Ramadan ban on street begging kicks off clampdown in Peshawar

Updated 23 May 2018
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Ramadan ban on street begging kicks off clampdown in Peshawar

  • Child beggars are being sent to welfare homes, drug addicts to rehabilitation centers while adults begging on the streets appear before session judges.
  • Many nomadic beggars, including women and girls, are found at bus terminals where they also get involved in immoral activities

PESHAWAR: A ban on street beggars has been announced for the month of Ramadan by the administration of Peshawar district and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Social Welfare Department, with plans for it be to extended until the problem has been eradicated.

Senior officials said that the ban would continue until begging is curbed in Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province.
Additional Deputy Commissioner Peshawar, Shahid Ali Khan, told Arab News that the ban has been imposed initially for one month under section-144 of the law, which can only be used for a short period.
“We will continue to extend it because we plan to end begging in Peshawar,” he added.
Child beggars were being moved to three welfare homes in the city, the drug addicts were being taken to rehabilitation centers while the adults begging on the streets, including women, are appearing before the sessions judges in Peshawar, he announced.
Khan added that the efforts were made more difficult by the fact that there was a network of street beggars in the city. “When we are informed of beggars, we raid and some beggars are caught, but many escape,” he said.
Those caught in the raids are referred by the Social Welfare Department to two main centers: Welfare Homes for Child Beggars and Drug Addicts Rehabilitation Center.
Head of the Welfare Home for Child Beggars, Khizer Hayat, said that they have received 20 child beggars since the campaign was launched.
The center gives the children vocational training to enable them to find work as electricians, tailors and embroiderers, he said.
“We conduct screening and call their parents who get custody of the children through courts through surety bonds, while other children are shifted to Zamung Kor (orphanage),” he added.
Rehabilitation Officer Jawad Hussain, who supervises Drug Addicts Rehabilitation Center, said that they have admitted 10 addicts since the start of the campaign.
“They are first detoxified and then their treatment begins,” Hussain said.
Social and psychological therapy is also carried out at the center. “We give them training in two trades: carpentry and electrical work,” he said.
District Officer for Social Welfare, Mohammed Younas Afridi, said that the enforcement squad set up to take action against street beggars includes an assistant commissioner, two male and two female police constables, and male and female social welfare officers.
“Many nomadic beggars, including women and girls, are found at bus terminals where they also get involved in immoral activities. The aim of our campaign is to rid Peshawar of street begging,” Afridi said.


Boko Haram suicide attack kills eight at mosque

Updated 19 min 48 sec ago
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Boko Haram suicide attack kills eight at mosque

KANO: Eight people were killed at a mosque in northeast Nigeria on Monday when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives, a civilian militia member and a local resident said.
The blast happened in the Mainari area of Konduga, in Borno state, said Ibrahim Liman, from the civilian militia force assisting the military in the fight against Boko Haram.
“The male bomber walked into the mosque at about 5:15 am (0415 GMT) while prayers were on and exploded, killing eight worshippers and injuring five others,” he told AFP.
“Seven of the victims died in the mosque while another died on the way to (the Borno state capital) Maiduguri.”
Suicide bombings against “soft” civilian targets such as mosques, markets and bus stations are the hallmark of the Boko Haram faction led by Abubakar Shekau.
Many of the bombers used are young women and girls. Liman said the latest attack appeared to be carried out by a man in his early 20s.
Umar Goni, who lives in Konduga, said he was on his way to the mosque when the blast occurred and he helped to rescue victims with members of the civilian volunteer force.
“We pulled out seven dead bodies and six injured worshippers. One of the six injured died on the way to hospital,” he added.
The bomber was disguised as a worshipper, he said, adding: “There was no way anybody could have known his mission.”
The latest attack comes as Nigeria’s government is encouraging people displaced by Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency to return home.
But aid agencies providing food, health care, clean water and shelter across the conflict-ravaged region have warned that security has not improved.
Last week, at least six traders were killed when a convoy of lorries under military escort were ambushed in Borno state near the border with Cameroon.
There have also been a number of attacks on military convoys and bases in Borno and neighboring Yobe state, with undisclosed casualties.
Soldiers and civilians have also been targeted in separate attacks in neighboring Chad and Niger.