Abdul Sattar Edhi passed away on July 08, 2016 due to renal failure at the age of 88 years (1928-2016). A state funeral was organized for him on July 09, 2016 at the National Stadium in Karachi. Both Civil and Military leadership offered his Nama-e-Janaza. Originally Mufti Muhammed Munib was chosen to lead the prayers but when he declined the Army took over the arrangements, which included the Unit Maulvi in his traditional khaki robe. Edhi Sahib dedicated his life for the downtrodden segments of the society. Once he was robbed at gunpoint. One of the robbers identified him and pleaded with his companions for the return of the loot, when they asked for a reason he said, ‘when we die in a Police encounter only Edhi will bury us with dignity’. The valuables were returned un-taxed.

On August 19, 1988 about 28 years ago another state funeral was held in Islamabad for a person who destroyed the country and held the entire nation hostage for 11 years and 43 days (July 05, 1977 – Aug 17, 1988). A marble moment was also built from state funds for his worldly remains outside the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad. His death anniversary was regularly commemorated every year on August 17, 1988 participated by the entire PML(N) leadership. When Nawaz Sharif’s government was restored by Nasim Hasan Shah leading the Supreme Court, he together with Ijaz-ul-Haq went straight to Zia’s grave for ‘fateha’. It was such a blatant contradiction of democracy that I decided to write an article titled, “Victory of Restoration”, which was published in the Nation. The restored PM wrote back expressing a desire for a face-to-face meeting to understand the changed scenario.

Then the tussle started between the two establishment henchmen. President Ghulam Ishaq Khan (GIK) on one hand the ‘Hired Baboo’ and Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif the ‘Hired Siasi’ on the other while the nation helplessly watched. It was Qatil-e-Jumhooriat Zia’s 8th amendment that was the main bone of contention. Finally General Waheed Kakar, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) intervened and asked both of them to resign. Before going home GIK got his pension raised which prompted Ijaz-ul-Haq to seek raise of his father’s emoluments also. In utter disgust I wrote that all usurpers who enter corridors of power through the back door deserve no retirement benefits, they should be punished not thanked for their misdeeds.

This is a national tragedy that a population of 200 million has no role models mainly because our zeros are projected as heroes and vice versa. Those who rob and plunder and those who serve and sacrifice are bracketed together. Edhi earned his state funeral though he had prepared his own grave, while Zia did not. Finally Nawaz Sharif decided to keep away from the death anniversary commemorate of the tyrant after he fell out with the establishment.

It is widely believed that the Government of Punjab led by its Chief Minister (CM) Nawaz Sharif had organized Zia’s state funeral and covered all the expenses. At that time Mian Sahib was an establishment loyalist. After the death of the dictator he wanted to be the heir of his tarnished political legacy as he had always sided with him in his anti-democracy activities. In the Zia-Junejo tussle he was clearly in the dictator’s camp hoping to become PM himself that he eventually succeeded not once but thrice.

A funeral is a final send off for the departed soul where his/her worldly deeds pass through public scrutiny. The father of the nation had a state funeral, which he rightly deserved for his selfless devotion and struggle for the creation of Pakistan. No one has been able to answer my question as to why a state funeral was denied to Shaheed-e-Millat Liaquat Ali Khan. Relying on memory I recall the final send off in the mid sixties for another great leader of the Sub-Continent called Allama Inayatullah Khan Mashriqi the founder of the Khaksar Tehrik. As a tribute to his struggle his face was kept open. The funeral procession passed through the city and he was buried at the Movement headquarter in Ichra, Lahore. Though it was not a state funeral but it was massive.

As a nation we have been repeatedly manipulated and deliberately derailed yet the struggle goes on. The people of Pakistan refuse to give up despite several setbacks. The founding fathers were cornered and pushed out of the arena by the colonial establishment (Khaki, Baboos, Qazis). They then produced their own ‘Siasis’ like the Chaudhris of Gujrat and Sharif’s of Lahore hoping subservience. While the Chaudhri’s remain obedient, the Sharif’s decided to have it all and create their own establishment of loyalists. The ‘Baboos’ and ‘Qazis’ in Punjab responded but the ‘Khakis’ did not resulting in confrontation that continues till today.

Heroes earn their wings by service to the people while zeroes depend on propaganda and misinformation campaigns. Abdul Sattar Edhi’s funeral would have been much larger had the state not intervened, as the mourners were genuine while Zia’s much smaller had the government of Mian Sahib prop it up for personal gains. In the end no one can escape final accountability. In the words of Iqbal, ‘World awaits the day of Judgement’.