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How begging has made Pakistan destitute: Meraj Ghulam

Begging is common in most parts of the world, but in Pakistan, it is showing a disturbing picture. Begging is defined as when a person asking for money from other people. In today’s era, it is impossible to find a place where beggars cannot be seen. A recent report on begging in the country reveals that over 25 million beggars are found in Pakistan which is estimated to be 2.5% of the country’s total population. Begging in Pakistan can be seen in different patterns. They (beggars) are usually born to exist due to the high rate of poverty, homelessness, illiteracy, unemployment, and many other social problems such as drug addiction, crime, and so on. Mostly, they can be seen asking for alms in the shops, in front of mosques, in hotels, on the roads, and in several other public and private sites.

Mainly, children have been seen in this process where they beg to survive. Thus, it has become a trend in Pakistan where an adult handing a disabled soul walking here and there for begging in the name of God. According to the latest research of the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) in Pakistan, 1.2 million children are on the streets of major cities and the urban center of the country.

Secondly, begging as an organization is also common in the country. According to the US State Department’s 2011 Trafficking in Persons Reported on Pakistan, children are frequently being sold, bought, kidnapped, and rented to work for organizations for the cause of begging. Further, it was investigated that in Pakistan, 34% of beggars are begging under criminal organizations.

What’s more, it is a social issue that has not only psychological consequences such as the rapid expansion of inferiority complex in the beggars’ families and their kinship but also it also creates problems like the geographical and social structure of the urban areas. In such cases, most probably beggars own the risk of committing suicide.

Moreover, beggars have two categories; professional and non-professional. The non-professional beggars are the ones who are extremely poor people and can not survive in today’s era where one’s expenditure is beyond one’s tolerance. For these circumstances, there should be a space in society to recompense them. Zakat and charity must be provided to these extremely needy people. On the other hand, professional beggars are those who made begging their profession. They consider this practice is an easy job and defraud the public using different methods of disability. These beggars have always been a cause of plight for the people. They have made the lives of the public miserable by pleading for money everywhere.

However, begging is drastically prohibited and considered a sin in Islam. Our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) illustrated that begging will be legal when a person indulges in these three circumstances. The indebted people, secondly, those whose properties have been destroyed due to any disaster or pandemic, and thirdly, the person who became destitute and he has no other way and his reality is on screen. But, in today’s life, it is different. Despite being an Islamic country, we stand with a huge figure of beggars across the world.

Begging is one of the most worsening images and a rapidly growing issue that undoubtedly affects the country’s economy, literacy rate, and increases criminal possibilities. Therefore, the government should provide job opportunities and build rehabilitation centers with excellent facilitation due to which, we can reduce and decrease this drawback. The most valuable thing, children should be guaranteed their rights like free education, sports, and many other primary amenities.

The writer is an ESL student at the School of Intensive Teaching (S.I.T), Hub. He tweets at @Ibne_Ghulam.

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