Karachi: Professional beggars from across Pakistan have thronged Karachi, the economic hub of the country, to mint maximum charity during the month of Ramazan.
“This year, a large number of beggars coming to the city have doubled, as last year’s unprecedented flood rendered many people homeless and compelled them to live the life below the line of poverty,” Rana Asif Habib, seasoned sociologist and president of the Initiator Human Development Foundation Working for Street Children, told the Daily Times.
Besides floods, rising inflation, increase in utility tariff and skyrocketing prices of essential commodities have also compelled many people to beg in order to cater to their basic needs.
He informed that over 100,000 beggar families arrived in Karachi from different areas of the country in 2011, 70 percent of whom came to Karachi from southern Punjab, particularly Saraeki areas, where deprivation and poverty is very high.
Habib said that these beggars worked under groups and developed a close coordination among them about the distribution of charity, and moved to the markets after 15th of Ramazan, since people increasingly indulge in shopping as Eid approaches near.
“These beggars not only mint money by begging, but also indulge in picking pockets in buses and markets, besides snatching bags from women as they are easy target,” he added.
Habib alleged that the police are also the part of the whole game because they get bribe from their gangs. “Very fruitful places where they collect good amount are hospitals. They get accesses to there by giving bribe to the guards.”
A beggar earns 700 to 1,000 rupees per day, while a disabled beggar earns beyond the imagination of 10,000 rupees per day, as people prefer to give charity to them rather than healthy beggars, Habib maintained.
He said that other segments who joined these professional beggars were street children, whose number was estimated over 32,000 in the city, while eunuchs also came from various areas of the province to get the benefits of Ramazan.
“After the passage of Eid, they return to their homes, while 20 percent of them remain here after being inspired by the hustle and bustle of the city,” he added.