Herat jobless take to the streetsBy Sharafuddin Stanikzai Jan 26, 2013 - 15:50
HERAT CITY (PAN): Nearly 200 jobless people, including beggars, on Saturday staged a protest in western Herat province, asking the government for work opportunities and financial assistance.
The protestors closed the road in front of the Governor’s Office in Herat City, the provincial capital, for some time before police dispersed them.
Mustafa, 30, one of the protestors, said he had not been able to find work despite hectic efforts over the past two months. He commutes to the city in search of a job from Injil district on a daily basis.
“Now I have decided to start begging to support a family of five," said the poverty-shackled man, who complained of harsh reaction from some people.
“We are destitute, but we have been cooperating with police in maintaining security. Despite our children crying for food, we have neither taken the law into our hands nor picked up guns to extort money from others or join militants,” said Abdul Wahid, another jobless man.
"Previously, traders would help beggars and hard out-of-job workers, but now only few assist the poor, especially the aged," he added.
The governor’s secretary, Mohammad Arif Hazim Herawi, said the provincial administration had no funds for for the jobless. However, he said the administration planned to launch two projects next year aimed at economically supporting the poor.
Another 200 development projects, including a ring road, were also in the pipeline to overcome unemployment, the official said.
Labour and Social Affairs Director Basira Mohammadi said his department planned sending a number of labourers to Qatar for jobs. She did not have exact figures for the jobless in Herat, but said they were in thousands.