Pak 'global leader' in visa, passport forgery: UK envoy
Islamabad: Dubbing Pakistan as a "global leader" in visa and passport forgery, Britain's envoy here has said that visa fraud is a deep-rooted industry in this country.
About 4,000 people were caught last year while trying to acquire British passports using fake documents, the UK's High Commissioner to Pakistan, Adam Thomson, said.
Pakistan was a "global leader" vis-a-vis fake passports and visas, he told reporters at the National Press Club yesterday.
Thomson said it was unfortunate that Pakistan had been rated a world leader in visa fraud.
"Unfortunately, you people are world leaders in visa scam. Forgery is a strong industry here," he was quoted as saying in media reports.
Thomson expressed satisfaction with Pakistan government's visa issuing system but added that no passport or visa system in the world could claim to be absolutely perfect.
"There may be occasional slippages," he said.
Referring to the British tabloid The Sun's expose of passport forgery in Pakistan, the envoy said, "I am no one to determine the truth of the British tabloid's story regarding passport forgery in Pakistan."
However, he said British authorities have no evidence of anyone travelling to Britain on a fake passport as part of Pakistan's Olympic squad.
"Getting accreditation is a lengthy process that requires months of scrutiny. It is almost impossible to become a part of contingent nearer to the start of Games," he said.
The Sun has claimed that it uncovered a Lahore-based ring that could issue passports and documents that would allow terrorists to slip into Britain as support staff for the Pakistani Olympic team.
The Pakistan government has dismissed The Sun's report and said it intends to file a lawsuit against the tabloid.