ISLAMABAD: Despite massive arrests, the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) police have failed to fully curb the organised begging in the federal capital as the said menace is still prevailing on the road signals and inside the crowded markets. As many as 16,323 beggars were arrested by the cops in the last two years. However the number of arrests under this head is decreasing as the police arrested 13,395 beggars in 2015 while only 2,928 were held during 2016.
Federal Minister for Interior and Narcotics Control Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan shared the aforementioned details in the lower house of the parliament on Monday while answering to a question by adding that these arrested beggars were sent to the Edhi Home, Children Welfare Home for rehabilitation, while the habitual offenders were sent to judicial custody at Central Jail, Adyala, Rawalpindi under the West Pakistan Vagrancy Ordinance, 1958. Anybody, who moves on the roads of the federal capital can easily judge as to how much such steps worked because a considerable number of beggers are still present at the traffic signals.
A number of new way and techniques of begging are also being introduced by these elements, which mostly play with the emotions of general commuters and seek sympathy, whereas in fact their tactics were totally an eyewash. "I found a child sitting at a road surface near a U-turn on Margallah Avenue, when his basket full of eggs fell off around him and landed on the ground, he was weeping and saying that his master will give him punishment on this loss. I paid him some money to compensate the loss, but I was fully astonished when after a few days I saw the same guy again on another road in the same situation", a student of the National Defence University (NDU) shared his first-hand experience. A mom having an unclothed infant in extreme weather conditions, a young girl covering her head with a scarf in night time, transgender, old citizens and especially old women are some examples of these begging tactics to keep up organised begging in the capital city. Though, the conditions are far better in Islamabad than in other cities, but still there is the need of a strong mechanism to curb organised begging as some time it is unavoidable for a common citizen to respond, when a beggar asks for alms by standing outside one's car window statically. Requesting a donation in a manner of supplication is called begging. From public places to posh areas, beggars are a common sight.
In our society, begging has traditionally been tolerated and even encouraged because we have been taught that the person who gives alms to the destitute gain religious merits.
Though, the government has taken several steps to curb the beggars and beggary within the federal capital including the establishment of two Anti Beggary Squads, a patrolling system, "Nakabandi Points" and deployment of personnel in markets, but the menace of beggary will stay until we stop aiding them believing that they will be a short-cut to heaven.