A bill was presented in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Saturday that sought the end of begging in the province and recommended strict punishments for beggars and those who encouraged the offence.

According to a copy of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Vagrancy Restraint Act 2020:

The provincial government will form an institute known as the Dar-ul-Kifala which will serve as a shelter for beggars. The shelter will be responsible for providing food, shelter, education and skills training for beggar or alms-seekers who seek refuge or are brought there.

The bill makes it possible for any vagrant to seek shelter at the Dar-ul-Kifala by proving to a Special Magistrate that he or she has no means of livelihood or a shelter.

The vagrant will be kept there till such period as he/she is not provided a source of livelihood or applies for release himself/herself.

The Act empowers police to search and arrest any person suspected of being a beggar, without warrant, and seize any item liable to be confiscated from them as well.

The bill also calls for a one-year jail term or a fine of Rs 500,000/- or both for anyone who “causes any person to solicit or receive alms”.

The legislation states that if the court finds a person to be a vagrant, then the said person can be sent to the Dar-ul-Kifala where he will be ‘detained’ for a period not exceeding three years.

The bill seeks an imprisonment sentence not exceeding three years for persons who are deemed habitual beggar or who have committed offences previously under the same Act.  

Published on Public Hours January 13th, 2020

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