Abdul Sattar Edhi Pakistan’s Greatest Activist and Philanthropist Dies at Age 88
July 9, 2016 by staff
Abdul Sattar Edhi Pakistan’s Greatest Activist and Philanthropist Dies at Age 88, Maulana Abdus Sattar Edhi – the greatest Pakistani social worker ever and an icon of social services in the country and abroad – passed away on Friday night due to respiratory and renal failure at the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT), at the age of 88, doctors and his family members said.
Maulana Edhi was placed on life support in SIUT on Friday afternoon due to breathing problems while he was having a routine dialysis at the kidney institute. Doctors and his family appealed for his health as his respiratory and renal systems were not working properly while his body was not responding to the new combinations of antibiotics.
“With profound sorrow and grief, we announce that the great Maulana Abdus Sattar Edhi has passed away during treatment at around 11:15pm at SIUT,” a spokesman for SIUT said on Friday night, followed by condolences from all quarters of life.
Soon after the news of the death broke, people started gathering at Edhi centers in Kharadar, University Road, Sohrab Goth and Super Highway where hundreds of people were seen crying endlessly on the death of their Messiah.
The Government of Pakistan announced a national day of mourning on the demise of Maulana Abdus Sattar Edhi while Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Balochistan governments announced three days of mourning in their respective provinces on the death of the renowned social worker.
Despite an offer by former president Asif Ali Zardari for treatment abroad, Maulana Edhi insisted on having treatment at home, particularly in a government hospital saying he did not want to go abroad for treatment and die in a foreign land.
While the entire nation was mourning his death, both the corneas of Maulana Abdus Sattar Edhi were removed by surgeons at SIUT as per his wishes. His family said Maulana had allowed to donate all his useable organs to any needy and deserving patient after his death.
Funeral prayers of Maulana Abdus Sattar Edhi will be offered at the National Stadium at 1:30pm after the Zuhr prayers, Faisal Edhi, the Maulana’s son, announced. He will be laid to rest in the Edhi village. He will be given a state funeral and guard of honour by the Sindh Police.
“Maulana Sahib had prepared his own grave in the Edhi Village on the Super Highway a few years back and had asked for burial at the place designated by him. He also wished to be buried in the same clothes he used to wear. Maulana sahib wanted to donate his body parts, but only his corneas can be donated as rest of the organs were not in a healthy condition,” Faisal Edhi added.
Earlier, doctors at SIUT where Maulana Edhi took his last breath, said Edhi was a diabetic and hypertensive for the last 10 years and dialysis had to be initiated in 2013 after his renal functions deteriorated slowly after urologists and nephrologists said kidney transplant was not possible due to his age and fragile health conditions.
“He (Maulana) Edhi was brought to SIUT on July 05 due to an infection and despite giving him combinations of new antibiotics and nutritional support, his condition deteriorated. Today, due to respiratory difficulty, he had been put on a ventilator with intensive monitoring of his condition in the ICU where he died,” a spokesman for SIUT said in a statement.
Condolences poured in from all over the country including from those at the helm of affairs over the demise of Abdul Sattar Edhi on Friday.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said in his condolence message: “May Allah give Edhi sahib the best place in paradise and make his journey to Ahkira easy. He was a real gem and asset for Pakistan. We have lost a great servant of humanity. He was the real manifestation of love for those who were socially vulnerable, impoverished, helpless and poor. This loss is irreparable for the people of Pakistan.”
Chief of the Army Staff General Raheel Sharif expressed his deepest sorrow and regret over the sad demise of Abdul Sattar Edhi who breathed his last a while ago. In his condolence message, the COAS said that the country was deprived of a great human being. “Abdul Sattar Edhi was a world renowned philanthropist, social activist, and a true humanitarian. May Allah bless the departed soul and give patience and strength to his family to bear this loss,” said the army chief.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, expressing his profound grief on the sad demise of Abdul Sattar Edhi, has announced three-day mourning on official basis all over the province.
The CM said that Abdul Sattar Edhi was great man who served the humanity irrespective of cast, creed, religion or sect. The people like him are born in centuries.
It was the greatness of Abdul Sattar Edhi that he served humanity right from cradle to death. His services for unwanted infants to orphans; from shelterless people to abandoned parents/elderly people, from transporting ailing and inured people to hospital and to preserving dead bodies in his morgues and then burying them are the manifestation of exemplary personality and character of Edhi sahib. “May God rest him in the eternal peace and grant courage to his family members and to all those who respect and love humanity to bear this irreparable loss,” he prayed.
The chief minister has directed Sindh chief secretary Siddique Memon to coordinate with Faisal Edhi and facilitate him whatever he needs for the burial of the great man. He directed the Rangers and police to provide fool proof security for his Namaz-Janaza.
During the three-day mourning, there would be Quran khwani in government offices all over Sindh.
Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan also expressed profound grief and sorrow over death of Edhi Sahib. In his condolence message to Edhi sahib’s son Faisal Edhi, the Sindh governor said that Edhi had given recognition to Pakistan while nobody could match the services rendered by the noble person for the cause of humanity. He said that everybody was saddened due to the demise of Edhi sahib.
He said that death of Edhi sahib was a personal loss of every Pakistani as he had always come to support of Pakistanis in every situation of t*rror*sm, disaster, or natural calamity.
Chairman Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expressed deep grief over the unfortunate demise of the legendary philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi and paid glowing tributes to him.
Honouring the legend, Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said: “Pakistan has been deprived of its greatest icon of humanity as Abdul Sattar Edhi departs for the eternal world today. He worked tirelessly for the underprivileged irrespective of their religion, caste, color and creed, which made him the epitome of humanity for the entire world.”
“People like him are born in centuries and his death has left millions orphaned today who will need fortitude and courage to come to terms with their grief over this irretrievable loss.
“We mourn the death our remarkable philanthropist, the great patriot, the selfless Abdul Sattar Edhi, who devoted his entire life to serve the nation. He has left us with a legacy that will continue to inspire our generations and shall always keep his memories alive in our hearts”, he said.
The PPP chairman has announced that Pakistan People’s Party will observe three-day mourning and instructed the party leaders to attend the funeral of Abdul Sattar Edhi.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also expressed condolences and sympathies to his family and prayed to Allah Almighty to shower His blessings upon them and grant them strength to continue with his humanitarian work.
Agencies add: Born to a family of traders in Bantwa area of Indian state of Gujarat, Maulana Edhi arrived in Pakistan in 1947. The state’s failure to help his ailing 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, Maulana 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 Maulana Edhi and his team created maternity wards, morgues, orphanages, shelters and homes for the elderly – all aimed at helping those who cannot help themselves.
Over the years, Edhi and his foundation have created over 300 welfare centers across Pakistan, including maternity wards, morgues, orphanages, shelters and homes for the elderly.
The foundation has also rescued over 20,000 abandoned infants, trained over 40,000 nurses and helped over 50,000 orphans. The foundation operates entirely on private donations, allowing it to remain independent and avoid criticisms of partisanship that often plague organizations in Pakistan.
The Edhi Foundation also runs one of the world’s largest ambulance services—with over 1,500 vehicles—and has helped in relief operations outside Pakistan as well. A symbol of Edhi Foundation, these ambulances are deployed with unusual efficiency to the scene of terrorist attacks that tear through the country with devastating regularity.
Revered by entire Pakistani nation as a national hero, Maulana Edhi created a charitable empire out of nothing. He masterminded Pakistan’s largest welfare organization 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 gas stove.
What he has established is something of a safety net for the poor and destitute, mobilising the nation to donate and help take action – filling a gap left by a lack of welfare state.
Maulana Edhi has been nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize, and appeared on the list again this year – put there by Malala Yousafzai, Pakistan’s teenage Nobel laureate.
He was also the recipient of the Lenin Peace Prize and the Balzan Prize. In 1989, the Pakistani government conferred upon him the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, one of the country’s highest civilian awards.
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