ISLAMABAD – In a recent Senate committee meeting, it was revealed that a staggering 90% of beggars caught in Saudi Arabia are of Pakistani origin.
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Many exploit Umrah visas for begging, causing concerns for both the Saudi authorities and neighboring nations.
During a recent meeting of the Senate’s standing committee for overseas Pakistanis, Rana Mahmoodul Hassan Kakar disclosed that a staggering 90% of beggars apprehended in Saudi Arabia are of Pakistani origin.
Zeeshan Khanzada, the Secretary of overseas Pakistanis, shared that these beggars initially travel on Umrah visas to Saudi Arabia, where they subsequently engage in begging. Some of them even exploit Iraq visas to embark on pilgrimage journeys.
Additionally, it was highlighted that a significant number of pickpockets caught in Makkah’s Masjid al-Haram are Pakistani nationals. This has led to complaints from the ambassadors of Iraq and Saudi Arabia, as their prisons are becoming overcrowded with Pakistani beggars.
Family arrested going for begging on Umrah Visa
16 family members of Pakistani origin were arrested at Multan Airport, later offloaded were going to Saudi Arabia on an Umrah Visa with the intention of begging, confirmed by Khalid Anees, director of FIA (Federal Investigation Agency).
After a brief investigation, they found that their primary intention of obtaining an Umrah visa was to beg near Masjid al-Haram or adjacent areas where people from around the world visit to perform the pilgrimage.
11 women, 5 men, and a child have been arrested and offloaded from the airplane.
The situation becomes more apparent in areas predominantly populated by Pakistanis, like Aziziyah in Jeddah. Here, beggars persistently follow individuals from local shops to their cars, even after polite refusals.
An interesting insight from my tailor, who operates in Aziziyah, Jeddah, is that these Pakistani beggars, while on Umrah visas, manage to make approximately SR 6,000 per month, amounting to SR 18,000 over the course of their Umrah visa tenure.