Pakistan: Begging is a Social Curse


By Sajjad Shaukat

Although begging is very common in the less developed countries, yet in case of Pakistan, it is

free, having no restriction. It has turned into a profession and is not only for the poor, disabled,

invalidated and injured people, but is owned as a choice by many who believe that begging is a

thriving business. Presently the administration seems unconcerned as the social evil of begging

flourishes under their nose.

Begging which is a social curse is not caused by poverty; rather it reflects a predisposition, an

attitude and an outlook, which entails use of disguising tricks to emotionally exploit the public.

The aim is to fleece money. The menace of begging has become a spot of dirt on the face of the

Muslim community throughout the world. It is regrettable that the Muslims are ridiculed and

criticized because of this increasing curse. In this context, in October 2012, while talking in a

Lebanese TV-talk show, Swedish-Algerian Journalist Yahya Abu Zakaria said, “In accordance

with the European law for support of religions and cultural diversity, the state provides Muslims

with funding, and the managers of the mosques steal those funds and every mosque in Europe

However, we can witness that as the holy month of RAMZAN commenced with religious spur,

spiritual drive and an inner urge to seek Allah’s blessing and enhance holy devoutness, an

alarming upsurge in the number of beggars surfaced in every market and public place.

Deplorably, begging has emerged as a profession, having correlation with divine months, sacred

events and sanctified occasions. Beggars fully understand that people of Pakistan driven by their

Islamic values and religious obligations offer charity with generosity and kindness during holy

month of RAMAZAN. They also know the public belief system especially among God fearing

wealthy and well to do families that magnanimous donations and charitable funds, given to the

poor during RAMZAN would enable them to obtain Allah’s endorsement (RAZZA). Hence, they

flood the marketplaces, busy streets and scuttled squares to get their share of charity.

In this regard, the philanthropists perceive that beggars are poor, while the professional beggars

artfully fleece money, using different pretexts and employing unique guises. The beggars usually

resort to emotional exploitation of innocent people by observing the psyche of the latter. Public

generally misperceive that poverty is the main cause of begging, whereas beggars use religion

as a ruse or excuse to beg. Therefore, many beggars become fake pious persons with tall claims

of spiritual strength and ability to ensure spiritual healings against psychological abnormality.

Others simply extend their begging hands before every passerby, depicting their poverty ridden

The former president of South Africa and Nobel Prize winner for peace, Nelson Mandela, the

late once said, “Poverty is not by accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is manmade and can be

removed by the actions of human beings.

Islam clear denounces the menace of begging. In this context, our Holy Prophet (PBUH)

loathed the culture of begging and introduced the system of ZAKAAT to help the needy with

respect and honor. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) also said that on the Day of Judgment, the beggar

(professional) will not have flesh on his face. This indicates the extent of the Holy Prophet

(PBUH)’s abhorrence for begging. But, despite this, beggars are being encouraged by the public

and the government in one or the other way, in most of Islamic countries, especially Pakistan.

There is an old maxim, ‘The beggars are not choosers, but, in fact, ground realities show, ‘The

It is our misfortune that the profession of begging is heaving and surging in Pakistan and there

is no official or administrative check on it. In this connection, the most alarming development

is that there are rumours and unconfirmed media reports that terrorists are also using the

symptomatic disguise of beggars. Some analysts remarked that Tarnole (Rawalpindi) suicide

attack against services and agencies’ vehicle was undertaken by a man, dressed in beggar’s

clothing. The attack resulted into martyrdom of two senior Army officers (Colonels). Hence,

there is the need to control the increasing numbers of beggars in the country.

Some reports and surveys also suggest that there are some ‘mafia groups’ which are behind

the beggars, and use them in collecting money through this menace. Moreover, under the guise

of beggars, some cases of theft have also come to the limelight. According to a sociologist,

“begging darkens all the qualities of a person {Beggar},” could positively be utilized for the

In order to check the begging, Pakistan’s religious scholars (Ulemas), sociologists and media

must play their role because, it has become a social curse, which is resulting into other related

problems, affecting other fields of the society.

These internal entities must propagate that in case of Pakistan, begging is free for all

phenomenon. And has turned into a profession and is not only for the poor, disabled, invalidated

and injured people, but is adopted as a choice by several persons who believe that begging is a

By showing the true picture of the beggars, these entities must educate those wealthy persons

who are always willingly to fulfill the desires of the former. They must point out that begging

is not caused by poverty; rather it reflects an idiosyncrasy and a position which involves use

of disguising tricks to emotionally manipulate the public psyche, with the sole aim to collect

Nevertheless, increasing number of beggars on the roads, street, market and public places present

awkward scenes which tarnish the national image of Pakistan in the comity of the civilized

nations, while the millions are deceived by the beggars.

Again, terrorists using beggars’ disguise become more lethal, as people tend to approach

beggars, without fear to offer charities. Particularly, media and civil society must denounce

begging, while administration—Police and other Law-enforcing agencies must check

uncontrolled begging and undertake measures to provide ZAKAT to the needy by discouraging

downtrodden way of making money (begging). The government needs to take necessary steps,

and special squad be established to undertake the job. Strict action must also be taken against

the ‘mafia groups’ which are backing the beggars in order to obtain money.

Nonetheless, if not curtailed in time, the begging which is a social curse which in turn, brings

about ill-measurable social evils is likely to continue by giving a greater blow to Pakistan.

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