'24 beggars’ offloaded from Umrah-bound flight at Multan Airport, says FIA - GulfToday

'24 beggars’ offloaded from Umrah-bound flight at Multan Airport, says FIA


An FIA official with alleged beggars, offloaded from a Saudi Arabia-bound flight, pose for a picture at Multan Airport on Saturday night. FIA photo

Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has offloaded 16 alleged beggars in the disguise of Umrah pilgrims from Saudi Arabia-bound flight at the Multan International Airport two days ago, media reported on Sunday.

Late on Saturday night the FIA also offloaded eight more alleged beggars from a Kingdom of Saudi Arabia-bound flight at Multan Airport.

According to the FIA, the group, consisting of 16 persons, including a child, 11 women and four men, was initially travelling on Umrah visas.

The FIA officials during the immigration process questioned the passengers who confessed that they were going to visit the Saudi Arabia to seek alms, Dawn reported.

They also revealed that they would have to give half of their earnings from begging to the agents involved in their travel arrangements. They were to return to Pakistan after the expiry of their Umrah visas. The FIA Multan Circle arrested the passengers for further questioning and legal action, Dawn reported.

Beggars-Multan-Pakistan FIA offloads 16 passengers, including a child, 11 women and four men, was initially travelling on Umrah visas, at Multan airport.

According to a statement issued by FIA immigration officer Tariq Mehmood, it transpired during the immigration that the group was travelling to Saudi Arabia for the “purpose of begging.” The agency said the group handed over an amount of Rs185,000 to a man namely Javed, who got their visas processed.

“They said they would beg there and half of the begged amount would be handed over to the sub-agent,” the FIA statement said, adding that statements of the group along with their passports were seized and the said passengers were sent to FIA’s Anti Human Trafficking and Smuggling Wing in Multan for further legal action.

“A case is being registered against the culprits under Trafficking in Persons Act, 2018,” the FIA added. The agency has launched a crackdown against alleged beggars travelling abroad.

The arrests came a day after the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development disclosed to the Senate Committee on Overseas Pakistanis that a significant proportion of beggars are trafficked abroad through illegal channels.

The Ministry’s Secretary revealed to the Senate panel that a staggering 90 per cent of beggars apprehended in foreign countries belong to Pakistan. Overseas Ministry Secretary Zulfikar Haider explained that many beggars exploited pilgrim visas to travel to Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Iraq.

"Both the Iraqi and Saudi ambassadors have reported overcrowded jails due to these arrests," he had said, Dawn reported.

Indo-Asian News Service

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