Ray of hope for Pakistani students stranded in China

Edhi Foundation seeks govt permission for evacuating students from Wuhan

By: News Desk      Published: 08:27 PM, 9 Feb, 2020
Ray of hope for Pakistani students stranded in China

Abdul Sattar Edhi Foundation, the charity that is known for its unprecedented humanitarian services, has offered to evacuate Pakistani students from China.

It has also written a letter to Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi seeking formal permission to arrange charted flights for the Pakistani students stranded in China’s Wuhan city, the epicenter of coronavirus outbreak.

In the letter, Faisal Edhi, managing trustee of the foundation and the son of late Abdul Sattar Edhi, has informed the minister that a large number of Pakistani students have sought help from the organization.

“The Pakistani students [trapped in Wuhan city of Hubei province] are in our contact and we want them to evacuate from China,” the letter reads.

Edhi stated that coronavirus has been spreading rapidly, causing stress and fear among the Pakistani students, who are also facing an acute food shortage.

“Most of Pakistani students are not infected and we can save them.”

Faisal Edhi said the charity wants to evacuate the students as many countries, including India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, have already brought their residents back.

Edhi Foundation’s top official asked the federal government to grant them permission to evacuate the Pakistani students and designate an area where they will be stayed for quarantining them.

Upon grant of permission, he said, the Foundation would contact airlines and arrange chartered flights to evacuate the students at the earliest.

Edhi Foundation runs the world's largest volunteer ambulance network, along with homeless shelters, animal shelter, rehab centres, and orphanages across Pakistan. It also has an air ambulance.

The vast network of this foundation is spread almost throughout Pakistan and it has relentlessly been providing humanitarian services in the country.

The organisation has also been at the forefront in every major calamity that struck Pakistan. It also has several offices overseas which help Pakistanis needing to be flown overseas for urgent medical attention. In addition to providing their regular services, the overseas foundation offices often help with community needs as necessary.

Thanks to its vast capacity and skilled workers, the organization has also been taking part in rescue and relief operations in many other countries as well in times of need. In 2005, the Edhi Foundation provided $100,000 in aid to relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina.

The Edhi Foundation was founded by Abdul Sattar Edhi - a noble soul, a devoted philanthropist, and a humanitarian who lives in the heart of every Pakistani for his life-long services and unbelievable dedication. Edhi received several awards, though he never sought any recognition.

Born in Bantva town of Gujarat in India in 1928, Edhi moved to Karachi where he established a free dispensary for Karachi's poor. His charitable activities expanded in 1957 when an Asian flu epidemic swept through the port city. Donations allowed him to buy his first ambulance the same year. He later expanded his charity network with the help of his wife Bilquis Edhi.

Over his lifetime, the Edhi Foundation expanded, backed entirely by private donations, which included establishing a network of 1,800 minivan ambulances. By the time of his death, Edhi was registered as a parent or guardian of nearly 20,000 children.

File Photo of late Abdul Sattar Edhi, the founder of Edhi Foundation.

Edhi is known as Angel of Mercy and is considered to be Pakistan's most respected and legendary figure. In 2013, The Huffington Post claimed that he might be "the world's greatest living humanitarian".