Jamat-i-Islami Pakistan in its manifesto for the general elections 2013 have promised that they will provide employment and shelter to the beggars if voted into power.
Jamat-i-Islami(JI), a politico-religious party of the country which has a strong in presence in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa(KP)’s Malakand Division, promised employment and shelter to the beggars on streets before the general elections 2013.
In the general elections, the party won six provincial and three seats of the National Assembly. They had decided to become part of the coalition government led by Pakistan Tehrek-i-Insaf (PTI) in KP.
Three among 16 portfolios of ministries were given to JI including Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Religious Affairs.
While speaking to Truth Tracker, KP Minister for Local Government affiliated with JI Inayatullah Khan said that the plan of establishing shelters and rehabilitation centers for the drug addicts and beggars has been in the pipeline.
He also said that former government of Mutahidda Majls-e-Amal(MMA) along with JI had established around four centers for the drug addicts and planned to widen the project across the province.
“Since the MMA government tenure ended, shelters for beggars were not established across the province,” Khan added.
When asked about the current government, he said they planned and promised it in 2013 elections manifesto but the social welfare ministry was not given to JI, hence they had little leverage over the matter.
“We have not that much say in the social welfare ministry since it is not with the JI hence we could not undertake the project of establishing shelters and creating employment for the beggars,” he said.
Human rights activists consider the issue of increased numbers of beggars particularly the children need to be stopped and they should be provided their rights to spend respectable life.
While Speaking to Truth Tracker, Peshawar-based Social activist Saqibul Rehman said that there are lot of children involved in the practice of begging and even becoming drug addicts.
“Children have been involved in the use of illicit drugs. They, themselves end up becoming drug dealers or criminals in the later stages,” Rehman said, while he also stressed on the need of a policy to fix the issue.
Moreover, he said the KP social welfare department could at least prepare a draft policy for banning those who are professional beggars and police could be involved in it for banning the beggars.
Awami National Party (ANP)’s provincial lawmaker Syed Jafar Shah told Truth Tracker that parties and leadership should always be accountable to the public for the promises they make.
He said there were a lot of promises made by the incumbent government particularly the PTI and JI but they were just hollow and could not come up with fulfillment of such promises.
“As far as beggars are concerned, there is a need to provide them fundamental rights which is the responsibility of state,” Shah said. He added that if ANP is voted into power again, it would work on improving the conditions of marginalized communities, including beggars.
Taking views from senior officials, activists and independent observers, the Truth Tracker concludes that the promise JI made with the public of establishing shelters and provision of jobs for beggars stands compromised.