Begging: A forgotten social evil
Begging is one of the most important problems in Pakistan, which has not been taken seriously. Begging is growing issue that gives rise to different main issues, such as street crime, theft, robbery, repression of the poor, violence and exploitation. Pakistan faces street begging at an alarming rate.
Begging is asking for supplication, it is also one of the oldest professions on earth such as prostitution, but other nations have taken some serious measures to reduce it, while in Pakistan this tendency to beg increases every day.
According to the investigation, begging is an organized crime in Pakistan and, according to contemporary estimates, there are between two and twenty-five million beggars in Pakistan. There are several causes of begging that allowed people to beg.
Begging is a necessary income supplement to survive at some level related to basic needs such as food or drugs. This is a complex relationship between poverty, begging, homelessness, substance abuse, mental illness, unemployment and crime. All these factors somehow resulted in begging so that they can generate income for survival.
Begging is so common in all major cities and is almost at each roundabout, on the pavement, in front of the mosque and the main roads that ask for alms. It has become a profession with a larger industry. Begging prevails also because of our social configuration. Two things that drive this industry are the “shock value” and the religious connotations of assistance.
In our society, begging has traditionally been tolerated and even encouraged because those people give them money to obtain religious merit and earn money, but we have forgotten that these people are professionals and living without doing anything is the sole purpose of their lives.
Not only in Pakistan but also in other countries like South Asia, people tend to provide charity or charity to the poor, and because of that tendency, begging has become quite unbridled because a portion of the people are more than happy to give money to beggars, especially children. However, this happens because the state does not have enough resources to provide for the poor and needy. This situation of them allows them to plead to satisfy their survival needs.
Poverty is the main cause of begging that has forced hundreds of people to commit suicide, forces women to sell their children and forces young people to leave their homes and start begging.
According to the latest survey, a large number of people living below the poverty line earn less than Rs.4000 per month, which makes it very difficult for a person to meet their needs. On the other hand, a street beggar is earning more than a normal person and is also an easy source of money.
They claim that they have to pay a sum to the ring leaders or the police in the begging areas. According to Pakistan law, begging can take you to jail for three years. But, that rarely happens here according to the lawyers. Also parents whose children are begging can be arrested and jailed for three years. They can be fined $ 500. The High Court of Lahore in 2011 ruled that professional begging should be discouraged.
Beggars are found mainly in the main urban cities and main areas of these cities. They run begging markets in each city called mandi where they gathered around all cities when there are Urs, mela as in Bari Iman, Data Darbar, etc. As it is the organized crime, they make deals in that mandi and assign their tasks and areas where they ask.
The begging of the culture is not as simple as it seems, now there is a whole mafia and a series of crimes is also related to it. They even cheat innocent women and steal them. Also the beggar children are mostly those who were first abducted by this mafia, and then turned into a hideous appearance or disabilities that can be a convenient tool to extort money whatever they can.
Although begging is illegal in Pakistan, according to the West Pakistan Loitering Ordinance of 1958, but this law remains largely unforced as a massive increase in the number of beggars from past decades.
According to the Office of Child Welfare and Protection, the Office has provided 39,270 poor and neglected children in six years. Undoubtedly, the professional beggars here in Pakistan are begging for their own choice and are the real culprits, but the beggar children in the city are not selective and begin involuntarily.
According to the research of the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) in Pakistan, there are 1.2 million children on the streets of major cities and the urban center of Pakistan. This is just the number of children who beg, apart from children there are a number of beggars who are mostly disabled or claim to be disabled. Their lives are being controlled by a huge network of mafia beggars who also assign their territory where they have to beg. They are being trained professionally and tortured inhumanly, and if someone only asks for their network or teachers, they die of fear.
These mafia leaders actually take an oath from them to keep their name a secret because most of their heads are known and influential people in society.
Children do not run away just because their families are poor, many of them are abused Many children flee because they see violence in their homes, NGOs can do a lot, the long-term sustainability of such interventions depends on government help.
Begging is undoubtedly the result of poverty. The average daily wedges range between Rs.400 and Rs.500 that they gave to their teachers. Most of these beggars were children who did not even wear adequate rags and shoes.
In short, begging is influencing a large number of people in our societies, not only beggars but also those affected by these crimes related to begging. This creates a poor image of society and the begging of the Mafia is getting stronger every day because nobody has taken this issue seriously, nor the law and the enforcement agencies, the government and the NGOs are doing something that is only focus on begging. There are some measures that could be taken to reduce begging.
Zakat and Sadqa are two important obligations that must be accessible to the poor and needy. The zakat system must be transparent and it is our responsibility to guarantee the eligibility of a receiver.
The government should take some initiatives, such as organizing different workshops, training programs and skills so that they can really make a living in the future.
n Job opportunities must be provided to eligible individuals who actually have skills and training.
nThere must be a strict application of the law, the police must have the power to punish those responsible for taking them to the streets.
nThe rights of children must be guaranteed especially and an institutional mechanism for child protection issues established.
nThe public should discourage this illegal begging instead of encouraging it. There should be awareness programs against this begging of the mafia, so that only people who deserve it can get help.
nSome points could be achieved through an awareness campaign of electronic and social media that has a great influence on our lives.
nThe Government should generate funds to deal with the vagrancy, adulation and exploitation of exploitation caused by begging.
Begging is now one of the organized crimes and must be eliminated through serious policy formulation and planning. It needs to be eliminated from society because it is producing a dependent person that is dangerous for the development and progress of a country, since it helps in different crimes.
The writer is a freelance columnist based in Quetta. He can be reached at: Asadhussainma@yahoo.com