Contractors and handlers of beggars arrested in Peshawar crackdown

Published October 29, 2021
MEN, women and children seeking alms line up in front of a mosque gate. —Fahim Siddiqui / White Star / File
MEN, women and children seeking alms line up in front of a mosque gate. —Fahim Siddiqui / White Star / File

PESHAWAR: The district administration arrested three ‘contractors’ and 14 ‘handlers’ of beggars during a crackdown here on Thursday.

Earlier, the authorities identified 17 beggary hotspots and 1,356 beggars in the provincial capital.

An official told Dawn that Peshawar had three beggar contractors and 17 handlers as pointed out by the Special Branch.

He said the Special Branch declared that six handlers belonged to Kunduz area of Afghanistan, five Malakand, two Bannu, one each to Sarai Naurang area of Lakki Marwat and Kohat, and two other areas.

The official said the first phase of the crackdown on beggary led to the arrest of three beggar contractors and 14 handlers on Thursday, while three handlers had gone into hiding.

Officials say capital has 1,356 beggars

He said two beggar contractors belonged to Sindh and the third to Peshawar’s Badaber area.

The issue came under discussion during a meeting here on Wednesday with commissioner of Peshawar division Riaz Khan Mehsud in the chair.

The meeting was called to chalk out a strategy against the increasing number of beggars in the capital city.

The participants included the deputy commissioner of Peshawar and representatives of the police, social welfare department, and Special Branch. They decided to crack down on beggars in two phases.

The meeting was informed that the capital had 1,356 beggars and 1,191 of them were needy people and 164 were professional beggars. Of them, 1,088 are acting independently and 262 are managed by their handlers.

The highest number of beggars i.e. 633 is operating in the limits of the University Town police station, followed by 238 in Gulbahar police station, 174 in East Cantonment police station, 81 in Hayatabad police station, 76 in East Cantonment police station, and six in Khan Raziq Shaheed police station.

The meeting was informed that 30 beggars operated in the limits of Michni Gate police station, four in Faqirabad police station, 10 in Bhanamari police station, 14 in Rehman Baba police station and 15 in the limits of the Khyber police post.

Of the beggars, 817 belong to Peshawar district, 362 to other districts, 35 to other provinces and 37 to Afghanistan. Particulars of105 beggars are not known.

The details showed that the assistant commissioner (city) had forwarded a report revealing the presence of 984 beggars, including 280 children, in the city to the commissioner’s office for action.

Also, the Bus Rapid Transit station, Spin Jumat near University of Peshawar campus, Hayatabad Medical Complex, Lady Reading Hospital, Pir Zakori Chowk, traffic signals in the limits of Peshawar Cantonment, Pak Bakers on the Mall, Bhittani Plaza in University Town, Haji Camp/Lahore Adda, Fawara Chowk in the cantonment area, Deans Chowk, Dir Colony Chowk, MMC Hospital, Asiya Gate, Phase-III Chowk Hayatabad and Kohat bus stand were identified as beggary hotspots.

The Special Branch presented its report in the meeting revealing details of 221 beggars operating in different parts of the city.

The report said the beggar contractors and handlers included Afghan nationals and the residents of Punjab and Sindh provinces.

According to it, some beggars live in tents along the Ring Road and in different areas of Hayatabad.

The meeting was also informed that a large number of beggars were also present at the entry and exit points of the Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway holding receipts of seminaries.

It also discussed the strategy to tackle the growing number of beggars from the provincial capital and officials from Nowshera, Charsadda and Khyber districts were directed to compile details of beggars in their jurisdictions.

Commissioner of Peshawar division Riaz Khan Meshud directed officials of Peshawar district to crack down on beggars under 3-MPO Ordinance and the relevant provisions of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Local Government Act, 2013.

Mr Mehsud said the deputy commissioner of Peshawar and police should jointly act for the arrest of beggars, while the social welfare department would make arrangements for the departure of those from out of the district to their respective areas.

He said the local child beggars would be sent to the Zamug Kor Model Institute for State Children, which had the capacity to house over 800 street children.

Published in Dawn, October 29th, 2021

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