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.


7-year-old immigrant girl dies after Border Patrol arrest

Updated 6 min 8 sec ago
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7-year-old immigrant girl dies after Border Patrol arrest

  • Immigrants, attorneys and activists have long raised issues with the conditions of Border Patrol holding cells
  • The death of the 7-year-old comes after a toddler died in May just after being released from an ICE family detention facility in Texas

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico: A 7-year-old girl who crossed the US-Mexico border with her father last week died after being taken into the custody of the US Border Patrol, federal immigration authorities confirmed Thursday.
The Washington Post reports the girl died of dehydration and shock more than eight hours after she was arrested by agents near Lordsburg, New Mexico. The girl was from Guatemala and was traveling with a group of 163 people who approached agents to turn themselves in on Dec. 6.
It’s unknown what happened to the girl during the eight hours before she started having seizures and was flown to an El Paso hospital.
In a statement, Customs and Border Protection said the girl had not eaten or consumed water in several days.
The agency did not provide The Associated Press with the statement it gave to the Post, despite repeated requests.
Processing 163 immigrants in one night could have posed challenges for the agency, whose detention facilities are meant to be temporary and don’t usually fit that many people.
When a Border Patrol agent arrests someone, that person gets processed at a facility but usually spends no more than 72 hours in custody before they are either transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement or, if they’re Mexican, quickly deported home.
The girl’s death raises questions about whether border agents knew she was ill and whether she was fed anything or given anything to drink during the eight-plus hours she was in custody.
Immigrants, attorneys and activists have long raised issues with the conditions of Border Patrol holding cells. In Tucson, an ongoing lawsuit claims holding cells are filthy, extremely cold and lacking basic necessities such as blankets. A judge overseeing that lawsuit has ordered the agency’s Tucson Sector, which patrols much of the Arizona-Mexico border, to provide blankets and mats to sleep on and to continually turn over surveillance footage from inside the cells.
The Border Patrol has seen an increasing trend of large groups of immigrants, many with young children, walking up to agents and turning themselves in. Most are Central American and say they are fleeing violence. They turn themselves in instead of trying to circumvent authorities, many with plans to apply for asylum.
Agents in Arizona see groups of over 100 people on a regular basis, sometimes including infants and toddlers.
Arresting such groups poses logistical problems for agents who have to wait on transport vans that are equipped with baby seats to take them to processing facilities, some which are at least half hour north of the border.
The death of the 7-year-old comes after a toddler died in May just after being released from an ICE family detention facility in Texas, and as the administration of Donald Trump attempts to ban people from asking for asylum if they crossed the border illegally. A federal appeals court has temporarily blocked that ban, but the administration asked the US Supreme Court to reinstate it Tuesday.
Cynthia Pompa, advocacy manager for the ACLU Border Rights Center, said migrant deaths increased last year even as the number of border crossing dropped.
“This tragedy represents the worst possible outcome when people, including children, are held in inhumane conditions. Lack of accountability, and a culture of cruelty within CBP have exacerbated policies that lead to migrant deaths,” Pompa said.