ISLAMABAD: Legendary philanthropist and social worker Abdul Sattar Edhi remembered on his fifth death anniversary on Thursday and glowing homages were being paid to his services by all electronic and Radio channels. The iconic humanitarian was born on February 28, 1928, in Indian Gujarat.
Edhi migrated to Pakistan in 1947 along with his family and dedicated his life to the poor from the age of 20 when he himself was penniless in Karachi. He devoted his life to social welfare and eventually became recognized globally for all his hard work. And now, he will be loved by children as the animated character Edhi Baba.
He started off as a free dispensary in 1951 that went on to become the largest charity organization in Pakistan. In his own words, Edhi "begged for donations" at the start of his work and "people gave". From having one ambulance which he drove himself, the Edhi Foundation now has 2,400 ambulances and three air ambulances stationed across the country.
In fact, in 1997 the Edhi Foundation entered the Guinness World Records as the "largest volunteer ambulance organization." The foundation also runs more than 300 welfare centers across the country that operate as food kitchens, rehabilitation homes, shelters for abandoned women and children and clinics for the mentally handicapped. The Edhi Foundation also runs eight outpatients hospitals, a child adoption centre and morgues.
Many international and national awards, including Asian Noble, the Lenin Peace Prize and Nishan-e-Imtiaz were bestowed upon him in recognition of his services for humanity. Edhi's foundation has provided relief in Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Croatia, Indonesia and the United States. Edhi, who founded the world's largest volunteer ambulance network, died on July 8, 2016 at the age of 88 in Karachi after a prolonged illness. Following his death, his son Faisal Edhi took over as head of the Edhi Foundation.