Abdul Sattar Edhi was a prominent Pakistani ascetic, humanitarian, philanthropist, social activist and a saint. He was born in Bantva Gujrat in British India on January 1st, 1928. His mother was paralyzed when he was 11 and died when he was 19, that shock gave him a huge lesson and able to serve the community at his best.
Migrated In 1947 from India to Pakistan and started as a pedlar and later continued in a wholesale market I Karachi as commission sales person. Over the period of time, he managed to open a free dispensary with the intention of serving a community. He got married in 1965 to Bilquis who was the nurse and worked at his dispensary. The family comprises of two sons and two daughters. His wife runs free maternity at his trust in headquarter Karachi and used to accept adaptation, illegitimate and abandoned babies.
Charity: His trust is known as the world’s largest ambulance service and operates free orphanages, clinics, women’s shelter, old people homes, the rehab center for drug addicts and mentally ill people. Not only in Pakistan but he managed to run operations beyond his territory in Africa, Middle east and the USA.
Edhi Foundation was established with the intention of serving humanity; he managed to lay down a foundation of ‘EDHI’. The organization primarily facilitates sufferers who are in need of ambulances, mental health institutions, adaptation centers, mortuaries, handicapped, shelters for low privileged people, battered women and patients with various diseases. It is now the largest social welfare network in Pakistan.
Vision: With the sole objective to serve humanity in the best possible way he thought of chains of social welfare centers. He was intentionally so strong that even with fewer resources he prevail his dedication and took streets to gather funds which later honored him more than anyone can even imagine. No religion is higher than humanity, Edhi believed so.
Dedication: They life style he had spent can’t be imagined by an ordinary citizen. One cannot give up luxuries of life or live hand to mouth just for the sake of his nation which he practically did. He never drove the car, never had more than two sets of clothes ( Shalwar Qameez), never had his own private home. It’s easy to claim ‘I AM EDHI’ but no one can really have the lifestyle he had. What only we can do is to prolong his vision of serving humanity which I believe if done slightly it would be more than enough. It’s nearly impossible to give up your basic necessities for which we struggle to achieve for half of our life but this man did it incredibly. He has been departed like true legends and his ideology would surely prevail till the end. Beside him, Quaid e Azam and Zia ul Haq has been awarded the state funeral in Pakistan and indeed he deserves that.
· Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service (1986)
· Lenin Peace Prize (1988)
· Paul Harris Fellow from Rotatory International Foundation, (1993)
· Largest Voluntary Ambulance Organization of the World – Guinness Book of World Records (2000)
· Hamdan Award for volunteers in Humanitarian Medical Services (2000) UAE
· International Balzan Prize (2000) for Humanity, Peace and Brotherhood, Italy
· Honorary Doctorate degree from the Institute of Business Administration Karachi (2006).
· UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize (2009)
· Ahmadiyya Muslim Peace Prize (2010)
· Silver Jubilee Shield by College of Physicians and Surgeons, Pakistan, (1962–1987)
· The Social Worker of Sub-Continent by Government of Sind, Pakistan, (1989)
· Nishan-e-Imtiaz, civil decoration from Government of Pakistan (1989)
· Recognition of meritorious services to oppressed humanity during the eighties by Ministry
· Health and Social Welfare, Government of Pakistan, (1989)
· Pakistan Civic Award from the Pakistan Civic Society (1992)
· Shield of Honor by Pakistan Army (E & C)
· Khidmat Award by Pakistan Academy of Medical Sciences
· Human Rights Award by Pakistan Human Rights Society
** Writer is a freelancer and covers diverse issues in different perspective