The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) late on Saturday night offloaded eight alleged beggars in the disguise of Umrah pilgrims from a Kingdom of Saudi Arabia-bound flight at Multan airport.
According to a statement issued by FIA immigration officer Tariq Mehmood, it transpired during the immigration that the group was travelling to Saudi Arabia for the “purpose of begging”.
The agency said the group handed over an amount of Rs185,000 to a man namely Mr Javed, who got their visas processed.
“They said they would beg there and half of the begged amount would be handed over to the sub-agent,” the FIA statement said, adding that statements of the group along with their passports were seized and the said passengers were sent to FIA’s Anti Human Trafficking and Smuggling Wing in Multan for further legal action.
“A case is being registered against the culprits under Trafficking in Persons Act, 2018,” the FIA added.
The agency has launched a crackdown against alleged beggars travelling abroad. Two days ago, FIA offloaded 16 alleged beggars in the disguise of Umrah pilgrims from a KSA-bound flight at the same airport.
The group comprised of 16 persons, including a child, 11 women and four men. They had revealed that they would have to give half of their earnings from begging to the agents involved in their travel arrangements.
The arrests came after the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development disclosed to the Senate Committee on Overseas Pakistanis that a significant proportion of beggars were trafficked abroad through illegal channels.
The ministry’s secretary revealed to the Senate panel that a staggering 90 per cent of beggars apprehended in foreign countries belong to Pakistan.
“Both the Iraqi and Saudi ambassadors have reported overcrowded jails due to these arrests,” he had said.