Rawalpindi : At marketplaces, busy shopping malls, mosques, and on the streets of Rawalpindi city, a good number of beggars, many of them seasonal ones, beg for money from passing shoppers ahead of Eidul Azha.
“A huge number of floating people take shelter under the bridges, at the railway stations, bus terminals, and adjacent areas of different multi-stored commercial buildings,” says Osaf Ali, a trader. “Many male and female beggars go from door to door, some rush towards private cars at traffic signals as the people hand out money to earn Almighty’s blessings,” adds Osaf.
“Female beggars usually carry babies in arms while begging for money at different points of the city. They carry the kids to draw people’s kind attention while begging,” says Zegham Abbas. Changez, who hails from a rural area says, “I have come to Rawalpindi city for begging, as there is no work in my village now. Last year, I begged around Rs35,000 in Rawalpindi during the Eid festival.”
“I have come to the city for the third time. Last year, I got Rs40,000. This year, I expect more amount,” says another beggar Darvesh. Motu, who was begging at a Tower junction says,” I came to the city from Chakwal to do the duty of night guard. Afterward, I started begging.”
“As Rawalpindi is an over-populated city, beggars are able to earn a handful amount of money daily by begging. It is certainly a good act to help the blind, disabled, and actually distressed people. But a large portion of beggars take this profession commercially,” says Mukhtar.
Fazeelat, a resident of the Satellite Town area in the city, says,” I gave money to at least nine to ten beggars on my way to Mina Bazaar for shopping. Though begging is an act of disgust, I couldn’t say no to them near the Eid festival.” “The number of male and child beggars in the city has increased alarmingly. They pose a big challenge to the sanitation condition across the city. They use footpaths, drains, and parks for defecation,” says Samsam Hussain, an RMC official.
“These people also get involved in disruptive activities. Members of the drug business syndicates force the beggar and floating women to paddle the drugs among the consumers, taking advantage of their helplessness,” Samsam. “Giving up the conventional style of direct alms-seeking, the beggars nowadays adopt highly ingenious techniques of begging. They pose as destitute persons in need of money for critical surgeries on their blood relatives or on themselves,” says Abis Raza, another RMC official.
Batool-e-Izra, running an NGO titled ZWT, says, “Innocent people experience a kind of bliss from their alms giving. Many have little inkling that by showering their kindness on the wrong persons, they are depriving many genuine people in need of help.”
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