‘Pakistan’s Mother Teresa’, Edhi breathed his last on 8th of last month. In an effort to acknowledge his selfless services including world’s largest ambulance network, to the Pakistani nation over a stretch almost as long as Pakistan’s existence itself, he was entitled to a state funeral and thus, was given one.

As I sat in front of the TV screen watching his funeral prayer, I couldn’t help but scoff as the country’s high-profile officials took their places in the front two rows alongside Edhi’s son, Faisal Edhi.  Ignorant of the plight of a common Pakistani man that Edhi relentlessly worked to alleviate, they stood there purely out of necessity that arose from being in their respective offices.  Several feet behind them, general public flooding in sheer reverence for the man who surrendered his desires in the struggle of fulfilling their basic needs, were filed in rows. They came flanked by security personnel and left the premises surrounded by vehicles, each with a policeman’s head and the muzzle of his gun sticking out. Their very presence betrayed the essence of Edhi’s humble life and his legacy.

People for whom Edhi’s heart ached were pushed behind in his funeral to ensure security of the individuals, whose fleet of security entourage bars Edhi ambulances to provide way for them almost every other day. Edhi fought against the persecution of people by the dignitaries of the country, his entire life. Yet, in his funeral, the lives he touched during his philanthropic journey were again persecuted by the few dignitaries that were in attendance. Edhi’s soul must have been in agony as long as his flag-donned coffin laid in front of the same faces, whose selfish and corrupt practices left more and more people for Edhi to care for with each passing day. The VIP culture that could never enter his humble two-room abode impregnated the air of the National Stadium, Karachi on the day of his burial, creeping into his coffin. The man who didn’t feel unprotected once while roaming on the streets all across Pakistan asking for charity was bade farewell to amidst tight security.

Edhi’s humanity wasn’t exclusive; it reached out to anyone in need regardless of their gender, ethnicity, caste, political affiliation or religion. However, it’s very unfortunate that his funeral didn’t give a fair chance to his mourners belonging to faiths other than Islam, of paying their last respects to the philanthropist who embraced them all. Those wishing to be a part of the funeral of the man who welcomed everyone in his sanctuary through the same door transcending all grounds of discrimination, were made to pass through different gates determined by the worth of their lives to the State.

As Edhi departed this world, we showed him how hopeless we are as a nation. He served us all his life and when the opportunity of being of some service to him presented itself, we failed to uphold his principles. We failed to honor him; we laid him to rest in a manner that was in utter contrast to how he chose to live. We put his legacy to shame. He must be very disappointed in Pakistan.