The Living Saint – Abdul Sattar Edhi
By Ghazala M. Khan
Imagine you are driving and suddenly you get off the track and get an accident, there is no human being around and you are stuck inside the car, no one at your disposal. After like half an hour, you hear a vehicle coming your way, then a person comes, lifts you up and takes you to the hospital, hence you are saved. The person is no god, but a savior, absolutely. This person saves around a hundred lives every day because he patrols the city round the clock to check on people who might need help. The person is the founder and head of the Edhi Foundation: Abdul Sattar Edhi.
Edhi foundation comprises of the biggest ambulance service in the world, beside many orphanages which shelter more than 20,000 children and infant babies, homes for abandoned women and children, clinics for mentally ill and drug addicts where they are treated as selflessly as possible. Edhi houses are open for people belonging to any religion, sect, cast, creed and color. His ambulances tour the city uninterrupted to see if anyone needs to be taken to the hospital. Edhi also owns many nurse homes which not only promote health and well-being but also take a step forward towards working women and women empowerment in the male dominating society. There are a hundreds of women working in Edhi Foundation and Edhi himself considers women equal to men in every walk of life. His wife Bilquis Edhi is a philanthropist and a trained nurse herself who has been looking after Edhi Foundation even before their marriage in 1965. Abdul Sattar Edhi was born in Bantva Gujrat, India, his family moved to Pakistan after the partition. Since he was a teenagers, he has been helping people in emergencies.
Edhi has saved many lives; saving infants from dying of cold and hunger, preventing many children from getting into social evils like child trafficking, child labor etc. many women take refuge in Edhi Foundation and transform their lives, so do the drug addicts who come in with their last ray of hope fading and go back to life with a heart full of enthusiasm and positive energy. Keeping in view his selfless charity work for the people of Pakistan, he has been awarded Pakistan’s highest civilian award Nishana-e-Imtiaz. He has also been awarded with Lenin Peace Prize, Ramon Magsaysay Award, International Balzan Prize, Peace Prize from USSR and numerous other national and international awards.
He is the most selfless person, who owns 2 pairs of cloths, lives in a two-bedroom apartment above the Edhi Foundation headquarters in Karachi. He takes round of the city himself in one the ambulances and regularly plays with the children in his orphanage. No doubt he has gone a step ahead in the completion of Quaid’s Pakistan. Peter Oborne, a reporter of The Telegraph writes in his article “Until meeting the Pakistani social worker Abdul Sattar Edhi, I had never met a saint. Within a few moments of shaking hands, I knew I was in the presence of moral and spiritual greatness.”
- Peter Oborne, The Telegraph, april 10, 2011