Beggars in Pakistan earn more than management graduates, if an investigation by a leading Pakistani daily is to be believed.
According to the Daily Times, beggars in posh localities earn up to Rs 4,000 per day or a whopping Rs 120000/- per month, while those in not so posh localities earn up to Rs 2,500 per day.
Most often beggars portray themselves as maimed for earning public sympathy, even though they may be hale and hearty.
The same beggar without an arm could be seen few days later without a leg too, which almost always was concealed to give the look that the beggar had lost a leg as well, the paper said.
Investigations revealed that many had taken to this profession because of unemployment and inflation.
A 19-year-old boy at Charing Cross in Lahore said he pretended to be crippled, because people did not give alms to healthy beggars.
"Almost everybody had a soft corner for cripple people. I know what I am doing is wrong, but you forget everything if you're about to faint from hunger. My parents were poor and they couldn't educate me, and I cannot get a job," he said.
Another 35-year-old beggar said: "I worked at a kiln for 12 hours a day in Kasur and earned Rs 2,000 a month in this hot season. I decided to come to Lahore for a better job, but I found a job for two days a week. I had to eat from Data Gunj Buksh's shrine.
I met some people like me who told me that I should give begging a try. I pretended to be paralysed and started begging, and to my surprise I found that I could earn a lot".
Police officials are however, of the opinion that the beggars one comes across at traffic signals and street crossings are the small fries of a much bigger begging syndicate.
In many cases the syndicate crippled the beggars by beating them mercilessly and pushed them into begging. In other cases, beggars had to pay a hefty sum to the men who ran the syndicate.
More often than not, these groups lured poor people from rural areas into begging by offering them shelter, said the official.