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April 17, 2021

Drive against professional beggars launched in capital

Islamabad

April 17, 2021

Islamabad : During the holy month of Ramazan, thousands of beggars including elderly drifters, women, minors, and teenagers after joining the squadron of elm-seekers, properly supervised by mafia, have started their job of professional approach of begging in the federal capital.

To trounce the deteriorating situation of begging, the Islamabad Police have launched a campaign against professional beggars and detained hundreds of people begging at different crossings of the capital and shifted them to the Edhi Centre for rehabilitation.

According to police sources, police would pick up beggars from all busy intersections.

“Begging is already banned in the country but implementation of law is near to impossible,” a top police officer dealing with the matter, said when contacted by this scribe.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Islamabad, Qazi Jamil-ur-Rehman, expressing his views when asked, “A comprehensive campaign has been launched to get rid of the menace of beggary. Even, selling of any item will not be allowed at intersections.”

The IGP said, the police have arrested people involved in beggary twice in a month, adding, during the first drive, over 160 beggars were detained and the second time, 185 were held including mafias running the beggary trade but they were released according to the law of the land.

“The beggary is multi-section issue and any institution cannot handle the situation because it is quite a sensitive social issue,” Qazi maintained.

“Actually, the government has established a Child Protection Institute (CPI) to educate the children engaged in the beggary. It is almost ready to run but has not yet inaugurated,” the IGP averred and added that the government would notify offices and officers to handle such situation while the police could not detain the people engaged in the trade.

“Human Rights Organisation and Child Protection Institution will play their role along with the law enforcement agency for detaining and shifting them to relevant places,” the IGP said.

SSP (Operations) Mustafa Tanveer, “Such activities were a security risk and could cause fatal traffic accidents and traffic impasse. Professional beggars have been banned in Islamabad and they could be jailed if they would return under a government purge on anti-social behaviour and to curb street crimes.”

Special directives have been issued to all SHOs and Eagles, Falcons, and other mobile police squads to hold vagrants begging at intersections and in streets and bazaars of the capital, the SSP added.

“The capital territory has been divided into three circles – City-Secretariat, Margalla, and Industrial Area -- to eliminate beggars from Islamabad. Mobile squads would hunt the beggars in two shifts to pick them up from different circles of the city,” Mustafa Tanveer maintained.

The campaign should have a ‘three strikes and you're out' system in which anyone held three times for harassing people outside banks, post offices, bus stops, markets, and intersections would be detained and later released on personal surety as the first warning with an order banning their entry into the ICT, Tanveer said. He said that street begging would also be banned and it would be treated as a crime, which would be dealt with under the criminal act. Those returning to beg again would face a jail term and only be released on bail from the court of law, he maintained.

He said that at the last stage, the police would lodge FIRs against professional beggars as well as sending them to the welfare centres for their rehabilitation. The government wants to discourage professional begging, especially in Islamabad, the SSP (Operations said.

“The beggars have literally captured all main markets, residential areas, and mosques of the city,” he added. “There are so many pieces of evidence that the begging mafia is a crime-generator and the mafia men hire beggars, including women and minors, for theft and drug-peddling purposes,” he maintained.

“The female beggars are used for kidnapping minors and surveying houses for robberies,” he added. It is not the first drive against professional beggars, as police have initiated such campaigns every year, but failed to keep the beggars away for good from the capital.