The passing away of the great humanitarian, Abdul Sattar Edhi has left many people sad not only in Pakistan but all over the world. As social media picked up the news and spread the word, messages were exchanged by SMS, WhatsApp and other means - young and old, those who knew him and those who had only heard of him and his work - expressing sorrow and heartbreak. “One of the country’s great heroes” is the well deserved, consensus opinion.
Now that he is no more with us, it is even more important that the petition addressed to the Prime Minister, which has been circulating for quite some time, be taken note of by those who in the corridors of power – and even those who are not as they have enough clout. Thousands of people have signed and are still signing, a request/demand that the new Islamabad International airport be named after this selfless human being who spent his life looking after the underprivileged of the country, setting a precedent which will be hard to follow.
While his work with Edhi Homes was well known and was originally meant to provide services to the distressed and ailing destitute, there is another aspect of his work which is not. Animals that were treated cruelly by their owners and had become lame, crippled or badly wounded started ending up in Edhi centers. These also include missing animals and unwanted pets which have no other place to go, In view of the increasing number of such animals, the Edhi Foundation established a separate treatment unit along super highway, Karachi which has now grown into a small zoo. Veterinary doctors look after these animals along with other volunteer staff.
Naming important places after political entities takes place on a regular basis and a change in government often means that a change of name of these places takes place as well, as each political party wants to honour its own ‘heroes.’ By naming the Islamabad International Airport after Edhi sahib at least the name will remain permanent and also remind generations to come of what greatness is made of and maybe inspire others to follow in his footsteps. Born on January 1, 1928 in united India, Edhi grew up taking care of his ailing mother who suffered from paralysis and diabetes. She taught him a daily lesson by giving him two paisa, one to spend on himself and one on someone less fortunate. This simple lesson shaped him into the great man that he became and whom millions are mourning. If you have not yet signed the petition please do so and encourage others to do so as well.