Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Saturday that legendary philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi was not only an asset for this country but for the whole humanity because of his selfless work.
“Edhi dedicated his life for the welfare of the poor irrespective of their caste, class and creed and that’s what makes him an asset for the whole universe,” Sharif said in a statement on the first death anniversary of the great humanist.
The premier said in order to pay tribute to Edhi there could be no better way than to adopt his humanist values.
“On his death anniversary we can pay him homage by embracing the humanist and welfare values he worked for throughout his life,” the prime minister said.
Leading humanitarian and the most endearing person in the country Edhi passed away at the age of 88 last year on July 8. 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.
Motivated by a spiritual quest for justice, over the years Edhi and his team created maternity wards, morgues, orphanages, shelters, and homes for the elderly, picking up where limited government-run services fell short.
His ethos of humanitarianism transcended religious and ethnic lines, but made him the target of many ferocious smear campaigns.
Hardliners branded him an infidel and his work un-Islamic. His response was hard work and an obstinate asceticism, a bid to leave his enemies with no ammunition.
He slept in a windowless room adjoining the office of his foundation furnished with just a bed, a sink and a hotplate.
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 towards philanthropy.
In the sticky streets in the heart of Karachi, Edhi, full of idealism and hope, opened his first clinic in 1951.
Abandoned children and the elderly, battered women, the disabled, drug addicts; Edhi’s foundation now houses some 5,700 people in 17 shelters across the country.
He was so widely respected that armed groups and robbers were known to spare his ambulances.