I’ve been to Gaza & Iraq but am being shut out of Lyari: Edhi

Published: May 4, 2012
Edhi said he was angry he had been stopped from doing work in Lyari during the operation. He was speaking at the Karachi Press Club. PHOTO: IRFAN ALI /EXPRESS

Edhi said he was angry he had been stopped from doing work in Lyari during the operation. He was speaking at the Karachi Press Club. PHOTO: IRFAN ALI /EXPRESS

KARACHI: A fuming Abdul Sattar Edhi, only Pakistan’s most famous social worker, held a press conference against policemen on Thursday who were preventing him from reaching out to the people of Lyari.

“I was given protection in Gaza and Iraq but have been banned from serving my own people in my own back yard,” he told journalists at the Karachi Press Club, a venue that would guarantee him maximum publicity. “I have visited every part of Pakistan where even dacoits have helped me but the government seems unhappy with my work.”

Edhi lives in Kharadar which is a stone’s throw from Lyari. “I am under [virtual] house arrest and police have been deployed outside my house. I have been restricted from going outside,” he said. “I demand the government lift the ban and allow me to serve the people who have been in a miserable condition for the last seven days.”

Lyari has been in a lockdown for a week when a police operation was launched to ostensibly flush out criminals. But it became impossible for people to leave and many families were cut off because of the fierce exchange of gunfire.

For his part, Edhi claimed that there were no dacoits or gangsters in Lyari. He stressed that the common man was free to move around in the area.

Edhi was backed by Uzma Noorani and Amarnath Motumal of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Dr Idrees Edhi of the Pakistan Medical Association among others. “Were the people of Lyari taken into confidence before the operation? Did the police achieve its target? Were human rights not violated? The government has turned Lyari into a war zone,” alleged Noorani.

Dr Edhi said that women, children and the elderly were under immense stress. “Diseases will spread as sanitary workers have not been visiting Lyari since the start of the operation,” he said. “There has been no power, water and medicine in the area and people are not allowed to visit hospitals. The criminals should be punished and detained but not at the cost of women, children.”

It was pointed out during the press conference that only three Union Councils (UC) were directly affected – UC 9’s Singo Lane, UC 10’s Chakiwara and Kalakot, and UC 11’s Nawa Lane, Kumharwada and Bakra Piri. The total population of these three UCs is between 200,000 to 250,000.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (19)

  • PakPunjabi
    May 4, 2012 - 7:11AM

    Asif Zardari and his PPP are enemies of Pakistan! Abdul Sattar Edhi is a pious and respected man and every word he says is true…


  • aliza awais
    May 4, 2012 - 8:13AM

    It Happens only in Pakistan….


  • Saad Ahmad
    May 4, 2012 - 8:54AM

    It is brave of ET to give coverage to Edhi.None of the news channels gave this press conference any coverage.Edhi wants to help out the people of lyari and for that he has been put under house arrest and he faces harassment.


  • Humanity
    May 4, 2012 - 9:30AM

    Police and government should tackle the law and order to prevent humanitarian crisis instead of earning God’s wrath for making a place of worship look less like a mosque.


  • May 4, 2012 - 9:43AM

    Country’s top social worker under house arrest, with another war zone opened up in a major city. Just miserable…


  • Arzoo
    May 4, 2012 - 11:22AM

    Not that I agree with the assertion, but it would have been better reporting if ET Correspondent would have mentioned that Police states that Edhi’s drivers are mostly Baloch and in cahoots with the gangsters. We may not agree with what Police believes, but readers will at least get a balanced picture and the story from the other side. Remember the adage: “There is always another side to a story.” And that is the reason, the Police are allowing Chippa Ambulances and other Charities in Lyari but are stopping Edhi’s workers.


  • curious
    May 4, 2012 - 1:02PM

    Obvious people in power are jealous of the sincerity of the living legend that is Edhi.


  • Ashar
    May 4, 2012 - 1:07PM

    I believe that the another side of Edhi Story would be stunning for all Pakistani, but there seems some time for it to come out.


  • KM
    May 4, 2012 - 2:13PM

    Janab Edhi Sahib is an inspiration to every Pakistani. He’s done such gr8 work….may Allah swt reward him for his good deeds – Ameen!

    our govt ….it’s because of their ignorance and negligence that Pakistan has fallen into this stateRecommend

  • shadi
    May 4, 2012 - 2:13PM

    @ Arzoo let me tell you “the other side of the story” Zardari wants PAC and anyone else who may oppose his son in the next election wiped out from Karachi and is willing to fall to whole new lows to do that. Thats the bitter truth.


  • major-ji
    May 4, 2012 - 2:52PM

    Sounds ridiculous. He is same Edhi active not only all over Pakistan but in many countries. Never ever such accusation came on his drivers. In Pakistan police is free to make accusations against any one. On the pretext of search, by putting their hands in the pocket of any innocent, Pakistan Police has the competence to find “PURRI” of any forbidden drug including Heroin. This is only verbal accusation and no problem for police. One wonders where we are heading. Now even the most valued and respected social worker has also been targeted. It looks another march forward to defame Pakistan.

    PS Please delete comment sent earlier as was incomplete.


  • May 4, 2012 - 3:46PM

    I have not met a single person in my life who considers Edhi any less than a saint. Few people have served this country more than him, and now he is under house arrest. Pathetic. Ideally, we should all go outside his house and stage a large peaceful protest. But that won’t happen; it’s Pakistan after all.


  • BADurrani
    May 4, 2012 - 4:29PM

    Same drivers that were murdered as they tried to evacuate injured people during the May 12 Massacre. Pakistan is truly screwed the day we start questioning the intentions of organizations like that of Edhi sahib.


  • ali
    May 4, 2012 - 5:43PM

    But the Dear Mr President wants to cleans out the area where he wants his son to go next. No wonder no human being as pure as Edhi is allowed there.


  • F K
    May 4, 2012 - 7:16PM

    I have a lot of respect for Abdul Sattar Edhi, easily more than any other Pakistani, but I don’t understand his statement that there are no gangsters in Lyari. Even gangsters don’t normally have grenades and rocket launchers. Why would any “civilian” have these weapons. Why would civilians have weapons that can destroy an armored personnel carrier. He should be allowed in and humanitarian relief should be extended to the people of the area but criminals must be taken out.


  • Honesty Center
    May 4, 2012 - 10:18PM

    What do you expect from Thugs & gangster.
    They are covering Up in true sense on all account
    Now they have hijacked everything including true noble social workers too.

    Good Bless Lyari ResidentsRecommend

  • Usman
    May 4, 2012 - 11:18PM

    Charity doesn’t make a difference, politics does.


  • sindhi
    May 5, 2012 - 9:42AM

    unfortunately edhi only works for urdu speaking people. his bias towards them has made his once unifying personality unwanted to sindhis and balochis. Recommend

  • BADurrani
    May 5, 2012 - 11:16AM

    @sindhi: what world do you live in my friend? Edhi sahib is constantly targeted by the terrorists of a certain party because he doesn’t tow the line. During the May 12th massacre is was Edhi ambulance drivers who hail from all across Pakistan who risked and gave their lives to save injured people.Recommend

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