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The Killid Group
No passportsWritten by Bahnam Pardis
Sunday, 18 December 2011 10:01
It is almost impossible to get a passport in Herat. Officials are not taking responsibility.
People complain the process of getting a passport is very difficult. Also passports are very expensive with applicants having to pay huge amounts of money for the issue of a document that is the right of every citizen. Passports are sold in the black market, some people said, but the Herat passport department has denied the charge.
Other charges against the passport department are lack of transparency and inordinate delays in issuing the passport. Abdul Sabour who was waiting outside the passport department said he applied for a passport months ago. "Getting a passport is our right and the government is responsible for issuing it," he said.
He said he has made several trips to the Herat passport office but there was no sign that his papers were being processed.
Mohammad Ayoub from Rubat Sangi district has been coming to the passport office in Herat nearly every day for the last two weeks. He said officials told him they have run out of stocks of blank passports. People of Herat are wondering how come passports are available in the black market for an exorbitant price.
Rahim wants a passport so he can go abroad for medical treatment. "The passport department claims there are no white passports. If they are right, why are there passports at a high price in the black market?"
Journalist Mohammad Sidiq Mir said there was widespread corruption in the issuing of passports and people were suffering. It was the government's responsibility to provide passports and tazkira (identity cards) to applicants, he said.
Haji Abdul Raziq, head of the Herat passport department, said it was true passports were not being issued to applicants because the department has run out of blank passport copies.
Raziq denied allegations that passports were being sold in the black. He said: "Forty thousand passports will be printed (by the Ministry of Interior Affairs) and distributed in provinces and the problem will be solved soon."
According to the spokesman in the Herat police command, Noor Khan Nikzad, blank passports are available in Kabul but the Herat passport department has not collected them.