Abdul Sattar Edhi

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Abdul Sattar Edhi
عبدالستار ایدھی
Abdul Sattar Edhi.jpg
Born (1928-02-28)28 February 1928[1]
Bantva, Bantva Manavadar, Gujarat, British India
Died 8 July 2016(2016-07-08) (aged 88)
Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
Cause of death Kidney failure
Resting place Edhi Village, Karachi
Nationality Pakistani
Other names Angel of Mercy[2]
The Richest Poor Man[3]
[4]بابائے خدمت
Known for Social work
Simple lifestyle
Spouse(s) Bilquis Edhi (alive)
Children Faisal Edhi
Kutub Edhi
Almas Edhi
Kubra Edhi
  • Abdul Shakoor Edhi (father)
  • Ghurba Edhi (mother)
Awards Ahmadiyya Muslim Peace Prize (2010)
Lenin Peace Prize (1988)
Nishan-e-Imtiaz (1989)
Wolf of Bhogio Peace Award (2005), Italy[6]
Website Official website

Abdul Sattar Edhi (Urdu: عبدالستار ایدھی‎; 28 February 1928 – 8 July 2016)[1][8] was a Pakistani philanthropist, ascetic, and humanitarian who founded the Edhi Foundation which runs hospitals, homeless shelters, rehab centres, and orphanages across Pakistan.[9]

Born in Gujarat, British India, Edhi moved to Karachi where he established a free dispensary for Karachi's low-income residents. Edhi's charitable activities expanded in 1957 when an Asian flu epidemic swept through Karachi. Donations allowed him to buy his first ambulance the same year. He later expanded his charity network with the help of his wife Bilquis Edhi.[9][10]

Over his lifetime, the Edhi Foundation expanded backed entirely with private donations including establishing a network of 1,800 minivan ambulances. By the time of his death Edhi was registered as a parent or guardian of nearly 20,000 children.[11] He is known as Angel of Mercy and is considered to be Pakistan's "most respected" and legendary figure.[2][12] In 2013, The Huffington Post claimed that he might be "the world's greatest living humanitarian."[13]

Edhi maintained a hands-off management style and was often critical of the clergy and politicians.[14] Edhi was a strong proponent of religious tolerance in Pakistan and extended support to the victims of Hurricane Katrina and 1985 famine in Ethiopia.[15][16] Edhi has been nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize.[17]

Early life[edit]

He was born in Bantva in the Gujarat, British India into a Memon family.[1][8][18][19] His mother would give him 1 paisa for his meals and another to give to a beggar.[20] When he was eleven, his mother became paralysed from a stroke and she died when Edhi was 19. His personal experiences and care for his mother during her illness, caused him to develop a system of services for old, mentally ill and challenged people. The partition of India led Edhi and his family to migrate to Pakistan in 1947.[12][21] He then shifted to Karachi to work in a market at a wholesale shop. He initially started as a peddler, and later became a commission agent selling cloth in the wholesale market in Karachi. After a few years, he established a free dispensary with help from his community.

He told NPR in 2009 that "I saw people lying on the pavement ... The flu had spread in Karachi, and there was no one to treat them. So I set up benches and got medical students to volunteer. I was penniless and begged for donations on the street. And people gave. I bought this 8-by-8 room to start my work."[22]

Charity work[edit]

"People have become educated, but have yet to become human."

— Abdul Sattar Edhi[23]

Edhi resolved to dedicate his life to aiding the poor, and over the next sixty years, he single handedly changed the face of welfare in Pakistan. Edhi founded the Edhi Foundation. Additionally, he established a welfare trust, named the Edhi Trust with an initial sum of a five thousand rupees which was later renamed as Bilqis Edhi Trust.[24][25] Regarded as a guardian for the poor, Edhi began receiving numerous donations, which allowed him to expand his services. To this day, the Edhi Foundation continues to grow in both size and service and is currently the largest welfare organisation in Pakistan. Since its inception, the Edhi Foundation has rescued over 20,000 abandoned infants, rehabilitated over 50,000 orphans and has trained over 40,000 nurses.[26] It also runs more than 330 welfare centres in rural and urban Pakistan which operate as food kitchens, rehabilitation homes, shelters for abandoned women and children, and clinics for the mentally handicapped.[27]

The Edhi Foundation, founded by Edhi, runs the world's largest ambulance service (operating 1,500 of them) and offers 24-hour emergency services. It also operates free nursing homes, orphanages, clinics, women's shelters, and rehab centres for drug addicts and mentally ill individuals.[28] It has run relief operations in Africa, Middle East, the Caucasus region, eastern Europe, and the United States where it provided aid following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. His son Faisal Edhi, wife Bilquis Edhi, and daughters managed the daily operations of the organization during his ill health.[26] He was referred as Pakistan's version of Mother Teresa,[29] and the BBC wrote that he was considered "Pakistan's most respected figure and was seen by some as almost a saint."[12]

Travel issues[edit]

In the early 1980s, Edhi was arrested by Israeli troops while entering Lebanon. In 2006, he was detained in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, for 16 hours. In January 2008, U.S. immigration officials interrogated Edhi at the John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City for over eight hours and seized his passport and other documents. When asked about the frequent detention Edhi said, "The only explanation I can think of is my beard and my dress."[30]

Personal life[edit]

Edhi was married in 1965 to Bilquis, a nurse who worked at the Edhi dispensary.[31] The couple had four children, two daughters, and two sons.[2] Bilquis runs the free maternity home at the headquarters in Karachi and organizes the adoption of abandoned babies including those born out of wedlock.[32] Edhi was known for his ascetic lifestyle, owning only two pairs of clothes, never taking a salary from his organisation and living in an apartment next to his organization's office.[12][33][34] Edhi stated that he had "never been a very religious person."[35]

Illness and death[edit]

On 25 June 2013, Edhi's kidneys failed; it was announced that he would be on dialysis for the rest of his life unless he found a kidney donor.[36] Edhi died on 8 July 2016 at the age of 88 due to kidney failure after having been placed on a ventilator. His last wishes included the request that his organs were to be donated but due to his ill health, only his corneas were suitable.[37] He was laid to rest at the Edhi Village Karachi.[38]

Reactions and funeral[edit]

Reactions to his death came from several high-ranking Pakistani officials. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said "We have lost a great servant of humanity. He was the real manifestation of love for those who were socially vulnerable, impoverished, helpless and poor."[12] The country's head of the army, Raheel Sharif, called him a "true humanitarian."[2]

Prime Minister Sharif declared national mourning on the day following Edhi's death and announced a state funeral for him. He became the third Pakistani to receive historical state gun carriage funeral after Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Zia ul Haq. He was the only Pakistani without a state authority or a state role to receive a state funeral. According to Inter-Services Public Relations, state honours were given to Edhi by a guard of honour and a 19-gun salute. The attendees at his Janazah (funeral prayer) included dignitaries such as Mamnoon Hussain (President of Pakistan), Raza Rabbani (the Chairman Senate), Ishratul Ibad (provincial Governor of Sindh), Qaim Ali Shah and Shehbaz Sharif (the Chief Ministers of Sindh and Punjab), Raheel Shareef (Chief of Army Staff) along with Muhammad Zakaullah and Sohail Aman (the Chiefs of Staff of the Pakistani Navy and Air Force), at the National Stadium, Karachi.[39][40]

Honors and awards[edit]

International awards[edit]

National awards[edit]

  • Silver Jubilee Shield by College of Physicians and Surgeons (1962–1987)[43]
  • Moiz ur rehman Award (2015)[43]
  • The Social Worker of Sub-Continent by Government of Sindh (1989)[43]
  • Nishan-e-Imtiaz, civil decoration from the Government of Pakistan (1989)[43]
  • Recognition of meritorious services to oppressed humanity during the 1980s by Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Government of Pakistan (1989)[43]
  • Pakistan Civic Award from the Pakistan Civic Society (1992)[43]
  • Jinnah Award for Outstanding Services to Pakistan was conferred in April 1998 by The Jinnah Society. This was the first Jinnah Award conferred on any person in Pakistan.[49]
  • Shield of Honor by Pakistan Army (E & C)[43]
  • Khidmat Award by the Pakistan Academy of Medical Sciences[43]
  • Bacha Khan Aman (Peace) Award in 1991
  • Human Rights Award by Pakistan Human Rights Society[43]
  • 2013 Person of the Year by the readers of The Express Tribune[50]

Commemorative coin[edit]

Per directive of the Prime Minister, State Bank of Pakistan will release the commemorative coin in honor of Pakistani philanthropist through a special condolence reference for Edhi.[51][52]


In 2011 Yousaf Raza Gilani the then Prime Minister of Pakistan recommended Edhi for a nomination of Nobel Peace Prize.[53] Again in early 2016, a petition signed by 30,000 for a Nobel Peace prize to Edhi was moved by Ziauddin Yousafzai, the father of Malala Yousafzai.[54] In her condolence message on Edhi's death, broadcast by BBC Urdu Service Malala quoted that "as a Nobel Peace Prize winner, I hold the right to nominate people for the prize and I have nominated Abdul Sattar Edhi" .[55][56]

Najam Sethi, a governing board member of Pakistan Cricket Board proposed to rename Gaddafi Stadium after Edhi.[57]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Name the new airport after Edhi". thenews.com.pk. Retrieved 22 July 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d Ahmed, Munir (8 July 2016). "Pakistan's legendary 'Angel of Mercy' Abdul Edhi dies at age 88". Toronto Star. Retrieved 8 July 2016. 
  3. ^ "The richest poor man - The Express Tribune". tribune.com.pk. 28 April 2016. Retrieved 22 July 2016. 
  4. ^ "The Prime Minister Declared A Day Of National Mourning". Geo News. Retrieved 8 July 2016. 
  5. ^ "Revered humanitarian Abdul Sattar Edhi passes away". ARY News. Retrieved 8 July 2016. 
  6. ^ "Abdul Sattar Edhi: A life in pictures - The Express Tribune". tribune.com.pk. 9 July 2016. Retrieved 22 July 2016. 
  7. ^ "The day I met Abdul Sattar Edhi, a living saint". The Daily Telegraph. 10 April 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  8. ^ a b Ala, Mustard; T.A.N.S. (12 November 2006). "Honorary Doctorate Degree byIBAA awarded to Abdul Sattar Edhi". DAWN. Archived from the original on 4 January 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2016.  Retrieved 24 March 2016
  9. ^ a b Dawn.com, AFP (8 July 2016). "Celebrated humanitarian Abdul Sattar Edhi passes away in Karachi". Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  10. ^ Masood, Salman (8 July 2016). "Abdul Sattar Edhi, Pakistan's 'Father Teresa,' Dies at 88". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  11. ^ Boone, Jon (2016-07-13). "Abdul Sattar Edhi obituary". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-08-14. 
  12. ^ a b c d e "Pakistani philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi dies aged 88". BBC News. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  13. ^ The World's Greatest Living Humanitarian May Be From Pakistan, The Huffington Post. Retrieved 24 March 2016
  14. ^ "Dailytimes | Edhi: the ordinary man who was extraordinary — II". dailytimes.com.pk. Retrieved 2016-08-14. 
  15. ^ (www.dw.com), Deutsche Welle. "Abdul Sattar Edhi - A life bigger than accolades | Asia | DW.COM | 08.07.2016". DW.COM. Retrieved 2016-08-14. 
  16. ^ "Edhi Foundation gave $100,000 for Katrina relief efforts: US ambassador". Retrieved 2016-08-14. 
  17. ^ Dawn.com (2016-07-09). "No one deserves Nobel Peace Prize more than Abdul Sattar Edhi, says Malala". Retrieved 2016-08-14. 
  18. ^ Boone, Jon (13 July 2016). "Abdul Sattar Edhi obituary". theguardian.com. Retrieved 14 July 2016. 
  19. ^ http://www.toledoblade.com/World/2016/08/07/Conversations-with-a-Muslim-saint.html
  20. ^ Lorenza Raponi & Michele Zanzucchi 2013.
  21. ^ "Abdul Sattar Edhi, legendary Pakistani social worker, dies at 88". CBS News. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  22. ^ Julie McCarthy, Pakistan Philanthropist Cares For Karachi's Forgotten, NPR, 28 July 2009. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  23. ^ Masood, Salman. "Abdus Sattar Edhi, Pakistan's 'Father Teresa,' Dies at 88 - NYTimes.com". nytimes.com. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  24. ^ Ke. Ec Aʻvān 1987.
  25. ^ Robert Baer & Dayna Baer.
  26. ^ a b Web Desk (July 9, 2016). "ABDUL SATTAR EDHI LAID TO REST IN KARACHI". Radio Pakistan. Retrieved July 9, 2016. 
  27. ^ Web Desk (July 9, 2016). "Serving from cradle to death". The Nation News Paper. Retrieved July 9, 2016. 
  28. ^ "Pakistan's saviour of the desperate". BBC News. 15 March 2001. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  29. ^ India Today, Volume 15, Part 2 1990.
  30. ^ Khan, M Ilyas (29 January 2008). "Pakistan aid worker stuck in US". BBC News. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  31. ^ Richard Covington (2 September 2008). "What One Person Can Do". In David Elliot Cohen. What Matters: The World's Preeminent Photojournalists and Thinkers Depict Essential Issues of Our Time. Sterling Publishing. pp. 309–323. ISBN 978-1-4027-5834-8. 
  32. ^ Far Eastern Economic Review 1996.
  33. ^ "Abdul Sattar Edhi: He was a hero to Pakistan's poor and needy". The Washington Post. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  34. ^ "Renowned Pakistani Philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi Dies at 88". voanews.com. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  35. ^ The Telegraph (July 21, 2016). "Abdul Sattar Edhi, philanthropist known as the 'Father Teresa' of Pakistan – obituary". The Telegraph. Retrieved September 14, 2016. 
  36. ^ Edhi suffers from kidney failure, to stay on dialysis rest of his life. The Express Tribune. 25 June 2013. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  37. ^ "Abdul Sattar Edhi passes away". The Express Tribune. 8 July 2016. Retrieved 8 July 2016. 
  38. ^ Times, The Sindh (9 July 2016). "Abdul Sattar Edhi laid to rest at the Edhi Village Karachi - The Sindh Times". thesindhtimes.com. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  39. ^ Parvez Jabri (9 July 2016). "19-Gun Salute presented to Edhi's Coffin". Business Recorder. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  40. ^ "Army Chief, President, Senate Chairman, others offer Edhi's funeral". Dunya News. 9 July 2016. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  41. ^ "Citation for Abdul Sattar Edhi and Bilqis Bano Edhi". Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation. 31 August 1986. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  42. ^ "Pakistan's humanitarian Abdul Sattar Edhi dies". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  43. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Awards". Edhi Foundation. 8 August 2010. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  44. ^ "UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize – Laureates". UNESCO. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  45. ^ "UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence (2009)" (PDF). UNESCO. 2009. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  46. ^ "The Ahmadiyya Muslim Prize for the Advancement of Peace". The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  47. ^ "Video Speech by Edhi at the receipt of Ahmadiyya Muslim Peace Prize". YouTube. Retrieved 10 July 2016. 
  48. ^ "Dailytimes - US expresses sorrow over Edhi's death". dailytimes.com.pk. Retrieved 24 July 2016. 
  49. ^ H. Merchant, Liaquat (12 July 2016). "Jinnah Award". Dawn. Retrieved 15 July 2016. 
  50. ^ Tribune person of the year 2013: Your vote, our hero. The Express Tribune. 1 Jan 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2016
  51. ^ Talqeen Zubairi (July 13, 2016). "Special Edhi coin to be issued by State Bank". Dawn News. Retrieved July 13, 2016. 
  52. ^ Kazim Alam (July 13, 2016). "State Bank to issue special coin to honour Abdul Sattar Edhi". Express Tribune. Retrieved July 13, 2016. 
  53. ^ "PM recommends Abdul Sattar Edhi for Nobel Peace Prize nomination". Express Tribune. November 29, 2011. Retrieved July 18, 2016. 
  54. ^ "Campaign for Abdul Sattar Edhi to receive Nobel Peace Prize launched by father of Malala Yousafzai". Birmingham Mail. January 13, 2011. Retrieved July 19, 2016. 
  55. ^ "No one deserves Nobel Peace Prize more than Abdul Sattar Edhi, says Malala". Dawn News. July 9, 2016. Retrieved July 19, 2016. 
  56. ^ "No one deserves Nobel Peace Prize more than Abdul Sattar Edhi, says Malala Yousafzai". BBC Urdu. Retrieved 19 July 2016. 
  57. ^ "Najam Sethi for renaming Qaddafi stadium after Edhi.". thenews.com.pk. Retrieved 22 July 2016. 


External links[edit]