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In remembrance: Thousands pay homage to philanthropist at Edhi centre

GILGIT / HANGU / SWABI / PESHAWAR: While he spent his entire life uniting people and caring for them without concern for caste, colour, ethnicity, religion or creed, Abdul Sattar Edhi accomplished something very similar in his death as well.

A large number of people from various sects and religions, belonging to different parts of the provincial metropolis reached Edhi centre to offer prayers and pay homage to the iconic philanthropist, humanist and social welfare service provider on Saturday.

Edhi passed away in the late hours of Friday and was laid to rest in Karachi. Thousands of people, including President Mamnoon Hussain and heads of all the armed forces were present on the occasion.

The participants asked the government to include a lesson on the life and services of Edhi in textbooks to make his services to humanity immortal for the new generations. They also urged the government to commemorate the day of his death at the state level every year.

Paying homage

People from various parts of the country paid their respects and remembered the iconic hero.

“Edhi was the true representative of this country,” Adnan Ahmad, who had come all the way from Nowshera to Edhi centre in the provincial capital, told The Express Tribune. He said he did not have enough time to attend his funeral in Karachi.

He recalled times when the country, especially Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa was one of the main targets of militancy, and Edhi ambulances and workers were on the frontline, saving lives.

“Today his ambulances are everywhere – at crime scenes, accident spots, taking care of all those who need them,” Ahmad said.

Another participant, Abdul Subhan, said, “Although he has left us, the vast network of rescue vehicles and workers that he has left behind will serve people for decades to come.”

According to Mujahid, Edhi centre’s spokesperson in Peshawar, due to Eid holidays, a majority of political leaders were abroad or in their hometowns and villages and could not arrive to offer prayers on time.

He said the prayers at the centre will continue for three days, during which a large number of people and politicians are expected to visit.

Respects pour in

Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce (FPCCI) in Peshawar expressed deep sorrow over the demise of leading humanitarian in the country.

A statement issued on Saturday read that his death was a national loss as Edhi had served people without discrimination during his entire life.

The document added FPCCI Vice President Mohammad Riaz Khattak and other office-bearers said Edhi’s services will always be remembered, which made Pakistan prominent in the world.

“People should follow his footsteps and take inspiration from his life to serve humanity,” the statement said.  Meanwhile, Edhi Welfare Foundation organised a condolence reference for Edhi in Hangu.

The speakers stated the nation had been deprived of a fatherly figure. A large number of people gathered to pray for the departed soul and for his bereaved family.

Local journalists also paid tributes to Edhi and called his death “a tragedy for the nation”.

Similarly, a social worker, Khalid Khan Khattak, from Tordher, Swabi expressed profound sorrow at the death of Edhi. He praised the efforts of the deceased and said people like Edhi were born in centuries.

Mourning at national level

The K-P government has announced a three-day mourning over the demise of the renowned philanthropist and humanist. In a statement issued to the media, the government information department stated the national flag will be hoisted with half-mast for three days to pay tribute to Edhi.

K-P Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Deputy Speaker Dr Mehar Taj Roghani expressed grief over the death of Edhi and called his death “a national loss”.

The speaker has announced to hold prayers for the departed soul at the K-P Assembly on Wednesday in which members of the house will participate.

Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman has also announced a three-day mourning period over Edhi’s demise.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2016.

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