The analogy ‘beggar on the street’ ostensibly takes on a new and opposite meaning when referring to particular groups of beggars in Sindh. Although outlawed through Section 7 (1) of the Vagrancy Act of 1958 and the 1955 Sindh Children Act for both adults and children, a number of Sindh residents have made begging a cross-generational source of income. Furthermore, several have become millionaires with major land holdings such as commercial buildings. No current system in the country can fix the problem of ethics and morals even with all of the moral training imparted across religious factions combined, because dishonesty is part and parcel of life around here. Ironically, many beggars, including members of other faiths, are potentially exploiting certain aspects of religion — perhaps as a rite of passage — to receive handouts, be it money or rice kernels. In the name of justice, this and many other ethical practices need to be stopped before an entire systematic collapse.
Peculiar it may be, no government entity is curious about investigating how someone who is on a hand-to-mouth earning is suddenly able to purchase property, motor vehicles, and employees to assist in forcibly collecting loot. In a far-off distance, this is also the relevance of taxes to the conundrum in that clearly, there is no FBR oversight nor of any other tax governing body. This indicates selectivity in the enforcement of tax collection.
Financial crimes, dishonesty, and cheating have almost become socially acceptable. There are probably only few citizens who have entirely clean, guilt-free characters. The rest are guilty of some form of exploitation of the system just like the beggars referred to here. It is high time that ethics was given weightage in all affairs. Gangs that exploit children and force them to beg must be disbanded and defeated.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 19th, 2018.
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