LAHORE: The government has decided to start a campaign against beggars due to security concerns, The Express Tribune has learnt.
Requesting anonymity, a Home Department official said: “In the letter written to the commissioners, the DCOs, the RPOs and the DPOs, it has been stated that an exponential rise has been witnessed in the number of women, children and the elderly and transgendered beggars.
These beggars cause problems for security conveys, escorting important civil and government personalities,” the official said.
“Reports by security agencies suggest that miscreants dressed as beggars might attack important personalities while they are travelling on roads.
Terrorist elements could also carry out reconnaissance in the guise of beggars. Due to these fears, civil and police administrations at district and tehsil headquarter level should take action in a systematic manner against beggars,” he said.
When contacted, Toba Tek Singh DPO Shehzad Akbar confirmed that a letter had been received.
“Beggary is not as rampant in smaller districts of the Punjab as it is in bigger cities,” he said.
“Frontier Constabulary’s Commandant Sifwat Ghayur was targeted by a suicide bomber dressed as a beggar in August, 2010,” he said.
Hammad Raza, the PRO to Lahore Operations DIG, said that Lahore Police was planning a crack down against beggars.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 15th, 2015.