Beggars swarm roads of Rawalpindi

Published April 9, 2023
Beggars seen near Marrir Chowk on Murree Road in Rawalpindi. — Photo by Mohammad Asim
Beggars seen near Marrir Chowk on Murree Road in Rawalpindi. — Photo by Mohammad Asim

RAWALPINDI: The influx of beggars, especially in markets and traffic signals, not only reflects poorly on the working of the administration in the garrison city but also creates problems for citizens.

Scores of beggars have converged at the Committee Chowk underpass creating nuisance for commuters, who find it difficult to navigate through the intersection on one of the busiest roads in Rawalpindi.

The federal capital is also facing a similar situation as toddlers can also be seen begging and sleeping at traffic signals on main roads even past midnight.

“You cannot even walk freely in the markets because beggars would chase you until you snub them,” said a working woman at Rawalpindi’s Saddar.

Social welfare dept told to launch drive against professional beggars, says official

Sajid Kiani, a resident of Satellite Town, said people, willingly or unwillingly, end up giving alms to the beggars.

Bilal Shah, a resident of Iqbal Road, said without a doubt impoverished people have a right to seek charity but we need to follow in the footsteps of famous social worker Abdul Sattar Edhi who once advised people against giving money to undeserving persons.

Professional beggars will continue daunting us unless we stop encouraging them, Mohammad Anwar, a resident of Chaklala Scheme-III, said, adding that people need to not fall prey to emotional blackmailing. He said that those who were genuinely poor and needy would never hurt their self-respect by begging.

The government should do something tangible and effective for reducing poverty and unemployment.

“Mere clamping down a ban on beggary will not work. First know and later deal with why people beg. Creation of jobs for the unemployed lot, inception of centres to rehabilitate the disabled and maimed beggars, and crack down on habitual ones will help contain the proliferation of this social nuisance,” Shamir Hussain said.

On the other hand, the district administration has failed to launch any kind of drive against beggary.

City Traffic Police formed an anti-beggary squad last year but stopped the task after the district police and the social welfare department were given the task to round up professional beggars.

City Traffic Police Officer Taimoor Khan said that traffic police did not launch any drive in this regard as the task was given to the district police, Child Protection Bureau and the social welfare department.

He said that the traffic police were working for smooth flow of traffic on all the roads of the garrison city.

When contacted, a district administration spokesman said they were planning action against professional beggars as citizens had been lodging complaints about the issue.

He said Commissioner Liaquat Ali Chattha had asked the social welfare department and the Child Protection Bureau to start a drive to arrest the beggars and arrange their rehabilitation.

Published in Dawn, April 9th, 2023

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