All passports recognized with diplomatic status have been issued in adherence with the circular issued by the Presidential Secretariat in 2006, a top official of the Immigration and Emigration Department said responding to recent claims made in parliament that more than 2,000 diplomatic passports had issued on an ad hoc basis.
The official told the Daily Mirror, responding to UNP MP Akila Viraj Kariyawasam’s allegation parliament that passports are only issued upon recommendation by government sources and that they strictly regulate the system to ensure the applications are processed in adherence to the criterion outlined in the 2006 Presidential circular.
“Those that have been assumed as ineligible must be having some link to an official entitled to a diplomatic passport. For example a student can be the child of a Minister, whose entire family is entitled to possess diplomatic passports,” the official said. However, the he could not explain as to how individuals such as cooks and businessmen got a ‘red passport’.
Meanwhile, External Affairs Munistry's Public Communications Division Officer Satya Rodrigo commenting on the issue said the Foreign Ministry was only one of the sources entitled to produce recommendations for diplomatic passports.
“There are several other government sources that are eligible to issue recommendations including the Parliament and the Cabinet. We are only responsible for the diplomatic passports issued for the staff under our purview,” he said. (Lakna Paranamanna)