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Legend Abdul Sattar Edhi, no more with us

09 July, 2016

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KARACHI: Celebrated humanitarian and Edhi Foundation Chairman Abdul Sattar Edhi passed away at the age of 92 in Karachi on Friday night..

Edhi’s son said his funeral prayers would be offered at Memon Masjid after Zuhr prayers on Saturday (today) and he would be laid to rest at Edhi Village.

Edhi was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2013, but had been unable to get a transplant due to frail health. He was receiving treatment at the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT).

Earlier in the day, the philanthropist’s son Faisal Edhi and wife Bilquis Edhi informed the media that doctors at the facility have termed his condition critical as he felt difficulty in breathing while undergoing a scheduled dialysis process “after which the doctors decided to shift him on a ventilator”.

Faisal Edhi urged the nation to pray for his health and speedy recovery.

In June, Mr Edhi declined an offer by former president Asif Ali Zardari for treatment abroad, insisting on getting it done in Pakistan, particularly in a government hospital.

Born to a family of traders in Gujarat, Mr Edhi arrived in Pakistan in 1947.

The state’s failure to help his struggling family care for his mother – paralysed and suffering from mental health issues – was his painful and decisive turning point towards philanthropy.

In the sticky streets in the heart of Karachi, Mr Edhi, full of idealism and hope, opened his first clinic in 1951. “Social welfare was my vocation, I had to free it,” he says in his autobiography, ‘A Mirror To The Blind’.

Motivated by a spiritual quest for justice, over the years Mr Edhi and his team created maternity wards, morgues, orphanages, shelters and homes for the elderly – all aimed at helping those who cannot help themselves.

The most prominent symbols of the foundation – its 1,500 ambulances – are deployed with unusual efficiency to the scene of terrorist attacks that tear through the country with devastating regularity.

Revered by many as a national hero, Mr Edhi created a charitable empire out of nothing. He masterminded Pakistan’s largest welfare organisation almost single-handedly, entirely with private donations.

Content with just two sets of clothes, he slept in a windowless room of white tiles adjoining the office of his charitable foundation. Sparsely equipped, it had just one bed, a sink and a hotplate.

“He never established a home for his own children,” his wife Bilquis, who manages the foundation’s homes for women and children, said in an interview this year.

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