Karachi: Saddar passport office attacked by enraged applicants
KARACHI: Enraged applicants attacked the passport office in Saddar on Tuesday when the administration refused to open the office because of its employees’ arrest by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) the previous day.
FIA Anti-Human Trafficking Circle had arrested three passport office employees from its head office in Saddar on Monday for issuing passports to Afghan and Bengali nationals on fake documents.
The administration of the head office locked the passport office on Tuesday to protest against the arrests.
A number of people who arrived at the head office for receiving their new passport or for renewing their existing passport found the office locked. As time passed, a large number of people gathered outside the passport office and requested the administration to open the facility for them.
When the administration refused, the mob attacked the office and tried to force entry by breaking the lock of the main gate.
In the meantime, the passport office staff came out of their rooms and tried to stop the people from damaging the office. The enraged crowd attacked them and a brief scuffle took place between both groups.
The protesters said they had come from distant areas of the city, and it was unfair to them that the office was closed without prior notice. They said the management should resolve their issues through dialogue with FIA Anti-Human Trafficking Circle and open the office for them.
When the administration did not budge, they continued their protest against the passport office employees and shouted slogans. They also hurled stones inside the passport office and asked the officials to come outside for negotiation.
As the crowd went out of control, the management of the passport office opened the facility for routine working after a delay of two hours.
However, many people were already on their way home before the office was opened. An FIA Anti-Human Trafficking Circle official said the agency had arrested three Saddar passport office’s employees, including the assistant director.
He said the arrests were made after receiving information from an agent who was involved in issuing passports to Afghans and Bengalis on counterfeit documents. He said Assistant Director Rao Muhammad Akhter, data entry operator Qamar Hussain and the guard of the passport office had been running the illegal business during evening hours.