Mum battles to receive son's passport in time for holiday

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Passport problem for Smerah Akhtar and her children Aroosh ,2, and Kamil ,4. Passport problem for Smerah Akhtar and her children Aroosh ,2, and Kamil ,4.

A Bradford mum who sent off for passports for her two children three months ago got one back but not the other - sparking panic ahead of a holiday this month.

Smerah Akhtar applied on April 8 for first-time passports for four-year-old Mohammed and one-year-old Aroosh.

She received Aroosh's document on June 11, but started to worry when, by the time July arrived and a trip to Pakistan loomed, Mohammed's hadn't been delivered.

"We are going to Lahore towards the end of July," said Mrs Akhtar, of Barkerend. "We sent the applications in plenty of time."

The passport was due to arrive today after the Telegraph & Argus and Bradford East MP David Ward got involved.

Prior to being told the passport was on its way, Mrs Akhtar said she had received conflicting information from staff she spoke to at the passport office.

She said: "I rang them and they said a courier had my son's passport and that it just hadn't arrived yet.

"Then I rang last week and they said they still had my son's application and were doing more checks. They didn't need to do these checks for my daughter though - they have done one thing for one child and one thing for another."

Mrs Akhtar added: "I am British-born. My children are British-born. So it shouldn't have been an issue."

A Home Office spokesman contacted the Telegraph & Argus yesterday to say Mrs Akhtar would be receiving the passport today.

A number of people across Bradford district have been affected by a backlog of applications at the passport office.

MPs across the district, as well as the Telegraph & Argus, have been inundated will calls from people worried about whether they would get away on holiday.

Among them was Rachael Delaney, of Queensbury, who was “dizzy” with worry before receiving her daughter’s passport two days before a holiday to Cyprus.

David Ward, MP for Bradford East, said his office had a good record of fast-tracking urgent passport applications and advised constituents to get in touch if they were worried. He added: "We have a direct line through."

Mr Ward's office can be contacted on 01274 458010 or david@davidward.org.uk.

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