Menace of beggary

PROF Ahsan Iqbal, who deserves credit of conceiving many socio-economic initiatives and programmes launched by the PML(N) Government as Minister for Planning and Development, is now making a mark in his capacity as Interior Minister of the country. The vibrant Minister has taken notice of the menace of beggary especially by Pakistani nationals abroad and directed FIA to take action against them.
Beggary in Pakistan and by Pakistani nationals abroad has assumed alarming proportions and brings bad name to the country but regrettably despite tall claims so far no concrete or sustained campaign has been launched to eliminate this menace. Some of the beggars might be doing so because of financial and economic constraints but majority of them are professional and some of them are known to be plying commercial vehicles and owning houses in posh areas. Sociologists say beggary has become a profession for most of those who are part of a much larger industry that recruits, trains and relocates men, women and children. In most of the cases, the recruits undergo acid and cigarette burns, amputations and starvation before they are fielded for exploiting sentiments of the people for charity. Some children and women are made to beg to earn money for addicted fathers and husbands. Beggars deployed at busy roads and crossings disrupt normal life and traffic creating risks for serious accidents. But leaving internal beggary situation aside, one is ashamed to see hundreds of Pakistanis begging in countries like Saudi Arabia and especially Makkah Mukarrama and Madinah Munawwara. They beg not only on roads leading to holy mosques but also inside the mosques and even during Tawwaf. The number of beggars increases substantially during Hajj and Ramazanul Mubarak for obvious reasons but the practice lowers image of Pakistan in the eyes of nationals of scores of countries from around the globe. Therefore, the Minister has done well to take notice of the loathsome practice and one hopes effective action would be taken in close coordination with Saudi police to nab such elements. At the same time, the Minister would do a service if he also launches a campaign to clean, at least, Islamabad of professional beggars.

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