Pakistan’s ‘Poor King’ Given State Funeral


KARACHI: Philanthropist, celebrated humanitarian and the icon of social and welfare service Abdul Sattar Edhi was laid to rest on Saturday as thousands attended his fu­neral prayers.

Edhi was buried in Edhi village as per his last wish as his funeral prayers were offered after Zuhr prayers following a guard of honour and a gun salute by the Paki­stan Army.

His funeral prayers were offered after Zuhr prayers following a guard of honour and a gun salute by the Paki­stan Army.

The body, draped in Pak­istan’s flag, was then taken to the Edhi village.

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’s desti­tute and orphans cemented his place in the hearts of Pak­istan’s masses.

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

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.


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.

His ethos of humani­tarianism transcended reli­gious and ethnic lines, but made him the target of many ferocious smear campaigns.

Hardliners branded him an infidel and his work un-Islamic. His re­sponse was hard work and an obstinate asceticism, a bid to leave his enemies with no ammunition.

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

The state’s failure to help his struggling family care for his mother – para­lysed and suffering from mental health issues – was his painful and decisive turning point towards phi­lanthropy.

In the sticky streets in the heart of Karachi, Edhi, full of idealism and hope, opened his first clinic in 1951.

Abandoned children and the elderly, battered women, the disabled, drug addicts; Edhi’s foundation now hous­es some 5,700 people in 17 shelters across the country.

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.

He was so widely respect­ed that armed groups and bandits were known 


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