RAWALPINDI  – Rawalpindi police launched a comprehensive campaign against the professional beggars here on Friday.

According to police spokesman, special squad has been constituted to arrest the professional beggars. During the holy month of Ramazan, groups of beggars mostly women, children and old men, have crowded the markets, shopping malls, signals and streets for grabbing money, which people give as charity. According to shoppers in markets, these beggars use new tactics to gain attention of the people for the purpose of getting money by getting sympathy in the name of religion.

“The concept of beggary is now emerged as a business as mostly the general public believes that inability of authorities concerned to control beggars reflects that there is a strong mafia behind the beggars,” said Nasir a resident of Waris Khan.

INP adds: Despite claims of police to have started crackdown against beggars during the holy month of Ramazan beggars in the twin cities have been irritating commuters and seizing mosques particularly on Fridays, seeking financial help.

A large number of the very young children could be seen on almost all busy roads of the city asking for money one way or the other on traffic signals, Murree Road on the pretext of washing the sight-screen of vehicles or by selling newspapers allegedly with connivance of beggar mafia. The beggars use different tactics to get the sympathies of people.

Beggars usually throng shopping malls, public parks and traffic signals which are the favourite places for them to make money.  Several beggars have occupied main traffic signals mainly on Murree Road, Committee Chowk, Mureer Chowk, Sixth Road Stop and other spots of the city where one can see a lot of beggars struggling to approach the commuters for money. The beggars are using different techniques to attract people and to persuade them to give them money. They often come out with new stories every day to influence people to give them money.

The citizens talking to INP said that most of the beggars are drug addicts and beg money to get drugs, adding that beggars get into public transport showing prescription of doctors, seeking financial help on the pretext of that prescription.

However, beggars usually manage to get sympathies of the people by repeating their fake sad stories. Despite the fact that several drives were launched against professional beggars in the past but the police and authorities concerned had failed to take concreted action for complete elimination of professional beggars and menace of beggary in the twin cities.

Moreover, the faithful who come to mosques for prayers are irritated by beggars particularly on Fridays in the twin cities where many beggars were witnessed disrupting prayers by making noises inside the mosques. Often the prayer leader during Jumma prayers had to ask beggars not to beg inside the mosque but the beggars disregard all such appeals and start noise as soon as the prayers end.

The citizens said the increasing number of beggars show the weakness of concerned authorities to take action against the beggars. They said that government should give due attention to the issue and launch a massive drive against the professional beggars with the help of police and other social organisations.