|Biographical detail : ||An extra-ordinary philanthropic worker.
Edhi buried hundred and thousand unclaimed corpses in Pakistan. Edhi began work as a street hawker, set up a small clinic in 1951 in Karachi and since then he networked across the length and breadth of Pakistan and extended his noble services internationally.
The charity he and his wife, Bilquis Edhi, nicknamed “Mother of Pakistan”, operated reported to have rescued more than 16,700 unwanted babies since 1952, and today takes in an average of 450 a year, in the teaming port city, Karachi, of some 20 million people. Pakistani families who cannot have children adopt many and the rest are brought up in Edhi Foundation’s network of 17 orphanages and taught trades to the boys and girls homemaking.
Edhi Foundation, one of the world’s biggest voluntary ambulance services, is funded entirely by donations and rejects aid from the government and from international organisations. The group operates 1,800 ambulances and 300 medical centres, and has branched out into drug rehabilitation centres, orphanages and homes for the mentally ill. It employs over 3,500 staff and tens of thousands of volunteers across Pakistan. The foundation has also staged relief efforts outside Pakistan, such as Lebanon and Gaza.
Edhi belonged to a mercantile community known as the Memons: born at Bantva in Gujarat, India, and migrated to Pakistan when India was partitioned in 1947. The priority his mother gave to social work laid the foundation of his future. Driven by her example and experience, a passion to change the world was born; a burning desire to care for humanity. He established Edhi Foundation in 1978.
In 1986 Edhi was awarded the prestigious Magasaysay in Philippines and USSR Peace Prize, in 1989 Nishan-e-Imtiaz in Pakistan and in 2000 Rome’s prestigious Balzan Prize for Humanity, Peace and Brotherhood among peoples.
Abdul Sattar Edhi’s work was celebrated in the film ‘These Birds Walk’ in 2013.
Edhi doctrine has been an orderly, liberal and collective social welfare programme, based on self-help, to transform the present inequitable system in Pakistan. His strong will power and his believe in Huquq-ul-Ibaad or humanitarianism turned Edhi into the world’s extra-ordinary person.
He did not see why work to alleviate suffering should be restricted to Pakistan. In 2005 the Edhi Foundation donated $100,000 to the victims of Hurricane Katrina in the US.
His determination to ignore considerations of creed, cast or sect earned him the hatred of some on the country’s religious right, who accused him of being an atheist. But the public revered Abdul Sattar Edhi for his life-long commitment to humanity.
“My religion is serving humanity and I believe that all religions of the world have their basis in humanity,” Abdul Sattar Edhi reported to have remarked.