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KARACHI: In a nation often riven by social, ethnic and religious strife, Abdul Sattar Edhi won respect from every strata of society for an ascetic lifestyle that was devoted to helping the poor regardless of their background.

Edhi lived in a bare room in Karachi, alternating between his two suits of black clothes and occasionally listening to recordings of Koranic verses on a battered old tape recorder.

“When my ambulance takes a wounded person who is in pain to the hospital, when people reach the hospital, I find peace in knowing I helped an injured person who was in pain,” Edhi told Reuters in an interview in 2013.

“My mission is to love human beings … Each day is the best day of my life.”

Edhi was well-known for berating Islamist groups such as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) for their attacks on civilians, criticising the government for incompetence and corruption and denouncing the elites for dodging taxes.

His wife, Bilquis, a nurse, oversees the women’s shelters and the adoption of orphans. They have found homes for about 25,000 children.

Edhi’s foundation has provided relief in Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, Sri Lanka, Croatia, Indonesia and in the United States after Hurricane Katrina.

Pakistanis took to Twitter to mourn the death of a national hero many call a “living saint” and “Pakistan’s Mother Teresa”.

“In his death he has united all of Pakistan, across all affiliations, in mourning. That in itself is a measure of his greatness,” said a Twitter user named Imran Khan.

“He was a noble soul who dedicated his life in service of mankind,” said Sushma Swaraj, the foreign minister of India, Pakistan’s historic foe.

Courtesy : TheNews



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