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.