Islamabad [Pakistan], Sept. 2 : The Pakistan Foreign Office has said that its citizens living abroad could become stateless as the government has introduced a new rule putting an end to the non-machine readable passports, which comes into force at the end of September.
"Millions of Pakistanis, especially those abroad, will be technically knocked out and become stateless when handwritten passports would be unacceptable under the new rule set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)," the Nation quoted Foreign Office Additional Secretary Irfan Shami as saying to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development on Tuesday.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation had set November 2015 as the deadline after which computerised passports would become the universal requirement.
The new rule has been set to speed up travel time and strengthen security. The deadline has been extended to October 1, 2016..