Posts Tagged ‘bhatta’

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Zakat causes bloodbath in Pakistan this Ramadan

August 16, 2012

Ramadan "donation" firefight

Our first story on the ongoing zakat street war in Pakistan comes from the Daily Times which reports that “the extortion mafia of Karachi generates billions of rupees in the Ramzan [Ramadan] season.”  The Times further reports rampant grenade attacks this “holy month” by the bhatta extortion mafia on Karachi’s small businesses and chain stores:

Karachi extortion : Trend of grenade attacks on markets terrorises traders

The recent trend of grenade attacks of shops and markets that refuse extortion has terrorised local traders and businessmen, besides totally blackened the chances of further investment in Karachi.

All Pakistan Organization of Small Traders and Cottage Industries (APOSTCI) Karachi chapter president Mehmood Hamid said in past the extortionists backed by the ruling parties used to send bullets wrapped in extortion demand chits to Karachi traders, but embolden by covet backing from the corridors of power, now these mafia men are hurling grenades on shops and markets that refuse or delay Bhatta.

He said a famous chain store at NIPA Chowrangi was attacked with grenade. Last week shops at Yousuf Plaza and Water Pump were attacked with hand grenades and earlier grenades were hurled in bazaars of Hussainabad, Liaquatabad and Quaidabad by extortionists. He said the APOSTCI has record of more than one dozen such grenade attacks in Karachi.

He said extortion mafia is collecting forces Fitra and Zakat at the rate of Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 per shop in Karachi, but the police and administration are playing the role of silent spectator. He said small traders are the worst affected segment of society due to Karachi lawlessness and a lot of small trades and cottage industries have closed their doors for good due to lack of business. He demanded of the government to realise the gravity of the situation as the ongoing ‘Bhatta war’ in Karachi is hitting hard the economy of not only Karachi but also the whole country.

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Pakistan: Beggars belong “behind bars”

August 18, 2011

Take note, dear readers, of the marvelous social justice of Islam.  The Pakistan Observer is calling for professional beggars in Islamabad and Rawalpindi to be imprisoned.  Meanwhile, Western newspapers tell us that Ramadan is a time of “peace and generosity.”  OK, enjoy Ramadan in jail, beggars!

The Observer also editorializes that the “growing number of beggars, in fact, makes mockery of schemes like Zakat and Ushr system, Pakistan Baitul Maal, Benazir Income Support Programme and Waseela-e-Haq.”  At least that part is a true statement.  With as many purported welfare and zakat programs as Pakistan operates, both officially run by the government and informally conducted by “charitable” organizations, one would expect fewer, not more beggars.

But as we’ve noted before, more zakat = more poverty.

Menace of beggary

A latest report has brought into sharp focus the menace of beggary in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi especially in the context of the holy month of Ramazan, as professional beggars are swarming every nook and corner of the two cities but the police and administration are least bothered to take any action against them.

The report points out that the situation has become so much worrisome that attractive business locations are covertly auctioned allegedly by corrupt elements in police and other concerned departments for large sums of money called ‘Bhatta’ (extortion). Their activities at road-crossings have also become a hazard for smooth flow of traffic and sometime lead to mess and even fatal accidents. Though the report speaks about the twin cities but similar scenes are also common in other towns and cities where professional beggars have made lives of the people miserable. There are also reports that some of these professional beggars are also part of the networks of thieves and dacoits as they gather information about possible victims and targets and either pass on to these networks or indulge in criminal activities themselves. There are two aspects of the problems of beggary — professionals whose only mission is to mint money and many of them earn more than hardworking businessmen; and those who are forced to beg because of abysmal poverty and lack of economic or employment opportunities. As for the first category, the authorities should show no flexibility and send them behind the bars while data of others should be collected and necessary financial assistance provided to them to start their own businesses or receive cash assistance in cases where no family member of the beggar is in a position to do any business. Growing number of beggars, in fact, makes mockery of schemes like Zakat and Ushr system, Pakistan Baitul Maal, Benazir Income Support Programme and Waseela-e-Haq.

See Money Jihad‘s prior coverage here of Karachi’s anti-beggar crackdown.

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“Illegal taxes” collected in Karachi

November 25, 2010

Pakistan is crawling with mafia syndicates—the drug mafia, the land mafia, the weapons mafia.  But the father of all three is the “bhatta” mafia.  Bhatta refers to extortion.

The bhatta mafia have become increasingly active this year especially against businessmen in Karachi.  Cattle ranchers, rickshaw drivers, gold dealers, paper traders, furniture makers—nobody is immune:

But these may not be simple cases of criminal extortion.  According to a recent Express Tribune article, “Also, during Eid, Mehsud tribesmen living in Karachi are forced to pay ‘bhatta’ in the name of donations for fighters in Waziristan. ‘Last Eid, we received reports that ‘parchiyaan’ (tickets)* were collected from each trader in Sohrab Goth (in Karachi) for this purpose,’ Shahid said.”  The Express Tribune refers to such collections as “illegal taxes.”  Some call them “jagga taxes.”

Bhatta may go against Pakistan’s criminal laws, but taxes against traders—both Muslims and infidels—are required under Islamic law.  Customs duties on articles of trade are regarded as a type of zakat.

* A parchi is a slip of paper with an extortion demand.