New Delhi: Posing a major challenge to
counter-terrorism efforts, making of forged British passports
has been found to be the "most prevalent" in Pakistan with a
US government agency recommending steps to check overseas
travel by terrorists using such travel papers.
The US Government Accountability Office (GAO), which
sent a team to Pakistan and three other countries for field
assessment, found gaps in four key areas -- sharing of
information on terrorists, use of fraudulent travel papers,
passport issuance security and corruption in passport issuance
and immigration agencies.
A latest GAO report, significantly, quoted a former
Pakistani official responsible for immigration enforcement to
say that "fraudulent British passports are the most prevalent
type of fraudulent travel documents in Pakistan".
"Since British citizens are not required to obtain
visas to travel to many countries, a terrorist could use one
of these fraudulent passports to travel to many countries
without further background checks", the report, titled
`Combating Terrorism` and presented to the US Congress last
The report came weeks after an alarming revelation by
Interpol chief Ronald K Noble that about 40,000 people criss-
crossed the globe with forged, lost or stolen travel documents
in the past year.
"Terrorists and dangerous criminals continue to move
from one country to another on stolen, falsified or lost
documents," the Interpol chief said in an interview in
Singapore last month. He had also said the airline industry
faced the "maximum threat" and "continues to be the prime
target" of terrorists.