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A living legend
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A living legend … an example of devotion … an inspiration … an institution - these are some of the indicators of a pioneer called Abdul Sattar Edhi.

Edhi is a mobile institution ready to respond … anxious to comfort and console the anguished souls. Endurance, perseverance, patience, struggle, sympathy and compassion along with sacrifice of his personal comforts, are the important elements on which rests the philosophy of Abdul Sattar Edhi.
Although Edhi is a self-educated person, he has an instinctive feel of contemporary theories of Anthropology or Philosophy. He possesses the unique capability of reducing complex problems to simple forms, and producing workable practical solutions. His dress is as simple as his language, and working style.
He is fond of destitute children and loves them like his own kith and kin. Finding those rare occasions to associate himself with them is a matter of immense pleasure for Edhi. He looks for such moments and whenever gets an opportunity to have their company, he fully enjoys it. Most probably this is the secret of his fine health even at the age of early seventy.
Women volunteers act as vital force in achieving Edhi’s objectives. Edhi believes that women are more honest, hardworking and dutiful. "EDHI LADIES HOMES" which are permanent abode for teenage girls, provide education and vocational training within its compound. The concept of self-reliance permeates into Edhi organisation at every level.
Edhi has a fleet of 400 Pakistan’s best organised ambulance service. Edhi’s vehicles are the first to arrive at the scene of an emergency. When hijackers seized a Pan American jetliner at Karachi Airport, the authorities called Edhi for help. As negotiations dragged on whole day between hijackers and the Government, Edhi and his men with 64 ambulances stood - by at the scene. Late that evening, when hijackers began shooting passengers, and Pakistani commandos were storming the Aircraft, the ambulances dodged bullets to pick up the dead and the injured. Edhi personally carried the body Neerja Mishra, the Indian air hostess, who was later decorated for her bravery. With became a symbol and synonym for emergency service in Pakistan.

Edhi’s achievements are unique in the sense that they are not funded by any religious, political group or by any government. When one of the Heads of state sent him a cheque of Rs. 0.5 million as a token of his missionary work, Edhi returned it.

During the past 45 years, Abdul Sattar Edhi has spent many sleepless nights ministering to the needs of his fellow Pakistanis. Whether they are peasants starving because of draught, babies abandoned on rubbish dumps or patients too poor to pay for their medical care … Edhi’s compassion encompasses them all. Edhi has established an extraordinary social welfare network that helps thousands of Pakistanis each day Edhi says simply "It is a twenty hours job". Edhi’s network is open round the clock without observing a single holiday.
A short, strongly built man in early 70’s with a flowing beard and ready for any kind of emergency work round the clock. Throughout Edhi has been leading the simplest life. He is a teetotaller. He is ready to fly any where across the borders to reach any natural calamity or disaster within the shortest possible time. His food intake is generally based on taking pieces of stale bread in the morning , and raw cooked vegetables during a lunch-break. As a child, he was given two paisas daily by his mother. He was directed to spend one on himself, and give away the other to some one less fortunate than him .. He never forgot that simple lesson.
Edhi Organisation has a different touch if compared with other sister organisations. Most of other organisations go for easy tasks like rendering scholarships or distributing sewing machines etc. On the other hand all Edhi’s work is throat catching as it has to respond quickly in serious situations and disasters.

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Research work and Interview by Engr. Iqbal A. Khan
Artwork by ContactPakistan.com
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