§ Mr. Teddy Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his Department has been able to return to Mr. Khurshid Ahmad Malik the Indian passport which was deposited with the Department in September and acknowledged on 21 October under the reference M565200, to enable him to return to his homeland after receiving private medical treatment, details of which have been sent to the Under-Secretary of State by Dr. S. A. Malik of Southend on Sea.
§ Mr. Renton
I regret that we have not been able to do so. As Mr. Malik was told in the immigration department's letter to him on 6 January, an exhaustive search has not traced his passport. I acknowledge that this has caused Mr. Malik considerable inconvenience and extend the Department's apologies to him. The letter 367W recently sent him may, as it indicated, assist him in obtaining an emergency travel document from the Indian high commission. If the high commission is unable to issue a travel document we will consider what further action we are able to take.
I can assure my hon. Friend that strenuous efforts to locate the missing passport will continue. Staff are trained to treat passports and other documents with care and the incidence of loss of passports within the immigration department, which receives some 500,000 items of correspondence each year, many of which contain passports, is very small.