Gift 1 – Abdul Sattar Edhi

Love, compassion, service to humanity, devotion, sincerity, humbleness, inspiration & devotion are all different names for on man on earth, we proudly present to the world as a gift, known as Abdul Sattar Edhi.

A_mirror_to_blind.jpg ( Image credit : edhi foundation )

Edhi is a well known name to the world of service and humanity. Edhi is for Karachi what Mother Teresa is to Calcutta. But more than that Edhi is an angel on earth not only for Karachi & Pakistan but to the whole world. From Karachi to all over Pakistan. From Azad Kashmir to Tsunami & from Lebanon to Katrina this one man with a primary-school education has almost single-handedly created one of the largest and most successful health and welfare networks in Asia. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, as of 1997, Edhi Foundation operates the world’s largest volunteer ambulance service.

Edhi is our No.1 & the best gift to the world. He has done more then a Nobel Prize would mean. For more than half a century, Abdul Sattar Edhi, has been living proof that a determined individual can mobilize others to alleviate misery and, in so doing, knit together the social fabric of a nation. He is truly a role model to follow and a great hero of our time. Our curriculum books definitely need a chapter on him at least. He is the best thing probably that happened to Pakistan in last 59 years of our history.

Born in 1928 in Bantwa, Gujarat, India, Edhi’s family belonged to the industrious Memon community. From a young age his mother taught Edhi to be kind towards others and to help the poor. In 1947 the family migrated to Pakistan and settled in Karachi. That was a time of great emotional trauma and social and political upheaval. Edhi became involved in social work and began working with welfare organizations and soon started his own dispensary, providing medical aid to the poor. He bought his first ambulance, an old van which he called the “poor man’s van” and went around the city providing medical help and burying unclaimed bodies. His van became his advertisement and soon he came to be known for his work with the poor. As a consequence, donations started pouring in and his operations expanded, employing additional nurses and staff.

The lion’s share of the Edhi Foundation’s $10-million budget comes from private donations from individual Pakistanis inside and outside the country. Some donors have been very generous. One family donated two villas in the wealthy Karachi suburb of Clifton for use as a residence and school for around 250 girls. A Pakistani expatriate in the UK donated office buildings worth ¬£1.4 million ($2.5 million) that became the British headquarters of the foundation, which organizes local charity services both for expatriates and in support of the foundation’s work in Pakistan. In addition to money and property, contributors donate clothes, appliances, furniture-even goat and chicken meat, sometimes by the ton. The organization uses a portion of these gifts to feed and clothe residents of the homes; the rest is given away to other hospitals, prisons and disaster victims.

( Image credit : EF )

Whether he is counseling a battered wife, rescuing an accident victim, feeding a poor child, sheltering a homeless family or washing an unidentified and unclaimed corpse before burial, Edhi and Bilquis, his wife of 38 years, help thousands of Pakistanis each day. Contactpakistan summarizes Edhi well: “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.

“In the spirit of all the holiday gift giving that will be taking place over the next couple of months, all the Metroblogging cities are giving 7 gifts to the world throughout the week of NOV 26th – DEC 2. This is Karachi’s 1st Gift to the World.”

Credits :-

36 Comments so far

  1. Kumail (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 6:00 am

    God, I cant be more of proud of another Karachite. A truly fabulous choice for our number 1 gift to the world.

  2. wasiq (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 6:08 am

    i beleve the best gift of a city to the world and itself are its people…..accepting this i think Mr Jinnah (Quaid-i-azam) is on top of my list….

  3. Raheel (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 6:46 am

    A nice book but gets dry and its lengthy. I have put it aside because of lack of time. Will resume reading after exams.

  4. K.A. (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 8:35 am

    I agree with both MB and Wasiq. Mr. Jinnah is the reason we have Pakistan and of course Karachi. He was born here and died here. He was a Karachiite.

    A.S.Edhi is no doubt the gift of Karachi not only to the people of the city or of Pakistan but to many parts of the world wherever disaster strikes. While taking no credit away from Mother Teresa, she did all she could for the people of Calcutta, or perhaps other parts of India, but Mr. Edhi has done that for not only all of Pakistan but Iran, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, Somalia, Iraq, any part of the Third World and Mr. Edhi and of course his wife and son have not left any stone unturned in their efforts to reduce the suffering of others. I don’t think we are in a position to even estimate what rewards Allah Almighty has for him and his family.
    By the way his biography is worth reading. It not only gives us an inside into how he became who he is but how certain people have been trying to hinder him and stop him for their own benefit.

  5. Adnan (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 11:15 am

    MB, Thankyou for bringing Edhi as the first choice of Karachi. Edhi might be the only figure from a Muslim state who is even respected and known by Israelities and they didn’t stop Edhi to getinto Israel once he was over there for his humanity work.

    Well Jinnah is the most respectable figure but His work was only related to this region. The concept of Gift which I have understood tat how someone or something will be ‘unique’ and ‘good’ for outerworld. Edhi deserves this rank as his work is not limited for Pakistan only. Recently Edhi sahib was in Lebonan during Hizb-Israel war.

  6. Hasan Mubarak (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 11:43 am

    Indeed; the best gift a city could give!

  7. turab (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 12:19 pm

    Quaid e Azam or Edhi….

    Its a very tough one cuz I admire them both imensly.
    However, without Quaid e Azam there would have been less chances of making of an Eidhi…

    Long live Eidhi and Long live Pakistan

  8. zahra (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 12:37 pm

    absolutely stunning choice. i couldnt agree with you more. he is my biggest inspiration.the book was never supposed to be a joy ride or fantasy fiction, yes it is a long detailed description of his life and work and that’s why it’s excellent. especially the opening.

    i salute Edhi

  9. ustad rustam (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 2:28 pm

    wonderful last gift !!
    thanks Karachi :)

  10. MB (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 4:19 pm

    I personally rank Edhi higher then Quaid-e-Azam. The reason being a careful analysis of both personalities. Quaid-e-Azam had the backing of Muslim League. He had strong personalities around him and nearby to guide him like the vision of Iqbal & Sir Syed, the great Maulana Mohammad Ali Johar, Liqat Ali Khan, Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar & Choudhary Rahmat Ali. A strong Muslim backing on decisions that he would take. Sir Aga Khan gave him a platform called Muslim League to work and polish on and craft it to perfection. It’s another matter that he was such a great personality that he gathered all resources in best possible composition and with timely decisions and resolute faith he was able to achieve what was impossible for many in 1857.

    Now come back to Edhi. Apart from himself what was there in his hands to start the journey he did. Nothing. But look at what he has achieved, that too all for others and nothing for himself, but respect and recognition which is his right. His story is just a One man show for 50 years now.

    If for the sake of analysis change the roles they played you will see that Quaid was a great leader but so is Edhi. Organizing world’s largest ambulance service that too from third world country is not a mean achievement itself. And this is just a small part of what he is doing. The list of services is just uncountable to say the least. As they say to win a cup is easy to keep it is difficult. Quaid won the world cup (along with others mentioned above) but Edhi has been keeping it for last 50 years, playing his part, i.e. the service to humanity. And some time you feel like he is alone in doing it. Their comparison is similar to Ricky Pointing Vs Brian Lara. Ricky has resources around him & he needs their give them direction. Lara is often a one man show.

    The comparison is for the sake of comparison, without any intent to enforce a conclusion and shows personal view.

  11. anita (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 4:54 pm

    Loved reading all seven…am going to miss this posting now that it is over. Thanks MB.

  12. Mubashir (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 8:43 pm

    He is a modern day saint as far as I am concern. People like him born in centuries. May Allah give him long life to serve Humanity. Ameen

  13. A for apple (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 10:52 pm

    Now that’s the best gift that came from karachi … Thanks a lot for blessing not only Pakistan but this word too with such a saintly man … we love him … and we are proud of him …!

    –Islamabad MB

  14. unaiza nasim (unregistered) on December 3rd, 2006 @ 1:53 am

    salute eidhi!
    No better gift could Pakistan ever give the world than Eidhi. Someone who works for cause, no religion, no cast, no boundaries…
    Long live the sopirit, long live Eidhi

  15. wasiq (unregistered) on December 3rd, 2006 @ 2:59 am

    @MB…..i enjoyed your extremely cautious camparison we all have great respect for Mr Edhi and Mrs Edhi….but allow me to ask you a very simple question we see Mr Jinnah from every corner of our society even after fifty eight years of separation through thick and thin of our challenged existence…where do you see Mr Edhi after a term of strong and sincere city government capable of providing basic health requirement of the people of karachi(pakistan)…??

  16. ash (unregistered) on December 3rd, 2006 @ 3:26 am

    Dear wasiq. As a Pakistani I have to place Jinnah ahead of Edhi too. But as a human being I would have to place Edhi first.
    Generations from now Jinnah will outsell Edhi in books sold and public memory. But that is not the true measure of a man.
    I think this is the most beautiful “gift” we have.

  17. adeelz (unregistered) on December 3rd, 2006 @ 6:16 am

    To all you Jinnah admirers and one particular who thinks that we have Karachi because of Jinnah, Karachi existed long before Jinnah…you can credit him with Pakistan, but that’s hardly worth a prize.

  18. ASH (unregistered) on December 3rd, 2006 @ 6:36 am

    We are giving out gifts , not prizes :)

  19. adeelz (unregistered) on December 3rd, 2006 @ 6:52 am

    @ash – OK – may Jinnah qualifies then – in the tradition of a Trojan Horse

  20. ash (unregistered) on December 3rd, 2006 @ 7:43 am

    Jinnah cant be blamed for the what other people have done. Pakistan would be perfect if it was not for pakistanis :)
    Actually if it were not for Jinnah Karachi would probably have been ruled by the BJP at this point. Given the way they have brought mumbai (Bombay in saner days) to its knees I actually think I now agree with the people who put Jinnah first.

  21. MB (unregistered) on December 3rd, 2006 @ 10:19 am


    Thanks for the kind words dear. ASH has replied a part of my answer. Thanks ASH. As for “where do you see Mr. Edhi after a term of strong and sincere city government capable of providing basic health requirement of the people of Karachi(Pakistan)…?? “

    Well, if that ever be the case, it will again be a victory for people like Edhi. In a sense that they made the govt. realize it’s first and foremost duty. And that it is people like him who took care of a nation in crisis. And as for history, history usually remembers decision makers and not the servants. People who were present in most critical times of history (which in our case was 1857-1947). Think in the context. It only means they are very different in many ways and the word “Gift” suits Edhi more.

    The comparison is all for the sake of word “Gift” as Wasiq pointed out and not the individual personalities. So think in that context.

    Let’s move onto more important questions like. What after Edhi. Do we have anyone else when he won’t be here anymore? Will the great services his organization provides will be the same or will it be the case like Hakim Syed. Do we, the young lot, are ever trying to copy Edhi, walk on his footsteps. Do we see any young personality coming up in recent times who we can call the future Edhi? These are more important and pending questions.

  22. turab (unregistered) on December 3rd, 2006 @ 2:01 pm

    MB, good job on redifining GIFT and how Edhi is better suited.

    It is an honour for us KHIETTEs to have Quaid’s Mazar in our city. REPRESENT!

  23. adeelz (unregistered) on December 4th, 2006 @ 1:43 am

    so this brings up a more fundamental question…when did things start to go wrong for pakistan and why. The idea of pakistan was flawed…assuming it was backed by good intentions, it lacked serious foresight. And if muslims and hindus were so different that their existence as citizens of one country was impossible as proposed in the two nation theory then what is one to make of Jinnah’s proclamation on August 11, 1947: “You may belong to any religion caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state. In due course of time, Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims will cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the state.” Further, the two nation theory ignored the plight of all those muslims who were to be left in india – and as a result, the equal if not greater number of muslims in India have had their loyalties brought into question and for good reason as most of them voted for Muslim League and partition. And the ideological basis for partition was torn in shreds with the secession of East Pakistan.

    Re. BJP ruling over Karachi, if you had free and fair elections in Pakistan today, you would not have Musharraf back in power, it would be the mullahs…certainly worse than BJP, especially for the shias, should we have a separate state for the shias in the shia majority areas of Pakistan?

  24. ash (unregistered) on December 4th, 2006 @ 3:42 am

    I didnt feel terrible about the loss of bangladesh. If you make someone feel they are not part of your future dont blame them if they leave.
    I hope that seperate countries might actually lead to better hindu-muslim relations maybe in our lifetimes.

  25. ash (unregistered) on December 4th, 2006 @ 3:43 am

    I dont believe it is shia pakistani’s who are most isolated from pakistan at this point.
    I think the ideological rift here is tribal and nontribal and unless we can create more goodwill there we will soon have another huge problem

  26. ash (unregistered) on December 4th, 2006 @ 3:44 am

    hehehe…we have had the secular quaid “civil war” on metrobloggs before you joined and we are completely in sync there.
    Just to touch on another common theme here, democratic Karachi would elect MQM, no-one else. Na mullah na us ka baap.

  27. ash (unregistered) on December 4th, 2006 @ 3:47 am

    completely agree with mb.

  28. wasiq (unregistered) on December 4th, 2006 @ 6:19 am

    @MB… mentioned Hakim sab,another one of my favorite personalities,after him the girls and the boys are trying very hard to keep the torch alive but you know it is so hard to fit in his shoes and run as he used to wear the imported ones…May his soul rest in peace…and God bless him for all he did for his karachi.

    Thinking in the context, you know that Mr & Mrs Edhi have been working here for a very long time but he only become known to most of karachi and the UN during the karachi riots and sectarian violence….which suggests that when the need completely dies down…He and His organisation may also lose the charter…..which is very sad indeed not only for this great humanitarian but for the city of karachi as well…

  29. MB (unregistered) on December 4th, 2006 @ 9:02 am

    You will agree that the need is not dying down for next 50 years, practically at least. So let’s keep it on that. And even in that case history doesn’t undo what has been done and achieved. As I have told you. He is too much into his work than any publicity. We all know his way of doing work.

    Guys we better stick to the topic. And currently i have no clue if any young “Edhi” is among us. The questions i raised in last para in last reply are the most important one. Does anyone know any young guy, on the footsteps of Edhi?

  30. Captain's Log (unregistered) on December 4th, 2006 @ 9:26 am

    How about if we move Quaid’s Mazar to Lahore or Islamabad (once they move the whole capital) and use that space for parking or some nice dating spot. Sounds like nice investment.

  31. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on December 4th, 2006 @ 9:47 am

    or what about we privatize Jinnah’s mazar to increase country’s reserves so that Shokat Govt can make further claim that Pakistani Econ rate is going high and high.?

    MB, There are many who have been doing great job to serve the people of this city. Many of them don’t like to be highlited as It’s said in Islam that there is no need of exhibition of Good deeds hence it’s beeen Allah and the person only. These people are infinite times better than people who comes on TV and claim that they are always ready to serve people of this country and have “dard” for women and other people of Pakistan.

  32. Glow Subz (unregistered) on December 4th, 2006 @ 11:31 am

    jinnah was a lame ass, i don’t know why u ppl r appreciating him too much looks like you all are felt in gay love with him.

  33. LAME (unregistered) on December 4th, 2006 @ 12:15 pm

    GLOW SUBZ, ARE U jealouz that we are not appreciating another lame ass[that is you]?

  34. ash (unregistered) on December 4th, 2006 @ 8:51 pm

    @gay subzi,
    Not everyone here is a man loser.

  35. wasiq (unregistered) on December 5th, 2006 @ 5:10 am

    should we have a separate state for the shias in the shia majority areas of Pakistan?

    Posted by: adeelz at December 4, 2006 01:43 AM

    @adeelz…..just for the record….here in the jamshed town shias have the better rides(cars,automobiles) and are very supportive,friendly….while the non-shias have the better girls….so we are fairly balanced…but this could be just my opinion point of view…..


  36. ash (unregistered) on December 5th, 2006 @ 6:34 am

    Seperate shia state? if enough people wanted that then im sure it would already have happened. I’ve never even heard it mentioned so i assume its just not a popular concept.

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