges at airports and land border check posts.

The latest action was taken after the recent visit of the Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed to Karachi airport where he inspected the facilities at immigration counters for international passengers.

Following the directives of the interior minister, the FIA authorities had also been directed to provide food and other necessary items to the nationals deported from foreign countries at country’s airports.