Lahore, Sept 17 : During the ongoing month of Ramazan, an average professional beggar in Pakistan is earning Rs 1000 per day, and a family, depending upon the number of 'earning members,' collects Rs 4000-5000 a day.
If multiplied by the 30 days of Ramazan, the total income comes out to be around Rs 150,000, which is enough for the rest of the year to meet the family's basic needs. The money earned during the Ramzan acts like fixed capital, even as the day to day expenses during the rest 11 months can be met by daily earnings.
According to the Daily Times, Zakia (35) begs in Gulberg almost all day during Ramazan and earns about Rs 800 to Rs 1000 per day. She resides under the Sherpao Bridge with her husband and three children whenever she is in the city. All her family members are also beggars by profession.
The family collectively makes about Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 every day. She goes back with her family to her hometown (Khanewal) before Eidul Fitr.
Zakia and her family aren't the only beggars who throng to the city during the holy month. Thousands of such families are found across the province.
Zakia said that her family is part of a group that comprises 18 families who live and travel together to wherever they can find better earnings. She said that all of them were related to each other, adding that every family consists of about eight members.
One of them, Rafiq, said that every year they took shelter under the Sherpao Bridge, adding that nobody has ever stopped them from residing there.
Local Union Council Nazim Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor said that these beggars create disturbances for the environment, adding that they start begging on both sides of the road in the evening. There are always more beggars during Ramazan, which also causes trouble for the traffic, he added.
Ghafoor claimed that all the beggars work for two disabled people who live in a colony in the Gulberg Industrial Area. They provide them shelter and take money from them in exchange, he added.
Ghalib Market Station House Officer (SHO) Shoaib Khan said that the police remove the beggars from the area on a daily basis, but they return the next morning.