Enhancing Border Control at Pakistan’s airports: FIA and EU Inaugurated 2nd line border control office at Islamabad International Airport

Islamabad, 11 October – The Federal Investigation Agency inaugurated a new second line of border control office at Islamabad International Airport on 11 October 2023. The office, established with the support of the European Union (EU) and International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), provides the FIA with improved capabilities to detect and investigate the use of forged and falsified documents at the airport.

With advanced forensic and IT equipment, the office will allow FIA Immigration Officers to conduct advanced examinations of travel documents such as passports and visas, as well as receive up-to-date information on the latest trends in document forgeries from international databases. The fraudulent use of identity and travel documents represents a threat to the security of countries and their citizens, the economy, and global commerce, as it facilitates a wide range of cross border crimes such as smuggling of migrants, trafficking in human beings and terrorism. As well as strengthening action against these crimes, the office will contribute to improving the overall functioning of the immigration control for legitimate travellers.

The office was inaugurated by Mr. Mohsin Hassan Butt, Director General, FIA at a ceremony at the FIA Academy. Mr. Butt called the 2nd line office “a message to those migrant smugglers and traffickers that prey on the vulnerabilities and hopes of ordinary people: the FIA has never been more committed or better equipped to bring you to justice, and we will not rest”.

Mr. Phillipp Gross, Deputy Head of Delegation, European Union Delegation in Pakistan said “Preventing irregular migration and promoting safe migration are shared priorities for both Pakistan and the EU.  This second line of control office at Islamabad airport is a tool in the fight against fraudulent activities, and safeguarding the rights of legitimate travellers. The EU is proud to support the FIA develop its infrastructure and to modernise Pakistan’s border management systems.”

Mr. Raana Rahim, Head of Office ICMPD, thanked the FIA Director General and officers of the FIA, “the ICMPD and FIA collaboration is one of the strongest partnerships we have experienced in our work and one that we deeply value. We could not have reached this point without an equal amount of effort on all sides, especially the commitment of FIA officers throughout the organisation to achieve results, not just implement activities.” She reaffirmed “ICMPD’s commitment to this partnership and to the shared vision of shaping a balanced, safe and effective migration policy framework for Pakistan.”

The inauguration was also attended by H.E. Mrs. Andrea Wicke, Ambassador of Austria to Pakistan, representatives of foreign embassies and international organisations, and the senior management of the FIA.

The new office will be staffed by FIA officers specially trained by ICMPD to an advanced level, bringing Pakistan’s Immigration processes in line with international good practice. The office is the latest step in a broad programme to support the modernisation of Pakistan’s border management framework. As part of the partnership between ICMPD and the FIA, similar offices will be expanded and opened at additional international airports in 2024, in parallel with a planned refurbishment of the FIA’s forensic laboratory in Islamabad, and establishment of a new analytical unit in the FIA to assess the risks facing Pakistan’s borders.

Context:

The 2nd line border control office was established in the framework of the “Integrated Border Management in the Silk Routes Countries” (IBM-Silk Routes) project. The IBM-Silk Routes project is funded by the European Union and is implemented by ICMPD. The project aims to support the countries of the Silk Routes region, including Pakistan, to build more effective and efficient border management systems, and in doing so strengthen the capacity of state authorities to combat irregular migration, encourage safe migration, and enhance trade and prosperity across borders.      

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