I am very optimistic about Pakistan-US ties because of the strong bond between the people, despite disagreements on various issues between the two countries. It is people like Abdul Sattar Edhi and his work for humanity that is a source of inspiration for both Pakistanis and Americans.
These were the words of US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter who visited the Bilquis Edhi home in Clifton on Thursday with his wife Dr Marilyn Wyatt and US Consul General William Martin.
When they first went inside the nursery section of the Edhi Shelter Home for 275 girls, the children seemed overwhelmed by the presence of so many “goras” in the humble surroundings. But when the diplomatic couple distributed Cadbury Milk bars among the children, giggles started to fill the room. “What Mr Edhi is doing especially for these female children is remarkable,” remarked Munter.
In the arts and crafts section, it was the children’s turn to reciprocate. They gave the ambassador a simple but heartfelt gift of one of their drawings. “Thank you so much for this,” he replied. “I will put this in my office.” And he was not the only one to be showered with such affection - in the crafts and skills section where half a dozen girls were learning henna art, one girl offered to colour Dr Watt’s hand in an intricate floral pattern. “This is so lovely!” she cried. “I am impressed.”
Later on, Edhi told Ambassador Munter about his visit to Waziristan and his encounter with the Taliban who he had tried to convert. “You are a very brave man,” replied the ambassador, “because of your work, you should not be scared of anyone.”
Taking advantage of the visit, Edhi discussed the problems his staff faced when it came to acquiring visas for international humanitarian work. He was assured that the ambassador would personally assist if called upon.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2011.
(Read: "Pre-departure orientation: 100 Pakistani students selected under UGRAD programme")
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