Published On: Mon, Jul 18th, 2016

Farewell to the pride of Pakistan, Abdul Sattar Edhi

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The great humanitarian, the beacon of hope, Abdul Sattar Edhi has passed away, leaving a void that can never be filled. How can we possibly begin to describe the greatness of Edhi sahib? He was a humanitarian, a philanthropist, a messiah, a father figure. Edhi sahib was a man that dedicated his entire life to the poor and needy, to those that were abandoned. He dedicated his life towards making society a better place. In a country such as Pakistan, this can be quite a challenge, but Abdul Sattar Edhi struggled all his life to ensure that he could touch the lives of as many as possible, and make a difference.

Edhi sahib was, still is and will always be loved and respected not only by Pakistanis, but by many people all over the world. The reaction and tributes to him following his death are a testament to that. But it is heartbreaking to see some individuals continuing to spit venom, labelling the great man an “infidel,” an “Ahmediyya,” simply because he spoke about humanity. Edhi sahib regarded all people as equals. His foundation’s help was never based on differences between religions or anything else. He would provide shelter to children and women that were abandoned and his ambulance would pick up bodies of human beings. Who they were and where they came from did not bother Edhi sahib. This is something that should be appreciated and vision that should be endorsed by society. And yet there are still some individuals who think it is not very Muslim like to behave like this. But their ignorance and hatred can never be stronger than the love that Abdul Sattar Edhi has given and received.

It was deeply moving to see Abdul Sattar Edhi’s funeral. It was almost as if the world had turned up for the great man’s final journey. So many people had made their way to pay their respects; both common man and high profile figures. Edhi sahib was a simple man of humble nature, but his funeral was quite different to the kind of personality that he was. Edhi sahib was always interested in the simplest things in life, a man who wanted to be buried in his old cloths. But he was given a state funeral and he deserved it. He deserved a farewell filled with respect and honour. His coffin deserved to be draped in the Pakistani flag because Edhi sahib was and shall remain the pride of Pakistan. And the pride of Pakistan was worthy of every salute made as the coffin made its way to its final destination.

Abdul Sattar Edhi received many awards both at home and internationally during his time, but the great man was never bothered by them. His humanitarian work was never for awards and appreciation. He simply did what he had to do for those in dire circumstances, for those that had no one else. The love that he received was his biggest award and nothing can be greater than that. But it is rather strange that Abdul Sattar Edhi was never honoured with a Nobel award. It is hard to fathom why a man as noble as him would not be considered a worthy recipient. And now following his death we see people pushing for him to be honoured with it. My question is – why did these people not bother to push for it in his lifetime? Why do we have to wait till someone passes away?

People should not invest energy into a Nobel Prize campaign for Edhi sahib, and for me the reason is very clear. Abdul Sattar Edhi shall always remain bigger than any award, any Nobel Prize. The Nobel Prize is for individuals but Edhi sahib was an angel. And he does not need his name on any Nobel Prize list to prove his contributions to mankind. His work and his name shall always be beyond any such award. Rather than harping on about the Nobel Prize, people should think about ways in which they can carry forward Edhi sahib’s mission and message. His wife, Bilquis Edhi and son, Faisal Edhi should be given full support and backing as they try to take forward the foundation that Edhi sahib cemented many, many years ago. We should spread the message of love, peace and tolerance wherever we go because this is what Edhi sahib truly believed in. And this would be the real way to honour Edhi sahib, by carrying his work forward. We should struggle towards making society a better place, just like Edhi sahib.
When thinking of Edhi sahib, a line from one the greatest soul stirring poems that I have ever come across comes to mind: Dhoondo ge agar mulkon mulkon, milne ke nahin nayaab hai hum. Abdul Sattar Edhi was truly unique and rare. We can search the entire world but we shall never find anyone quite like him. He shall remain unmatched. May you rest in peace, Abdul Sattar Edhi sahib.

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