Pakistani beggars seen as spying
The number of foreign tramps, many of them Pakistanis, has risen in the country over the past few year. Hardly able to converse either in Pashto or Dari, Afghanistan's main languages, many of them speak Urdu.
“We are tired of Pakistani hobos who seek alms from shoppers. At times, our clients, bothered by them, walk out,” a shopkeeper in the Kota Sangi locality of Kabul, Mohammad Ali, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
There is no guarantee of these drifters not spying for foreign countries, according to resident Mohammad Rafi, who asked the government to force them from the capital city.
Frequently troubled by alms-seekers, he complained they could not conveniently purchase daily-use items for families.
The presence of beggars on capital roads, streets and markets adds to crowding in the city, believes taxi driver Abdul Qadeer. “Different kinds of people sits on main roads, asking for alms and causing blockades.”
Pakistani vagabonds have been growing in numbers in southern Kandahar province. Eighty percent of them were women and girls who occasionally committed immoral acts, claimed a resident from Kandahar, Haji Abdul Bari.
Apprehensive they might be working for foreign intelligence services, he urged the government to take immediate measures to expel them from the province.
The governor's spokesman, Javed Faisal, said a committee including intelligence, police, Afghan Red Crescent Society and Department of Labour officials to drive beggars from Kandahar City.
A shopkeeper in restive Helmand province, Noor Agha, also thought beggars might have hand in explosions and other security incidents.
But a beggar in Kabul said they had come from Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan province because of unemployment. His sole objective was to eke out a livelihood, he explained.
Sher Nawaz has come to Kunduz along with his spouse and three children from the Punjab province of Pakistan to earn a living. One afghani was equal to two rupees, he argued, saying he earned 500-800afs a day.
Ali Iftikhari, the spokesman for the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, said they had seized dozens of Pakistan beggars in Kabul and handed them over to the Pakistani embassy.
The authorities had got an undertaking from them not to come back to Afghanistan, but their return was not being tracked, he said.
Acting interior minister Gen. Mujtaba Patang said they would discuss the issue with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. They would jointly find a lasting solution to the problem, he promised.
On beggars working for foreign intelligence networks, Kabul Crime Branch chief, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Zahir, said they had no evidence in this regard.
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