Bangladesh is set to begin the distribution of e-passports on Wednesday as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to launch the e-passport distribution at an event scheduled to be held at the capital’s Bangabandhu International Conference Centre, bdnews24 quoted Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan as saying on Sunday.

The President and Prime Minister will receive the e-passports first, he said, adding that anyone can apply for it. The delivery of e-passports will start in regional offices by the end of 2020. The services will expand in phases, the Minister said, adding that machine-readable passports will remain valid as well.

The Department of Immigration and Passports will issue 48-page and 64-page e-passports with the validity of five years and 10 years, respectively. The decision on introducing digital passport comes less than a decade after Bangladesh switched from manual to the machine-readable passport.

The government took the initiative to introduce e-passports in the wake of more than one passport being illegally issued against one person in the absence of a database of fingerprints of citizens.

Amid protests over the anti-CAA protests all over India, Bangladesh PM said that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) is India’s “internal matter” but also termed it “unnecessary”. “We don’t understand why (India) did it. It was not necessary,” Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told Gulf News in an interview.

“Bangladesh has always maintained that the CAA and the National Register of Citizens are internal matters of India. The Government of India, on their part, has also repeatedly maintained that the NRC is an internal exercise of India and Prime Minister Modi has in-person assured me of the same during my visit to New Delhi in October 2019,” Hasina was quoted by the daily as saying.