KARACHI: Leading humanitarian and the most endearing person in the country Abdul Sattar Edhi passed away at the age of 92 in the late hours of Friday. Edhi had been suffering from kidney failure since 2013 and was on dialysis. According to his son, he could not undergo kidney transplantation due to his advancing years.
“Abbu is no more. He has gone back to his Creator,” said Edhi’s eldest son, Faisal Edhi, as he broke the news of his death to broadcast news media. Earlier in the day, Faisal had announced that Edhi has been placed on a ventilator due to his deteriorating condition.
“Edhi Sahib has been placed on a ventilator. He suffers from hypertension, is on dialysis, there is less food intake coupled with general weakness that he is currently suffering from,” he had said in an earlier media briefing.
According to Dr Abhay – a medical officer at the ICU ward of the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) – Edhi passed away at around 11pm. He is survived by his wife Bilquis Edhi and four children – two daughters and two sons.
Later in a statement, the SIUT said Edhi was hospitalised on July 5 due to an infection. “But unfortunately due to a combination of new antibiotics and nutritional support his condition worsened,” the statement said.
The news of Edhi’s death spread like a wild fire and mourners from all walks of life started to gather at the hospital and his residence while social media was flooded by a torrent of condolence messages.
In view of the great contributions for the service of humanity, the federal government announced one-day mourning. Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan governments also expressed their deep sense of grief and announced three days of mourning. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also announced that Edhi would be awarded Nishan-e-Imtiaz posthumously.
According to officials, Edhi’s ghusal will be carried out at the Edhi Centre, Sohrab Goth and his funeral prayers will be held at National Stadium after Zuhr prayers on Saturday (today). Later, he will be laid to rest at Edhi Village graveyard with full honours.
Abdul Sattar Edhi had pledged to donate his body organs. However, due to his long illness, his son has promised to donate only his eyes to any deserving person.
Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah expressed his profound grief on the demise of Edhi and directed Chief Secretary Siddique Memon to coordinate with Faisal Edhi and facilitate him in his burial. He also directed Rangers and police to provide fool proof security at his funeral prayers. During the three day mourning, Quran Khawani will be held in government offices all over Sindh.
Last month, the PPP Co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari had offered to airlift Edhi on a special plane to any foreign destination for medical treatment. However, the social worker has declined the offer, saying that he would get medical treatment at medical facilities in Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2016.