Islamabad: Celebrated Pakistani philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi, founder of non-profit Edhi Foundation that provided succour to millions of poor and destitute over the years, has died at a hospital in Karachi. He was 88.
Officials and well-wishers attend the funeral ceremony of Abdul Sattar Edhi in Karachi. File pic
The Edhi Foundation also looked after an Indian hearing- and speech-impaired girl, Geeta, for over a decade, before she was returned to India in October last year.
Edhi, who passed away at the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation in Karachi of kidney failure, high blood pressure and diabetes on Friday night, was given a state funeral at the National Stadium on Saturday.
The funeral prayers in Karachi were attended by top military and political leaders, including President Mamnoon Hussain, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, amid tight security. There was a guard of honour for Edhi before the funeral prayers began.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced a state funeral and a day of national mourning in honour of Edhi, who was known as Pakistan’s Mother Teresa.
“We have lost a great servant of humanity,” Sharif said in a statement. “He was the real manifestation of love for those who were socially vulnerable, impoverished, helpless and poor. This loss is irreparable for the people of Pakistan.”
Edhi’s son Qutab Meer could not attend the funeral as he is abroad. Edhi’s body was laid to rest in Edhi village with the national flag wrapped around his coffin and accorded a police guard of honour. Edhi was laid to rest in a grave that he had himself dug, in the clothes he was wearing at the time of his death, as per his wish.
Edhi was born to a family of traders in what was then the Bombay Presidency in undivided India on January 1, 1924, and arrived in Pakistan in 1947.