Late Abdul Sattar Edhi’s son Faisal Edhi, Director General Rangers Major General Bilal Akbar, top officials of the Armed Forces and the paramilitary force Rangers, distinguished people from all walks of life and other people were present at Edhi Village during his burial in a grave that he had dug 25 years ago for him.
The funeral prayers of renowned social worker Abdul Sattar Edhi offered at Karachi’s National Stadium attended by thousands of mourners including the top politicians and officers of the armed forces.
Large number of people reached Karachi’s National Stadium to attend the funeral prayers of renowned philanthropist and humanitarian who passed away at the age of 88 on Friday evening.
The chiefs of all three armed forces had reached National Stadium for the funeral prayers. This includes Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, Chief of the Air Staff Marshal Sohail Aman, and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah.
A military guard of honour and gun salute was presented at the funeral. Three chiefs of the armed forces also saluted the renowned social worker at National Stadium.
Maulana Ahmad Khan Niazi led the funeral prayers of Abdul Sattar Edhi. The funeral prayers were supposed to be offered by Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman of the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee who recused himself as he was currently in Abottabad and could not be present on the occasion.
The mortal remains of Abdul Sattar Edhi were taken to Edhi Village at Super Highway where he was laid to rest. Earlier, the coffin was taken from his Meethadar residence to the National Stadium for the funeral prayers.
The relatives and staff at the Edhi Centre appeared inconsolable as his coffin draped in the flag of Pakistan left his humble abode for the last time. As the remains were being taken from his house, people showered rose petals over his coffin to express their gratitude to the great man for his services.
Stringent security measures were taken to ensure security of the people who have arrived at National Stadium to attend the last rites of the renowned social worker. Parking spots were set up at Expo Centre, China Ground and Sports Complex for the people who will attend the funeral of late Abdul Sattar Edhi.
Among the dignitaries present at the funeral prayers were President Mamnoon Hussain, Chairman Senate Raza Rabbani, Governor Sindh Dr. Ishratul Ebad, Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah, and Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif.
Also present were Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM)’s leader Farooq Sattar and Khawaja Izhar-ul-Hassan, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI)’s Imran Ismail, Arif Alvi and Asad Umar, Awami National Party (ANP)’s Shahi Syed, Jamaat-e-Islami’s Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman, and Waseem Aftab and Sagheer Ahmad of Pak Sarzameen Party(PSP), and leaders of different political parties were also present.
The provincial governments of Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have announced three-day mourning over the demise of the renowned philanthropist. Many politicians in KP paid tributes to the services of Edhi which includes ANP’s Bashir Bilour and Shaukat Yusufzai of the PTI. The national flag will fly on half-mast and all official engagements and events have been postponed.
According to Faisal Edhi, the social worker had prepared his will wherein he wished to donate his body organs post his death to the needy. His eyes have been donated while other organs could not be given away due to his poor health. He said that Edhi would also be buried in his own clothes.
On Friday, Edhi was shifted to the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) after he developed respiratory problems. He was then moved to Intensive Care Unit of the hospital. The SIUT officials had later confirmed that Abdul Sattar Edhi has been placed on ventilator until he breathed his last.
Well-known surgeon Adeeb-ul-Hasan Rizvi was heading the team of doctors treating Abdul Sattar Edhi. The doctors had already declared that next 6-8 hours were very crucial for his life.
Social media quickly lit up in honour of the man whose work uplifting the nation’s destitute and orphans cemented his place in the hearts of our nation.
Frail and weak in his later years, Edhi appointed his son Faisal as managing trustee of his charity in early 2016. Motivated by a spiritual quest for justice, over the years Edhi and his team created maternity wards, morgues, orphanages, shelters, and homes for the elderly — all aimed at helping those in society who cannot help themselves and picking up where limited government-run services fell short.
Prime Minister, Army Chief offer condolences
Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif said Pakistan has lost one of its most respected figures. The whole world is mourning his demise, he said in a statement issued by ISPR.
He prayed to the almighty Allah to rest the departed soul in eternal peace and grant patience to his family to bear this irreparable loss. He said Edhi was the figure who had unflinching sympathy for humanity.
In a separate statement, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has offered condolences on the death of Abdul Sattar Edhi. He said the space left after the demise of Mr. Edhi cannot be filled.
Day of mourning announced
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced one-day mourning countrywide and declared Edhi’s demise as national tragedy. He also announced to award the highest civilian award Nishan-e-Imtiaz to the revered figure for his outstanding services to the country.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah has declared 3-day mourning on death of Abdul Sattar Edhi. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has also announced 3-day mourning on the demise of renowned social worker.
Edhi has been nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize and appeared on the list again this year.
Edhi was born to a family of Muslim traders in Gujarat in British India and migrated to Pakistan after its creation in 1947. “He thought that this new Muslim nation would be a social welfare state,” his son Faisal said in a recent interview. But, when they got to Pakistan, he found “it was the exact opposite”.
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, 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 Edhi and his team have created maternity wards, morgues, orphanages, shelters, and homes for the elderly aimed at helping those in society who cannot help themselves.
He was also mentioned in the Guinness Book of world records for the largest fleet of ambulances, offering help to poor communities failed by inadequate public health and welfare services.These 1500 ambulances are the most prominent symbols of the foundation deployed to the scene in case of an emergency or extremist attack.
The foundation’s adoption service sees unwanted children — many of them girls — left in cradles placed in front of every centre, where they can be safely cared for.
Mr Edhi discovered that many women were killing their babies at birth often because they were born outside marriage. One newborn child was stoned to death outside a mosque on the orders of religious leaders. Edhi was furious and responded: “Who can declare an infant guilty when there is no concept of punishing the innocent?”
He placed a little cradle outside every Edhi centre, beneath a placard saying: “Do not commit another sin: leave your baby in our care.” Edhi has so far saved 35,000 babies and and also found families to cherish them.
Edhi‘s response has been hard work and an obstinate asceticism, a bid to leave his enemies with no ammunition.
Abdul Sattar Edhi received several prestigious awards in his lifelong service of mankind. Edhi received the 1986 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service in Manila, Philippines also known as the Asian Noble. He was also the recipient of the Lenin Peace Prize and the Balzan Prize in Italy.
In 2006, Institute of Business Administration Pakistan (IBA) conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Social Service Management for his services. In September 2010, Edhi was also awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Bedfordshire. In 1989, he received the Nishan-e-Imtiaz from the Government of Pakistan.
The annual budget of 1.5 billion rupees ($15 million), mainly from donations by middle- and working-class Pakistanis, continues to grow, according to Faisal. The Edhi foundation was also at the forefront of the response last year when a devastating heatwave struck Karachi last year.
He built up his charity solely through donations focusing on addicts, battered women, orphans and the disabled. Renowned for an ascetic lifestyle and recognized by his long white beard and traditional black cap, Edhi was a hero to the poor but infuriated some religious leaders for his refusal to give preferential treatment to Muslims above minorities.
During his last days and as his condition worsened, he refused offers to get medical treatment from abroad. Edhi leaves behind his wife Bilquis and six children.