KARACHI Pakistan – Famed philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi, the founder of one of Pakistan’s biggest welfare organisations, died in hospital late on Friday, his family said.
The announcement triggered a wave of accolades on TV and social media – Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif paid tribute to “a great servant of humanity,” and said he would receive a posthumous presidential medal and a state funeral.
The 88-year-old’s reputation for austerity and generosity resonated deeply in Pakistan, a country of 190 million people whose government is riddled with corruption and where public health and welfare services are weak.
“He was the real manifestation of love for those who were socially vulnerable, impoverished, helpless and poor,” Sharif said.
The Edhi Foundation runs a vast fleet of ambulances, orphanages and medical clinics across the country. Edhi’s funeral on Saturday is expected to be one of the biggest in Pakistan’s history.
Edhi had been ill for several years after suffering kidney failure, Edhi’s son Faisal told journalists in Karachi. “He will be buried at Edhi Village tomorrow,” he said.