By Khurram Zia Khan
Some people possess unique persona, they have something majestic in them which attracts others. The great humanitarian, Abdul Sattar Edhi was also one such person who the entire nation looked up to, particularly in the time of crisis.
From early age, virtue of kind-heartedness was inculcated in Abdul Sattar Edhi sahib and it is that sense of sympathy that prompted Edhi sahib to launch a donation campaign to arrange for patients of flu endemic that hit Karachi severely in 1957. In those days, when everyone else was only concerned about themselves and their immediate families, this kind hearted soul thought about the overall wellbeing of society. It is the strong character traits of Edhi sahib which prompted pubic to give their donations wholeheartedly and Edhi Sahib collected a sum of approximately Rs. 200,000 in his initial drive. From this amount, Edhi sahib bought a room where patients were treated and also bought an ambulance. It is his vision, hard work and dedication that from a humble beginning of one ambulance, he was able to carve out world’s largest fleet of ambulances consisting of 1800 ambulances, 2 aircrafts and a ship.
In a media interview, Edhi sahib revealed that in the early years, he himself took patients to hospitals in his ambulance without caring if it is day or night. Abdul Sattar Edhi sahib is the founder of philanthropic work in Pakistan. He launched his philanthropic work in an era when many did not even know the meaning of this word.
Edhi sahib’s love for children is also unmatchable and it is this love for children that prompted him to set up an orphanage and with his vision and hard work, he along with his wife Bilquis Edhi were able to make this largest orphanage in the country, where 20,000 children are housed. Edhi Foundation gives children for adoption to families and for this purpose they have a mechanism in place, whereby no child is given to any family without proper investigation as under the guidance of Edhi sahib and Bilquis Edhi, it is mandatory for the Foundation to ensure that a family intending to take a child for adoption is serious about adoption and is fully capable of giving him food, education and other necessities of life.
Regardless of his massive prominence and the huge sums of money that passed through his hands, Edhi sahib had a modest lifestyle. He and his family lived in a two room apartment near the Foundation’s headquarters. Neither Edhi nor Bilquis received any salary. They lived on the income from government securities that Edhi sahib bought many years ago to take care of their personal needs for the rest of their lives, thereby freeing them to focus completely on their mission of serving humanity.
Edhi Sahib trusted that people in Pakistan are capable of standing beside him and supporting him in his work. It is because of this trust in his countrymen that Edhi sahib on numerous occasions declined donation offers made by international organizations.
This city of Karachi had seen laborers handing over their whole day earnings to Edhi sahib and ladies stepping out of their cars and donating their jewelry with aplomb to the cause of Edhi sahib.
The vision, dedication and hard work of Edhi sahib made Edhi Foundation world’s largest volunteer network.
This servant of humanity left this world for eternal abode last year leaving behind his legacy but unfortunately we the people of Pakistan instead of standing beside and supporting the heritage left behind by Edhi sahib in the form of his Foundation started looking elsewhere for giving our donations thereby causing a decline in donation collected by Edhi foundation.
At the moment, without Edhi sahib’s enlightened leadership, the Edhi Foundation is looking forward to even larger than ever before public supportin order to run the foundation’s operations smoothly.
Edhi foundation is a unique institution and in my view is a one of its kind miracle. It is the responsibility of each and every citizen of Pakistan irrespective of their cast, creed and religion to come forward and help Edhi sahib’s wife Bilquis Edhi and their son Faisal Edhi to run the operations of Edhi Foundation without any stutter. Any loss caused to Edhi foundation or any of its unit will not just be the loss of Foundation but it will be a loss of every citizen and in this scenario, I hope people will realize their responsibility and continue to give their Zakat and donation generously to Edhi Foundation.
The 88 years old heart of Edhi sahib was so much inclined for the well-being of his countryman that before his death, he also donated his eyes to a blind man of this nation. Edhi sahib is not with us but someone is seeing the world with his eyes.
We have many who distort society but very rarely have people like Edhi sahib who want to unite people under one umbrella that is the umbrella of humanity. Hope we as nation think deeply about the love Edhi sahib had for his countrymen and play our due role for the betterment of Edhi Foundation for decades to come.
People will lose their belief in humanity if this nation fails to carry forward Edhi sahib’s mission in his absence.