I recently toured around different cities of Pakistan including some very civilized ones such as Islamabad while others not-so-busy ones like Thatta. One thing that caught my attention was the colossal increase in the population of beggars. For years, begging has been a subject of satire and is thought of as an income-generating profession with no mandates of income taxes, retirement age and accountability. But after a close inspection, I have come to the conclusion that mere 'asking for alms and money' is not what's being done on the roads, foot paths and market places. Most children involved in incidents of robbery are also part-time beggars. Some of the beggars are being used for stalking purposes while many begging women on the road are being sexually abused. It will take more than just the issuance of Benazir Income Support Program cards offering a thousand rupees per month to help eliminate these beggars. Force has never worked and even though police has been repeatedly told to remove beggars from all main roads, it has been unsuccessful in doing so. I would request the authorities to help these needy people by providing them the right skills, motivation and support to build themselves to do a respectable job or practice a valuable craft. -FAIQAH MUMTAZ, Islamabad, via e-mail, January 2.