Edhi’s offer to Indian PM ill-advised, ill-timed

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 11:41 AM, 24 Apr, 2021
Edhi’s offer to Indian PM ill-advised, ill-timed
Faisal Edhi.

Edhi Foundation chief’s letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi offering help in confronting the Covid-19 in his country raises questions about the PTI government’s policy towards our stubborn eastern neighbour that has consistently been subjecting Kashmiris to atrocities every day.

The letter, carried by the media, sympathized with India during this difficult time and offered help in the form of a fleet of 50 ambulances along with services to assist in addressing, and further circumventing the current health conditions.

Faisal Edhi, offered to personally lead and manage the humanitarian team from his organization.

The letter made it clear that the Foundation would not need any help from India and would provide the fuel, food, and other necessary amenities that its team will require.

"Our team consists of emergency medical technicians, office staff, drivers, and supporting staff”, said Mr Edhi.

The question is whether the letter has been sent to the infamous “Butcher of Muslims of Gujarat” with the approval of the PTI government. If so, should it be assumed that the government has changed its policy towards India and now has no objection to any NGO offering it help.

Also, will it be right to conclude that Pakistan has controlled the deadly disease and now has the capacity even to help an enemy country that is determined to crush the Kashmiris in the part of Kashmir under illegal occupation of the so-called world’s largest democracy.

Such humanitarian gestures in the prevailing situation will, for the world community, mean that Pakistan has accepted the status quo in occupied Kashmir and is now willing to take steps aimed to improve ties with the BJP-led country. In other words this will be very wrong message at a very wrong time. It will certainly dilute Pakistan’s consistent stand on Kashmir, a situation that will go to India’s favour.

The PTI government must clarify its position on the letter, and in case it has been sent without its consent the sender should be proceeded against.

There are no two opinions about the role being played by the Edhi Foundation in helping people facing various sorts of adversities. It is because of this role that people belonging to all walks of life trust it and donate it generously to enable it to reach out to more. Needless to point out that it is all because of people’s support that the Edhi Foundation has developed a huge setup.

But before keeping an eye over the situation caused by Covid-19 in India, the Foundation should take care of those needing support at home.

Death toll in Pakistan caused by this contagious disease is on the rise and the situation is worsening by the day. The government wants to contain it at the earliest but is avoiding resort to the ultimate solution – complete lockdown. 

The prime minister has repeatedly said that he is avoiding this option because it will badly affect the poor segments of society and daily wagers. However, in case the people did not adhere to the SOPs and the situation continued to worsen in the days ahead, the government will have to use even this bitter pill to ward off more fatalities.

Mr Faisal Edhi must bear in mind that charity begins at home. 

The ambulances and other services he has offered to India are needed more in Pakistan. There are countless hospitals short of resources to purchase ambulances and meet other needs.

If the Foundation helps such hospitals their performance will improve without delay and they will be in a better position to take care of people needing their help.

Ashraf Mumtaz

The writer is the Deputy Editor of 24 Digital.