Abdul Sattar Edhi founded the largest and most effective network of philanthropic organization in South Asia, but refused to take funds from any foreign funded NGO or his own government. He was the very antithesis of our leadership in the simplicity of his lifestyle. While he handled millions, he readily took to the streets with a bowl to raise funds, and people gave generously given his reputation. He helped those forsaken by society and the state: women, children, handicapped, addicts, deranged and unemployed.
In a world convulsed and destabilized by successive wars unleashed by the military-industrial complex on one pretext or the other (read the Chilcot Report), Edhi sahib showed how to heal rather than destroy lives. In the killing fields of Karachi where the armed wings of political parties ran extortion and torture cells, his organization was the beacon of hope, peace and love. The Edhi centre’s doors were open to all in need of help and succor, and his ambulances were always waiting when the gunfire stopped.
His humanity did not recognize any divisions, religious, ethnic or political, and so not surprisingly, he is being mourned across the length and breadth of the country. Like the founder of this country, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Edhi’s family hailed from Gujrat, and like him, worked selflessly to give his people a better future.
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