Urban Poverty: The Beggars of Karachi, Pakistan.

Urban Poverty: The Beggars of Karachi, Pakistan.

Poverty is the lack of basic human needs, such as clean water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter, because of the inability to afford them. About 1.7 billion people live in absolute poverty.

Woman sitting with her newborn on footpath and looking for donations, Photo by Yasir Kazmi, Karachi, Pakistan.

Poverty is not only about the numbers. It’s about the stark realities of daily life for millions in Pakistan. In Pakistan Poverty has many dimensions. Pakistan, ranked 141 of 182 in the United Nation’s Human Poverty Index, faces complex development challenges and is characterized by major inequalities in income and access to basic services.  Poverty remains a serious concern in Pakistan, where the per capita gross national income (GNI) is US$520. Poverty rates, which had fallen substantially in the 1980s and early 1990s, started to rise again towards the end of the decade. According to the latest figures, as measured by Pakistan’s poverty line, 32.6 percent of the population is poor. More importantly, differences in income per capital across regions have persisted or widened as have gender gaps in education and health. Poor countries are also infected because of the so-called economics reforms like downsizing and rightsizing, concomitant the unemployment and increase in the number of poor.

Woman sitting on footpath with her new born and looking for donation, Photo by Yasir Kazmi, Karachi, Pakistan.

One of the most humiliating and difficult profession to adopt, is beggary. It needs great courage and tolerance to accept disdain, contempt, insulting remarks and abuse from other fellow beings. But once these absurdities are taken for granted, they drift in human genes like a parasite and travels along with generation after generation.

Among 170 million citizen of Pakistan 25 million are professional beggars this figure is alarming. It is increasing day by day. The majority of beggars are Afghan refugees including many who lost there limbs in war.

Smiling Boy with his younger sister looking for donation, Photo by Yasir Kazmi, Karachi, Pakistan.

These beggars live in a well organized community by adhering to their own custom, rules and regulation. This community also indulges in heinous crimes of Kidnapping newly born and under age children to use them for there profession.

Mostly people adopt this profession because they think it’s an easy way to earn money.

Beggars are having a road business in cities. Beggars are mostly founded in main markets, railway stations, bus stands and the majority of beggars founds on traffic signal. Some time there behavior is very irritating for that people really hate and avoided them.

One of the main reasons for increasing beggary is increasing poverty. According of Asian Development Bank (ADB) the main causes of poverty in Pakistan are, poor governance, economic determinants, social determinants and environmental degradation.

The Idea for Help poor prestigiously.

On each and every signal we should install a small box for water with surf or any other cleaning material and a few wipers. Two to three kids should be assigned to each signal with one official to collect money. All these kids should be provided uniforms and they should have standardized times for their duty. There should also be a standardized system for distribution of money to each child at the end of their shifts. Each child should also join the team by filing paper work, and it should be mandatory for all of them to attend school in the morning. Through this effort we can at least try to eradicate poverty and beggars from the roads of Pakistan.


We need to involve our corporate sector as well as individuals who will sponsor the idea and develop it further e.g. Mineral water companies could install coolers on particular signals and a team could serve water in the afternoons and charge a small fee per glass. I know I will receive comments that these suggestions are contrary to child labor laws, to which my answer is that it is better than beggary.


8 thoughts on “Urban Poverty: The Beggars of Karachi, Pakistan.

  1. Mr Kazimisahib I really like your approach to the situation and would like to get involved. Is there a way of me contacting you through email?

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