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Edhi – Pakistan’s most loved person laid to rest with state honour

Edhi – Pakistan’s most loved person laid to rest with state honour

President Mamnoon Hussain, COAS Raheel Sharif, Chief of Naval Staff, Air Chief, Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif attended funeral prayers of Edhi

KARACHI — Funeral prayer of Pakistan’s most loved person and renowned philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi was offered with state honor at National Stadium Karachi, after which he was laid to rest in Edhi Village in a grave that he prepared for himself around 25 years ago.

President Mamnoon Hussain, COAS Raheel Sharif, Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zakaullah, DG ISPR General Asim Saleem Bajwa, Chief Minister of Punjab Shehbaz Sharif, Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Member of National Assembly (MNA) Asad Umer, Sindh Governor Ishratul Ebad, Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) Dr Farooq Sattar, Rangers (Sindh) Director General Major General Bilal Akbar and scores of others were present in the stadium.

Edhi’s coffin, wrapped in the green national flag and covered with pink rose petals, was carried on a military jeep into the national stadium in Karachi.

Soldiers carry the coffin of philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi at the National Stadium at his funeral in Karachi, July 9, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

Soldiers carry the coffin of philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi at the National Stadium at his funeral in Karachi, July 9, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

He was given guard of honour and gun salute by Pakistan Army before funeral prayers began. His funeral prayers were led by Maulana Ahmed Khan Niazi. Over 2000 policemen guarded the venue. Edhi’s family requested authorities to not block roads for the funeral.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced a state funeral and day of national mourning in honour of the man who owned just two sets of clothes, but whose work uplifting the nation destitute and orphans cemented his place in the hearts of Pakistan’s masses. PM also announced posthumous Nishan-e-Imtiaz for Abdul Sattar Edhi. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Sindh governments have announced three days of mourning each.

The last time Pakistan held a state funeral was for military dictator General Zia ul-Haq in 1988.

Edhi has been nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize, and appears on the list again this year — put there by Malala Yousafzai, Pakistan’s teenage Nobel laureate.

General Raheel Sharif and Edhi’s son Faisal saluted the coffin as it was carried by soldiers.

The federal and provincial governments expressed grief and announced three days of mourning.

The prime minister announced Edhi would be awarded Nishan-e-Imtiaz posthumously.

President Mamnoon Hussain, Army chief General Raheel Sharif and others offer funeral prayers of Abdul Sattar Edhi at National Stadium, Karachi on July 9, 2016. Photo: INP

President Mamnoon Hussain, Army chief General Raheel Sharif and others offer funeral prayers of Abdul Sattar Edhi at National Stadium, Karachi on July 9, 2016. Photo: INP

Edhi’s story

Motivated by a spiritual quest for justice, over the years Edhi and his team created maternity wards, morgues, orphanages, shelters, and homes for the elderly, picking up where limited government-run services fell short.

He slept in a windowless room adjoining the office of his foundation furnished with just a bed, a sink and a hotplate.

Edhi told news agency in an interview earlier this year, ‘I have done a lot of work. I am satisfied with my life.’

The most prominent symbols of the foundation — its 1,500 ambulances — are deployed with unusual efficiency to the scene of extremist attacks that tear through Pakistan with devastating regularity.

Edhi had pledged to donate his body organs. However, due to his long illness, his son has promised to donate only his eyes to any deserving person.

Edhi leaves behind his wife Bilquis and six children including son Faisal Edhi.

Pakistanis took to Twitter to mourn the death of a national hero many call a “living saint” and “Pakistan’s Mother Teresa”.

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