Rawalpindi-The citizens come across beggars when passing through public places such as roads, streets or commercial areas and encounter strangers who request money, food, shelter or other things. 

Nowadays, professional beggars, a majority of them women and children are noticed seeking alms in every nook and corner of the city.  A large number of professional beggars, who belong to far-flung areas come here to make money in twin cities, Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Nowadays, the beggars are witnessed roaming everywhere. 

Several groups of beggars have occupied main traffic signals mainly on Benazir Bhutto Road (Murree Road) and are a common sight where one can see a lot of children and women thronging at vehicles asking for alms.

The beggars use new techniques to attract people as their sole purpose is to take money from them.

Professional beggary is becoming a social menace as more and more beggars including physically fit, healthy and young men, women and children are turning towards this profession.

They are found begging at all the main intersections of major roads, which not only upset the flow of traffic but create a nuisance for every road user.

Altaf, a citizen said, “Begging has become a profession in twin cities, so one is not sure whether a beggar really needs help or not. 

Some beggars became rich through begging and they prefer to continue begging and create new ways to deceive people.” 

“I was sitting with a friend in a restaurant last night, eating some chips. A middle-aged man walked up to us, banged his unfinished cigarette on the table and then had the nerve to ask us for money. I was in too much shock to even answer him,” he said.

Hasan, a shopkeeper said, “A man approached me the other day saying that he needed some money for bus fare as he wanted to return to his village. It seemed fairly genuine, so I gave him money, but as he took it I noticed he already had enough for bus fare held in his hand. But it was too late as I’d handed it over and couldn’t question him.”

Tahir, a citizen said, no doubt, the needy people are found in every society and helping them is the moral duty of all of us but professional beggary must be discouraged. In Rawalpindi, especially on busy places like Benazir Bhutto Road, Committee Chowk, Mareer Chowk and Sixth Soad Chowk commuters and drivers face irritation on red lights as a large number of beggars seek alms.

At Raja Bazaar, Saddar Bazaar, Tench Bhatta and other main shopping centres of the city, beggars sometime turn nasty towards the customers. Asif, a student said, a comprehensive campaign to eliminate this social evil needs to be launched by the city administration which, no doubt, will be encouraged and supported by the citizens. A comprehensive awareness campaign should also be carried out through various resources to educate the general masses that professional beggars must be discouraged, he said.

There is also a dire need of extensive community efforts to ensure a successful and result oriented drive which otherwise would not produce the wanted results. 

The citizens have urged the authorities concerned to tackle the beggary menace as the number of beggars are increasing in the city particularly at traffic signals.