PISCES inaugurated at Lahore airport
Pakistan no more a soft state: Moin
LAHORE: The Personal Identification Security Comparison Evaluation System (PISCES) installed at the Lahore airport for computerised records of passengers travelling in and out of the country, was inaugurated here on Monday by Interior Minister Lt Gen (r) Moinuddin Haider.
In his inaugural speech the minister said the government was determined to raise the national integrity adding, “We will change the country’s image on the international circuit. Pakistan is no more a soft state.” He hoped that the new government would continue with these projects as they are in the interest of the country.
He said fake visas and passports to foreigners was common in the country but the military government worked for almost three years to get rid of this practice adding that due to the same reason over 2.5 million illegal immigrants were residing in Karachi alone.
The minister said after the introduction of this system at all airports, land and sea border locations, all the legal documents including national identity cards, passports and visas would be supplied from a single source.
He said, “The system will be linked within two years to the 18 entry and exit points through land, air and sea all over the country, including Wagha, Torkham, Chaman and Taftan, and all these points would be interlinked and also connected with FIA, IB, NADRA and the Interior Ministry.”
The minister concluded his speech saying the government intends to introduce machines obtained from the US to examine Machine Readable Passports (MRPs). He said the machines would be installed at the entry and exit points to serve as reading devices for MRPs designed and printed in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation and ISO specifications.
Speaking on the occasion, Gen Moin said, “Our western borders which were open during the past 51 years have been brought under control.”
The minister further briefed that a grant of Rs 300 million was taken from the United States for the installation and development of PISCES. “It was our right to ask for such a grant as we are US’ partners in the war against terrorism.”
He said about 40 females have been trained and recruited in the Federal Investigation Agency. “The recently recruited staff is computer literate, which will help it execute the project.”
Earlier, the Director General FIA, Syed Mohib Asad while delivering his welcome speech said PISCES will soon be installed at Peshawar and Quetta airports while currently the system is operational at the Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. He said, the system is being installed with the assistance of US experts who have been here for a few days.
The FIA DG said the passengers would now be required to provide their travel history to immigration officers at the time of their arrival and departure.
“Once the passenger data is available with the immigration authorities, it will help them detect those travelling with illegal documents,” he said.
The PISCES Project Director, Ammar Jaffri also spoke on the occasion.
Minister unsure about future role
LAHORE: Interior Minister Lt General (r) Moinuddin Haider on Monday said he was not certain of his role in the coming government, revealing little about his intentions. To a question about a possible seat in the Senate, he answered that he had not filed nomination papers for the Senate. —Staff Report