Passports go missing at UK visa office

by Abrar Saeed
The Nation
December 21, 2009

ISLAMABAD – Over a dozen people have landed in trouble, some of them in quite serious problems, when the British High Commission Islamabad office told them that it had lost their passports.

The High Commission has also asked these visa seekers to come up with fresh passports for reprocessing of their cases, some of the affectees informed TheNation on Sunday.

The sources in the British High Commission confirmed that the passports of several people had gone missing during the course of these passports’ movement from Islamabad to Abu Dhabi for visa processing, but could not give the exact number of the passports that went missing.

Like many other embassies and missions in Pakistan, British High Commission also gets the applications for British visa seekers through Gerry’s, a courier company charging hefty fees for the purpose.

But the people at Gerry’s said that they were responsible for the safe provision of the documents to the embassy or the mission concerned and if something went wrong with the documents in the mission they were not responsible for that.
The officials at Gerry’s were not aware of the exact number of the missing passports during the processing in British High Commission. However, they did admit the issue as a number of visa-seekers approached them with the complaints of missing passports but on realizing the situation they turned to British High Commission for relief.

The problem turned quite serious as some of the passports had valid visas for several countries and in certain cases people suffered huge loss as they failed to attend some of their important business meetings abroad.

One Zafar Mahmood Chief Executive Officer Global Marketing Services, who too had lost his passport at the hands of British High Commission, narrating his ordeal to TheNation informed that he had applied for business visa for UK on July 7, 2009 and dispatched his passport No BH0152992 along with all relevant documents through Gerry’s (ref. No. GRY-PK-01-096361-X).

He said that initially he was kept on queries for quite some time and after several contacts with Gerry’s office, Islamabad visa section and Abu Dhabi visa section of British High Commission he finally got a response from Abu Dhabi visa section on Sept 7, 2009 to approach the Islamabad Gerry’s office as they had dispatched the documents after processing.

He further said that since he was a frequent traveler and had to move abroad in connection with his business meetings, and since he was to move to Dusseldorf Germany immediately to attend Medica 2009 starting from Nov 17 where he had set over 15 business meetings, he finally decided to withdraw his application on Oct 29, 2009.

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