KARACHI - World renowned social worker Abdul Sattar Edhi was held at the gunpoint and deprived of cash and valuables worth millions of rupees in Mithadar area here on Sunday.

Dacoits looted gold and cash worth hundreds of thousands of rupees from prominent philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi at his centre in Mithadar area.

According to Edhi centre spokesman, eight dacoits broke into Mithadar's Edhi Centre and made Abdul Sattar Edhi hostage while looting the centre.

Edhi said that dacoits woke him up and asked for keys of the closets. "They (dacoits) didn't manhandle me," he added.

Faisal Edhi, son of Abdul Sattar Edhi, said that the dacoits robbed gold and cash from two closets.

After holding the inhabitants hostage, the robbers spent over an hour going through cupboards and drawers making away with cash and valuables including cash as well as 5 kilograms of gold.

One veiled man was also among them said Faisal Edhi and added that probably some of our current or ex-employees were involved.

Cash and valuables looted by the robbers were donated to the Edhi Foundation for social work. The criminals managed to escape on motorbikes after the heist.

The Edhi head office is located on the ground floor of a 400 square yards ground-plus-two storey building. The upper floors are for the maternity home and for the unclaimed children while Sattar and his wife –Bilquies Edhi- were residing. The building itself is located in Mithadar, one of the most congested areas of the city. The streets are lined with shops of gold and clothes merchants and remain usually quite busy throughout the day.

Police said that Abdul Sattar Edhi was asleep at a room inside the centre when armed men clad in shalwar kameez and pent shirts entered the centre and asked from the female receptionist about the Abdul Sattar Edhi. They outlaws did not manhandle anyone and walked straight to the cupboard where the money and gold was kept.

There were no security guards present in the welfare centre at the time of the incident and neither any CCTV cameras installed. The police have collected finger prints from the robbery sight and have begun further investigation into the matter. A case has also been registered at the Kharadar police station on behalf of Faisal Edhi against unidentified persons.

Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah taking notice of robbery in Edhi Centre, directed police to bring the culprits to book immediately. He said that police have found clue in the robbery incident at Edhi centre and hoped the culprits to be brought to justice soon.

The chief minister directed Sindh Police Additional Inspector General (AIG) Ghulam Qadir Thebo to submit the report of robbery incident.

He directed the police officers to apprehend the culprits involved in the looting incident and bring them to justice.

The Chief Minister also directed the Additional Inspector General of Police Karachi to provide security to the Edhi Centre without any delay.

Leaders from the political parties and government officials including the prime minister and Sindh governor expressed condemned the incident.

The Kharadar SHO has also been suspended while an investigation team lead by Additional IG Karachi Ghulam Qadir Thebo was constituted to probe the case. “We had provided security to Mr. Edhi but he refused to accept it. We are now again trying to convince him for security and installation for the CCTV cameras,” said SSP Sheeraz Nazeer.

The robbers took advantage of Sunday because it was difficult to carry out such activity in crowded and congested locality during normal days.

In replying to a question, he said that the police was investigating the case from different aspect including the possibility of the involvement of insider or insiders. “Exact figure of the looted money and gold has to be ascertained but looted money was more than Rs20 million including foreign currency and gold was around five kg,” SSP Nazeer explained.

On the other hand, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expressed his deep shock over the robbery and said that ‘namaloom afrad’ were involved in it, and it was a bad name for their city and the country.

In a statement issued here, Bilawal expressed his deep regret that how a person could cross such limits and stole money meant for poor and deprived people. “Abdul Sattar Edhi spent his life for the service of people. Stooges in 1994 pressed him hard to become part of anti-PPP movement but he refused it,” he said. He appealed to the Sindh government to immediately arrest the culprits involved. The PPP chairman also urged the people to provide any information that could lead to the arrest of the culprits and said that a safe, prosperous and progressive Pakistan could be build with joint efforts.