KARACHI - A gloomy Pakistan on Saturday bade farewell to national hero Abdul Sattar Edhi as tens of thousands of people attended the state funeral at Karachi’s National Stadium on Saturday.

He was laid to rest in the clothes worn by him at the time of his death at Edhi village, the same place from where he initiated his work to serve the humanity.

He lost his struggle for life at Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation at the age of 92 on Friday. He had been suffering from kidney failure since 2013 and was being treated at the Institute for past 10 years.

Besides top civil and military leadership, thousands of people from all walks of life reached the National Stadium in Karachi to pay respect to Edhi. Edhi’s family members and relatives, including his son Faisal Edhi, also attended the funeral prayers, led by Maulana Ahmed Khan Niazi. The occasion was given the status of state funeral.

The coffin, wrapped in the national flag, was escorted from Kharadar to Edhi Village by a contingent of Pakistan Navy. Elaborated arrangements were made for the funeral. Strict security measures were also taken for the occasion. It was for the second time after Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s funeral that any personality’s coffin was brought on gun carrier with a guard of honour from the contingent of naval forces.

A guard of honour and a 19-gun salute presented following his funeral prayers.

Strict security measures were taken during the funeral and burial. The soldiers of the Pakistan Army took entire control of the security at the National Stadium and Edhi Village.

Aerial surveillance was also conducted by the army at the stadium during the funeral. Besides the army, Rangers, police and commandoes of the Special Security Unit performed security duties while the participants of the funeral prayers were asked to enter the stadium by using walkthrough gates after manual checking. Karachi traffic police had also designated different entry points for public and VIPs.

The body of Abdul Sattar Edhi was taken from the National Stadium to Edhi Village where people alongside the road paid tribute to the greatest humanitarian of the country for his selfless services.

Edhi’s body was placed in the grave by his son Faisal Edhi while Pakistan Army and the Sindh police gave a guard of honour at Edhi Village. Floral wreaths were laid on the grave on behalf of the President, the COAS, the Sindh governor, the chief minister and other senior politicians and military officials by the army and the police to acknowledge his sacrifices.

President Mamnoon Hussain, Chairman Senate Raza Rabbani, Federal Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, PPP senior leader Nisar Khuhro, MQM’s senior leaders, Farooq Sattar, Ali Raza Abidi, many philanthropists and social workers, including Ramzan Chhipa and Sarim Burney, offered funeral prayers of legendary Abdul Sattar Edhi.

Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Naval Chief Admiral Zakaullah, ISPR DG Lt-Gen Asim Bajwa, Karachi Corps Commander Lt-Gen Naveed Mukhtar, Rangers DG Maj-Gen Bilal Akbar and Sindh IGP Allah Dino Khawaja also attended the funeral.

TWO BLIND PEOPLE GIVEN EDHI’S CORNEAS

The corneas donated by Abdul Sattar Edhi were given to two people at SIUT hospital. The SIUT spokesperson said they could not disclose the names of the beneficiaries under the policy of the organisation. “Both of them had a problem in one each of their eyes, so corneas were donated to them,” he added.

Later, while talking to media persons, Faisal Edhi said the nation had lost a great asset. While taking his last breath Edhi was worried about the problems of the nation, he added.

He announced the soyem of the Edhi would be held at Memon Masjid, Kharadar, at 9am on Sunday (today).

The funeral prayers of Edhi in absentia were offered in various cities of the country. Overseas Pakistanis also expressed deep grief over the death of the greatest humanitarian of the country.

Meanwhile, the federal government decided to print picture of Abdul Sattar Edhi on the postal ticket. The Prime Minister himself directed the authorities to issue the stamp with his picture.