Musician Rohail Hyatt recently faced criticism on Twitter for remarking on how “hoards of beggars” had been “swarming” traffic stops and other spots throughout Islamabad, with numerous people dismissing his comments as snobbish. According to Hyatt, “What’s up with Islamabad’s throngs of beggars flooding every traffic signal and marketplace? They are clearly professionals who are overseen by a well-organized syndicate. The government must address the source of this threat.”
After one user pointed out that “record-breaking inflation” is to blame for the rising poverty in the country, Hyatt replied, “Obviously it does. But if you can’t tell real poverty from the canned stuff, you need to change whatever lens you see the world through. These mafias feed on our misplaced sympathies. And please don’t tell me what to stick to or not. It’s no one’s business but mine.”
Another Twitter user wrote in response to Hyatt’s original tweet, “Ever wondered why ‘hordes’ are increasing despite the tall claims of a booming economy!? Organised syndicate is a real issue but people doing it now out of sheer compulsion is a hard hitting reality.” To this, the musician replied, “Inflation is real but the menace of professional begging goes way past any political affiliation. It’s been around forever. Hard to find labourers or skilled workers where I am these days. Everyone’s committed. Very hard hitting reality.”
A user wrote, criticising Hyatt’s remarks, “The rich are not bothered by the fact that there is so much poverty. They are bothered by the fact that these poor people dare to show their faces while the rich drive around in their expensive cars, ruining their mood.”
Another remarked, “Here come our privileged protectors, calling for the criminalisation of the poor, the ‘obviously professional’ beggars managed by ‘organised syndicates’, legitimising police crackdowns on the most marginalised groups. God save us from such ‘menace’, indeed.”
Hyatt was previously met with fierce criticism on social media after the music producer claimed on Twitter that being rich “can be harder” than being poor. Hyatt made the comments in a Twitter thread in October 2021 in which he promoted “unity” over “divisive opinions”.