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December 8, 2019

The number of beggars on the rise

Lahore

December 8, 2019

While action is taken against them from time to time, the number of people begging for alms is increasing.

Pakistanis are known to be generous to a fault as far as giving to charitable causes goes but this doling out is not the right way to do it as it encourages the able bodied and lazy to cash in on what is the right of those who genuinely need help.

Begging is a lucrative business. Some time back an investigative report made for eye-opening viewing, revealing the facts about organized gangs which have men, women and children working under a 'boss' just like any organization and having to answer to him if they don't give the desired results.

Then there are those who prefer to work alone, the whole family going out to 'earn' their living. As the team followed some beggars around recording what they observed, they captured scenes of 'lame' men and women getting up and walking away; of the blind suddenly being able to miraculously see their way about and count the money they have 'earned;' of children being taken to hospital to get their 'wounds' treated only to be found that they are as fake as the 'medicine' and 'encrusted blood' visible on the bandages. There is no end to the ingenuity of the community who indulges in this business!

You must have noticed that pesky beggars refuse to go away, bang the car windows and try and embarrass you with all kind s of remarks wherever you happen to be in public places. In the end some of them are successful in eliciting a few rupees from those who are fed-up with being harassed but woe betide them if they dole out a coin of low denomination - these are unacceptable to these astute men and women, proving that they are not really poverty stricken but business minded! And beware. If you are not forthcoming with a bit of cash, some of them will leave a nasty scratch on your vehicle as you drive away, knowing you will not be able to stop in the middle of fast moving traffic! There have been suggestions that beggars should be rehabilitated by providing them a means to earn a living, like a cart to sell produce or a similar incentive - and they should be helped, if it is possible. But this help will only be accepted by those who are genuinely in need and feel that begging is an undignified way of earning money. The professionals will carry on business as usual.

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