A Tribute to late Abdul Sattar Edhi
18 July 2016
By Saeed Qureshi
Abdul Sattar Edhi has left the transitory Abode of this world yet he would
live for all time to come into the hearts and minds and prayers of countless
poor, needy, hapless and rootless people to whose service he had dedicated six
decades of his life. Perhaps no words of obituary and homage in honor of this
one of the greatest philanthropists and humanists would be enough to
adequately portray of what he had done for the dispossessed, abandoned,
poverty stricken, sick segments and individuals in Pakistan.
During all his life he remained clad in a simple shalwar and shirt and living
in a small room adjacent to the Edhi foundation, established in 1951. Edhi
Trust is a nonprofit social welfare organization operating not only in
Pakistan but also in Africa, Middle East as well as in central Asian caucuses.
Later Edhi Trust was founded and was renamed Bilqees Edhi Trust. Both these
charitable organizations have 330 welfare centers. These centers are like a
huge network of free nursing homes, orphanages, medical, rehab and food
centers. These also shelters for homeless, abandoned women and children,
mentally handicapped and drug addicts. The Edhi foundation runs the world's
largest ambulances service with a fleet of 1500 vehicles and 24 hours'
Thus far Edhi Foundation has rescued 20000 abandoned infants, trained 40000
nurses, rehabilitated 50000 orphans. The provision of free food to the
countless hungry, impoverished and poor people is a daily service that goes on
In Karachi alone Edhi foundation runs 8 hospitals providing free medical care
including serious diseases as cancer and diabetics. Through its legal
department the foundation has secured release of innocent prisoners. the
foundation imparts through its education program both traditional and
vocational education including pharmacy, driving, reading, writing and para
One wonders how a resource-less person who started his career by working at a
wholesale shop and as a peddler for selling cloth, in future would provide
hope and will to millions of people to live by his matchless charity and
altruistic humanitarian service.
In the light of his inestimable and incomparable services to fellow Pakistanis
and beyond, he has earned a boundless and lasting gratitude of countless
beneficiaries not only from Pakistan but elsewhere in the world. His service
to the downtrodden, poor and needy has justifiably earned him such noble
titles as a ''saint'', ''guardian of poor'', ''Angel of mercy'' and a great
yet unassuming philanthropist and humanitarian. He is compared with Madam
Theresa for such laudable accomplishments.
Abdul Sattar was awarded Lenin Peace Prize in 1988, Nishan-e-Imtiaz in 1989 by
Pakistan government, wolf and Bhogio Peace Award in 2005 by Italy. The prime
minister of Pakistan who landed today in Pakistan after his heart surgery in
London, has announced another Nish-e-e Imtiaz for late Edhi.
Abdul Sattar Edhi led a simple life entirely dedicated life to the service of
human beings. He ate simple food, wore simple dress of shalwar and shirt, with
a cap to cover his head and shorn of all personal ambition or perk and
privileges. His simple and ascetic life replete with dedication and love for
unprivileged and poor people of Pakistan should serve as an example for our
leaders to follow his magnificent tradition of serving the people without any
show off and ostentation.
Esteemed Edhi Sahib died of chronic kidney disease that was diagnosed in June
2013. But in his death he bequeathed another glorious tradition to which he
remained wedded and dedicated for most part of his 88 years' span if life. He
donated his organs to those patients who may have needed them. Only his
corneas were suitable for transplant.
His funeral was attended by many dignitaries and high ranking government
officials and ministers. The COAs General Raheel Sharif and chiefs of Pakistan
Navy and Pakistan Air Force also attended his funeral. The ''state honor was
given to Edhi by guard of honor and 19-gun-salute'' (ISPR).
Abdul Sattar leaves behind him a glorious legacy and an excellent model which
should be emulated by our leaders and wealthy people to serve and help the
suffering humanity and impoverished fellow beings. May God almighty grant his
soul eternal peace and reward him befittingly on the day of judgement.
The writer is a senior journalist, former editor of Diplomatic Times and a
former diplomat. This and other articles by the
writer can also be read at his blog www.uprightopinion.com.