FIA Blacklists Passports of ‘Professional Beggars’

In response to recent events, airports are now conducting thorough inspections of passengers’ belongings in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies, as reported by the Express Tribune.

A recent report presented in the upper house of parliament revealed that 90% of professional beggars detained in the Middle East are of Pakistani origin. Additionally, many pickpockets apprehended at religious sites, including the revered Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia, are Pakistani nationals.

During a meeting of the Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis, concerns were raised about the severity of the issue and its negative impact on the reputation of overseas Pakistanis. Zulfikar Haider, Secretary of Overseas Pakistanis, highlighted that Iraq and Saudi Arabia have consistently expressed concerns about receiving individuals with criminal backgrounds, which has led to overcrowded jails in their countries.

The FIA has taken action to blacklist the passports of ‘professional beggars’ who have been detained at airports in recent incidents. This move aims to protect Pakistan’s international reputation. FIA Director-General Mohsin Butt has instructed all airports to conduct rigorous screenings to prevent these individuals from traveling abroad.

A spokesperson for the FIA confirmed that a crackdown has been initiated, resulting in the offloading and transfer of 74 passengers accused of being beggars to the FIA Anti-Human Trafficking Circles for further investigation.

It’s worth noting that beggars attempting to travel to Saudi Arabia were recently arrested by immigration officials, drawing the attention of lawmakers who were previously less cautious about pilgrims heading to the holy land.

The FIA has confirmed that cases have been registered against both the accused beggars and the agents, with further investigations underway. In a previous operation, a group that included children and women was prevented from departing for Saudi Arabia under the pretext of an Umrah pilgrimage, raising concerns about the exploitation of religious sentiments for illicit activities. Investigations are ongoing to apprehend various gangs involved, and one agent, identified as Nuro, has been found to have exploited many individuals in this regard. All those arrested hailed from Kassowal town in Punjab’s Chichawatni tehsil, Sahiwal district.

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