How beggars evade anti-beggary operations

Published November 26, 2022
— White Star
— White Star

LAHORE: Because of ineffective short-term policies and measures, a lack of data, and lax enforcement, there are many beggars to be seen in Lahore’s intersections, markets, and roads.

Speaking to Dawn, Lahore Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Ali attributed the city’s growing beggar population to the Social Welfare Department’s lack of interest.

“I requested information on the number of beggars and their operators from the officers during a meeting held on Friday, but they didn’t have it,” he said, adding that they have no expertise in this area.

The DC, however, asserted that 18 beggars were captured during an operation that began on Friday.

In the latest drive, Lahore DC Ali has tasked five assistant commissioners (ACs) with visiting city intersections and getting the beggars arrested.

“The beggars’ operators must be arrested at the time when they come to drop the beggars at various city points,” he said in a statement. According to a spokesman, the AC (Cantt) got six beggars arrested. Similarly, the Shalimar AC got 18 beggars arrested at various points.

According to an official source, beggars operate as orginsed gangs. “This is now an organized crime that is a cognizable offence under the Punjab Vagrancy Ordinance-1958. But despite of all this, this unlawful profession is growing fast, as the operators are earning millions of rupees on a monthly basis. They also ‘share’ the money with the officers, enforcement teams, etc,” the official requesting anonymity explained.

Social Welfare Department officials, however, hold the police responsible for the increasing number of beggars in the city. The department has a beggar rehabilitation house on Raiwind Road and also holds enforcement power to discourage the beggary.

“I don’t know about the data on the number of beggars and their dens,” Muhammad Irfan, personal staff officer to the Social Welfare Department director-general, said.

“However, we have a beggar home at Raiwind house where we are supposed to house the beggars referred by the magistrates through the police. But I don’t know how many beggars we receive on a daily or monthly basis.”

Department’s Lahore Director Muhammad Mubashir calls his officers’ role limited to receipt of beggars from the police. When asked why they join the operations launched by the city administrations in collaboration with the police against beggars, he said, “Under the law, police launch drives, capture beggars, present them before the magistrates and then refer them (if allowed by the court) to us for keeping them in the beggars home where we not only provide them food but also sensitize them about the negative effects of beggary,” he explained.

Lahore Social Welfare Deputy Director Ashraf Janjua said they cannot launch campaigns against beggars on a regular basis because of the unavailability of police. “We cannot launch such drives on a regular basis without the help and availability of the police. They (the police) have even withdrawn two special squads that were constituted exclusively to control beggary in the city in 2020,” he claimed. Mr Janjua also lacked data on admission to and discharge of the beggars from the beggars’ home on Raiwind Road.

The Lahore SSP was not available for comment.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Mianwali raid
02 Feb, 2023

Mianwali raid

IT is clear that the new wave of militancy is not likely to recede anytime soon. A day after the atrocious terrorist...
Corruption unlimited
02 Feb, 2023

Corruption unlimited

PAKISTAN’S consistent slide on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index over the last several...
Women police officers
02 Feb, 2023

Women police officers

IN a heartening development, a second female police officer has been appointed as DPO in Attock, weeks after the...
Road to perdition
Updated 01 Feb, 2023

Road to perdition

This is also the time of reckoning for those who sowed the seeds of a disastrous policy against militants.
Transport tragedies
01 Feb, 2023

Transport tragedies

TWO tragedies over the weekend illustrate the weak protocols governing the safety of transport in Pakistan. In fact,...
Disqualifying Jam Awais
01 Feb, 2023

Disqualifying Jam Awais

IT appears that there may be some kind of small punishment after all for PPP lawmaker Jam Awais, who was pardoned ...