Poverty is about the stark realities of daily life for millions in Pakistan. Poverty here has many dimensions. The country is ranked 141 out of 182 in the United Nation’s Human Poverty Index, faces complex development challenges and is characterised by major inequalities in income and access to basic services.
Among 190 million citizens of Pakistan, 25 million are professional beggars. This figure is alarming. It is increasing by the day. The majority of beggars are Afghan refugees, including many who lost their limbs in war. Beggars are mostly found in the main markets, railway stations, bus stands and the majority of them can be seen on traffic signals. One of the main reasons for the increasing beggary is the increasing poverty. According to the Asian Development Bank, the main causes of poverty in Pakistan are poor governance, economic determinants, social determinants and environmental degradation. Our government needs to take serious steps to control the increasing number of street beggars.
Maria Rabab Mirza
Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2013.