rawalpindi-Scores of professional beggars, belonging to different parts of the country, are involved in collecting alms on traffic signals, some of them are working in highly sensitive zones including Cantt and Garrison areas posing a significant threat to military and government officials who often use these routes.

These beggars including men, women and even children are also residing in slums of Rawalpindi without any inspection by the law enforcement agencies (LEAs) something that can prove to be a security risk at a time when a new terror wave has hit the country.

Unfortunately, the influx of tens of thousands of beggars in various parts of the city continues to go unchecked, as the police and officials of Punjab Child Protection Bureau (PCPB) have turned a deaf ear towards the alarming situation. 

These beggars also halt the smooth flow of traffic causing hardships for commuters and pedestrians. Most of these beggar mafias use children and women for begging.

The majority of male members are drug addicts and remain in their abodes. Many of them go for begging in shifts. Women and children beg in the morning and male members at night.

Sometimes, the officials of Child Protection Bureau (CPB) lift children involved in begging but they refuse to leave this profession.

Dozens of female beggars also work as sex-workers. The area where beggars have thronged in big numbers includes Saddar, Kashmir Road, Haider Road, Rashid Minshas Road, Secretariat Number 2, Fleshman Chowk, COD Chowk, Mall Plaza Signal, Military Hospital (MH) Signal, PC Signal, Iftikhar Ul Haq Road, Katcheri, Chungi Number 22, Convent Chowk, Murree Road and many other areas. 

Amir Hussain, a government official, told The Nation that a few years ago a surgeon at the military hospital was killed in a suicide attack by a bomber disguised as a beggar at Mall Plaza Saddar. He said the LEAs should bar beggars from flocking Cantt and Garrison areas.

Mushtaq Ahmed, a resident of Rawalpindi, said that incidents of thefts and street crime are on the rise because of the influx of criminals disguised as beggars.

A senior officer of an intelligence agency said that a detailed report about the presence of large groups of professional beggars especially in sensitive areas has been dispatched to police officials with a request to launch a crackdown against beggars. SSP (Operations) Muhammad Bin Ashraf, when contacted by this scribe, failed to respond.