KARACHI: The third death anniversary of renowned philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi is being observed on Monday (today).
Edhi, who built a network of humanitarian centers across the country to provide life-saving services to the people, died on July 8, 2016 at the age of 89.
He was born to a family of Muslim traders in Gujarat in British India and migrated to Pakistan after its creation in 1947. He began his humanitarian work soon after migration.
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 which spurred him onto philanthropy.
In the sticky streets in the heart of Karachi, Edhi, full of idealism and hope, opened his first clinic in 1951.
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.
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?”
Read more: SBP issues Rs. 50 coin in honour of Edhi
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.
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.
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