Ummid Assistant

Jamia Millia launches courses on China, Afghanistan

IGNOU launches value education programme for teachers

Welcome Guest! You are here: Home Life & Style

Abdul Sattar Edhi: the salve on Pakistan's wounds

Sunday December 04, 2011 06:56:11 PM, Rahul Dass, IANS

New Delhi: In conflict-hit Pakistan, his men are amongst the first to reach when terror strikes or when disaster does. Abdul Sattar Edhi, 83, who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for the 16th time and whose charity organisation already has branches in 13 countries, says he will be happy to train Indians too.

The renowned Edhi Foundation attempts to reach out to all corners of Pakistani society, running hospitals, maternity centres, destitute homes, welfare centres, field and air ambulance services, blood and drug banks, missing persons services... the list goes on.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Nov 28 nominated Edhi, one of Pakistan's most revered men, for the Nobel Peace Prize.

"I am from India," Edhi told IANS in an interview over telephone from Karachi.

"I am ready to train Indians," said the 83-year-old who was born in India's Gujarat state and is based in Karachi.

He said that a group of people from Mumbai had got in touch with his foundation to start work.

The Ramon Magsaysay award winner recalled that former prime minister I.K. Gujral had asked him to come and work in India.

"We today serve people in 13 countries, have 1,800 ambulances and 450 centres spread across the country," Edhi said.

To ensure speed and efficiency, Edhi foundation operates its own fleet of aircraft.

"We have three aeroplanes and a helicopter. We plan to acquire a new helicopter as the existing one is getting old."

Pakistan is hugely dependent on the Edhi Foundation.

For years, Edhi ambulances have been racing to pick up victims of terror attacks across Pakistan.

They respond during disasters equally promptly.

On Oct 8, 2005, when a 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck Pakistan, the Edhi Foundation was right at the forefront of the rescue and rehabilitation work. More than 70,000 people were killed, mainly in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

The nature of the work in conflict zones has meant that not everybody is supportive. On Aug 20, for instance, during sectarian violence in Karachi, an Edhi ambulance was attacked in the Orangi area.

Peter Oborne, a documentary maker who travelled with an Edhi ambulance driver, wrote in The Telegraph in April: "...suddenly a call would come through from the operations room: emergency! We'd scramble into the ambulance and tear off, klaxon blaring, cutting our way through the Karachi traffic. Sometimes we'd be coming to the aid of someone who'd had a heart attack, sometimes to a traffic accident, but more often to the scene of violence".

Ambulance driver Saleem, who had been working for the foundation for over two decades, told the newspaper that he had been one of the first at the scene at a failed assassination attempt on former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in October 2007 in Karachi in which 130 people were killed.

The 'charity empire' had humble beginnings.

Edhi's first ambulance was an old vehicle which he called the poor man's van. He would go around the city providing medical help and burying unclaimed bodies.

The Edhi Foundation website describes him as a man who is always dressed in grey homespun cotton, has a hands-on approach to work, sweeps his own room and even cleans the gutter if need be.

"Apart from one room, which he uses for his living quarters, the rest of the building serves as his workplace in Mithadar, a locality of old Karachi that is full of narrow streets and congested alleyways," the website said.

The statistics speak for the work done by Edhi's organisation.

The foundation has so far trained over 40,000 nurses. Some 20,000 abandoned babies have been saved and about a million babies have been delivered in the Edhi maternity homes.

His secretary Anwar Kazmi told IANS that Edhi had been nominated 16 times for the Nobel Peace Prize and bore no grudge that he had never got it.

(Rahul Dass can be contacted at





Bookmark and Share

Home | Top of the Page


Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of

Comments powered by DISQUS







Top Stories

'Deep freeze' in US-Pakistan ties; talk of future Indian role

As US-Pakistan ties go into "deep freeze" over the NATO strike along the Afghanistan border that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, Islamabad has refused to participate  

Enough is enough, says Pakistan on spilling citizens' blood

Growing US-Pakistan tension worries Kashmiris


  Most Read

Manmohan Singh, the reformer, is back

In contrast to the courage shown by the prime minister and the party in charting a new course, the opposition has again exposed itself as comprising opportunistic curmudgeons with a blinkered outlook  

Sukna scam: Lt. Gen Avadesh Prakash held guilty, dismissed

An army court martial here Saturday found former military secretary, Lt.Gen. (retd) Avadesh Prakash, guilty on three counts and dismissed  

Avadesh Prakesh senior-most officer to be dismissed from Army

The genesis of the Sukna land scam


  News Pick

Telangana remains a distant dream

In October, everything had come to a standstill in Telangana as the movement for a separate state for this underdeveloped region of Andhra Pradesh was  

Bhopal survivors beaten back from rail blockade

Bhopal gas tragedy survivors who blockaded rail tracks here Saturday to mark the 27th anniversary of the industrial disaster were  

Sebastian Coe's effigy burnt on Bhopal gas tragedy's 27th anniversary

Russian Muslim region MPs seek alcohol ban

In a move to prevent traffic accidents and alcohol poisoning, MPs in Russia's predominantly Muslim region Ingushetia have drafted a bill which, if passed, would ban the sale of alcohol in the state. The lawmakers 


Picture of the Day

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh and the Emeritus Senior Minister, Mr. Goh Chok Tong, unveiled the bust and the Marker of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, at Asian Civilizations Museum, in Singapore on November 20, 2011.

(Photo: M. Asokan )



RSS  |  Contact us


| Quick links



Subscribe to

Ummid Assistant






About us




Government Schemes










Contact us





    Disclaimer | Terms of Use | Advertise with us | Link Exchange is part of the Awaz Multimedia & Publications providing World News, News Analysis and Feature Articles on Education, Health. Politics, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Industry etc. The articles or the views displayed on this website are for public information and in no way describe the editorial views. The users are entitled to use this site subject to the terms and conditions mentioned.

2010 Awaz Multimedia & Publications. All rights reserved.