KARACHI, Pakistan – Thousands of people turned out to pay their respects at a funeral in Karachi to a renowned Pakistani social worker and founder of the country’s largest non-profit, the Edhi Foundation.
Abdul Sattar Edhi, a lifelong philanthropist and activist, died on Friday of kidney failure at the age of 88 and was on Saturday commemorated with a guard of honor and gun salute in Karachi ahead of his burial at the Edhi village in the city.
Edhi, who famously said that “no religion is higher than humanity” and was before partition known as “the Mother Theresa of Pakistan,” began caring for his paralyzed mother at the age of 11 before founding the Edhi Foundation ambulance service in 1951.
Working first as a peddler on the streets of Karachi and selling cloth in the markets, Edhi started the foundation after witnessing the sicknesses of people living on the streets, prompting to single-handedly start a shelter that burgeoned into a 1,500-strong ambulance service network.
The Edhi Foundation today runs a network of hundreds of welfare centers, clinics and orphanages – where babies are taken in without any questions – throughout urban and rural Pakistan, providing food, shelter and medical aid to tens of thousands of people over the past decades.
The distinguished humanitarian leaves behind four children and his wife and partner in the Foundation, Bilquis Edhi.