Beggars are Pakistan's latest export after terrorism and donkeys

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Pakistan has been known to export terrorism and India has been its victim. Pakistan also exported donkeys to China. Joining the unusual list of Pakistan's exports are beggars. The problem has gained such proportions that countries like Saudi Arabia and Iraq have now requested the Pakistani government to stem the flow of beggars.

Not only that, most of the pickpockets arrested from within Mecca's Grand Mosque are Pakistanis.

As it sees record inflation and the poor Pakistanis suffering the most from skyrocketing food and fuel prices, beggars from Pakistan are flocking to West Asian countries in large numbers. The Standing Committee of Overseas Pakistanis recently raised this concern.

Ninety per cent of all beggars detained in West Asian nations are from Pakistan and these beggars are locked up in jails in Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Secretary of Overseas Pakistanis, Zeeshan Khanzada, said.

"Ambassadors of Iraq and Saudi Arabia have told us that Pakistani beggars travel abroad under the guise of ziarat (pilgrimage) on Umrah visas and later engage in begging on the streets," Pakistan's Geo News Urdu quoted Khanzada as saying.

He also said that the majority of the pickpockets arrested from within Mecca's Grand Mosque are Pakistani nationals, The News International reported.

During a meeting chaired by Senator Manzoor Kakar, Zeeshan Khanzada informed the Standing Committee that there are nearly 10 million Pakistani citizens living abroad, a substantial number of whom are involved in begging.

These individuals obtain visas and then resort to begging in other countries, he said, adding that flights to the Middle East from Pakistan are often completely filled with beggars.

The committee was informed about the presence of 1,600,000 Pakistanis in the UAE and 200,000 in Qatar, reported Pakistan's The Express Tribune.

Besides, Iraqi and Saudi Arabian diplomats have claimed that their jails are overcrowded with Pakistani beggars, he said, highlighting that the matter is bringing shame to Pakistan on the global stage.

Pakistan, which is already in a crisis over a nosediving economy, has a new problem with beggars thronging the streets of Middle Eastern nations.

Poverty in Pakistan shot up to 39.4 per cent as of last fiscal year, with 12.5 million more people falling into the trap due to poor economic conditions, the World Bank earlier said.

The global lender urged Pakistan to take urgent steps to tax its 'sacred cows' – agriculture and real estate – and cut wasteful expenditures in an effort to achieve economic stability through steep fiscal adjustment of over 7 per cent of the economy.

According to the Pakistan Economic Survey (PES) for 2022-23, the population of donkeys in the country went up to 5.8 million from 5.7 million in 2022. It was because of the demand from China. 

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