Umaima Ahmed LAHORE - Renowned social worker Abdul Sattar Edhi has refused to accept Rs10 million donation for his charity from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“I thanked PM Modi for his generous offer but have refused to accept the donation from him,” Edhi told The Nation yesterday.

When asked about the reason for refusing the amount, he said, “We can’t take money from them.”

Edhi looked after Geeta, the Indian girl who had crossed over the border into Pakistan 12 years ago. Upon Geeta’s safe return to India, PM Modi thanked Pakistan and announced a donation of 10 million Indian rupees to Edhi Foundation.

“Geeta was a good child and we have sent her with our best wishes. Since she has gone back home, we will not be having any contact with her in the future.”

Earlier Prime Minister Narendra Modi had sent a message to Edhi and his Foundation expressing gratitude for looking after Geeta, the deaf and mute girl. To express his gratitude to Edhi Foundation, he tweeted that he was going to donate 10 million rupees to the foundation. Modi had also praised Edhi and his foundation saying he was an apostle of kindness and the true torch-bearers of humanity.

Modi also called Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to thank him for looking after the child and ensuring her safe return to India.

Presently Edhi’s wife Bilqis Bano is in India to hand over Geeta to the Indian authorities. On the other hand in India, apart from a family from the eastern state of Bihar that Geeta identified from photographs, and later met in Delhi, at least two other families claimed her as their daughter. The India’s Foreign Minister Ms Swaraj said Geeta would be counseled in this regard and a DNA test to prove her lineage will be carried out. However, if the tests are negative, she will be placed in a shelter home until her family is traced, Indian officials said.

“Whether or not her parents are found, Geeta is our daughter. I thank Pakistan from the core of my heart for looking after her for so long,” she said.

Agencies add: The charity, which has a reputation for integrity and independence amid the murky world of politics, declined the cash. “We have declined with thanks to accept the donation by Indian Prime Minister Modi as taking donations from heads of states is not the policy,” Edhi official Anwar Kazmi said.

GEETA SYMBOL OF INDO-PAK

UNITY: PRANAB

Monitoring Desk adds: A day after returning to India from Pakistan where she was stranded for years, speech and hearing impaired Geeta met Indian President Pranab Mukherjee - who called her “a symbol of India-Pakistan unity”.

The Indian president said, “You are the daughter of both the countries... God has listened to your prayers.”

Mukherjee also complimented and thanked Bilqis Bano Edhi and Edhi Foundation for the good work they were doing.