KARACHI - Although Abdul Sattar Edhi always lived among the masses and never carried a guard or any other security with him, his funeral was hijacked by the VIPs, preventing many people especially the ones the epic humanitarian served all his life from entering National Stadium.

It is worth mentioning here that top civil and military leadership, including President Mamnoon Hussain, the services’ chiefs, Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani and the chief ministers of Sindh and Punjab and federal as well as provincial ministers, offered the funeral prayers of the most celebrated philanthropist of the country by standing in the front row.

As per Edhi Sahib’s legacy, the poor should have been at the front rows and VIPs at the last, but it was sad to see that VIPs hijacked the occasion pushing the poor back and leaving most of them out of the stadium.

Strict security measures were taken by the authorities around the stadium and the lanes leading to it and blockades put in place at around three kms from the stadium gates.

Army, Rangers, police and other security officials were deployed at the site to ensure foolproof security of the mourners’ gathering. The public was allowed to enter from only one gate of the stadium while all other gates were opened for VIPs.

One of the visitors, Adil Ahmed, who had come along with his children, complained they had to cover a distance of more than two kilometres from Dalmia to reach National Stadium.

He asked why such strict security measures with snipers positioned at different buildings and helicopters were hovering over the venue, were arranged for a person who always discarded all these VIP protocols.

Another visitor, Mohsin Khan, cited installation of mobile jammers as the reason of low attendance at the funeral prayers and said many avoided coming to the stadium as they thought absence of mobile signals could create a problem for them in case of any emergency.

“The strict security measures created panic among the citizens who refrained from coming to the National Stadium for the funeral prayers,” he said.

Another factor for low attendance was that the army and Rangers had taken over the stadium a night before since the COAS was coming there. There were more people outside than inside the stadium and no one was allowed to enter after 10am.

Above all, the protocol mafia of the chief ministers of Punjab and Sindh stopped the people from moving towards the stadium by blocking the roads.

Last but not the least the funeral vehicle had to travel a long distance from National Stadium to Edhi Village for the burial.

However, the people who could not attend the funeral paid homage to the humble hero by standing on roadside of their residences along the way to Edhi Village at Sohrab Goth.

The participants said they were allowed to enter the site only after showing their CNICs and those who could not bring their ID cards with them were denied entry.