A Tribute to late Abdul Sattar Edhi
11 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’ service.
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 unstinted.
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 medical training.
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.