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Begging abroad

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The growing trend of begging by Pakistanis in the Middle East, especially in Saudi Arabia, calls for immediate measures from the government to curb it. Several incidents of beggars being dropped from different flights ready for take-off in different cities of Pakistan have taken place before. Despite this, the complaint of begging after performing Umrah in Saudi Arabia continues. This is very worrisome and is damaging the image of Pakistan abroad. The seriousness of the situation is gauged from the fact that the matter came up in the discussion of the sub-committee of the Senate Committee on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development.

This phenomenon also highlights the root cause that we tend to forget or normalize – the problem of youth unemployment. Lack of source of income pushes people to beg. 60% of Pakistan’s youth are unemployed and this is a huge number. In dealing with the phenomenon of begging abroad, this factor should not be overlooked. Responding to the issue of begging requires the various federal ministries to come together to ensure that checks and restrictions are in place when it comes to verification procedures leading to the issuance of valid travel documents. are made

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Blocking the identity cards of people found to be involved in begging in other countries will also help tackle the problem. It is difficult to know beforehand whether a person traveling for Umrah will be inclined to beg. But some mechanism should be developed by which action can be taken against those who are reported in this way.

It is gratifying to see that the committee has directed the government to take decisive steps to tackle the problem and prevent its further spread. In addition to better screening and testing, the Parliamentary Committee has rightly pointed out the need to create employment opportunities for the unemployed in the long term. Initiatives like online portals for real-time job openings can play a major role in reducing unemployment challenges. Additionally, skilled programs that are directly linked to industries can provide primary employment as a first step. When people have a legitimate means of earning, no matter how small, there will be fewer reasons for them to beg.

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