Humanity

Pakistan’s Edhi Foundation offers assistance to India amid steep rise in COVID infections

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Edhi Ambulances File photo

A Pakistan-based humanitarian organization has offered to help the people of India manage the COVID pandemic. Faisal Edhi, Edhi Foundation’s chairman, on Friday wrote a letter to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting permission to enter India with a team of volunteers and 50 ambulances to help assist in the pandemic.

In his letter, Faisal Edhi said that he seeks to lead the team himself.

“We are very sorry to hear about the exceptionally heavy impact that the pandemic has had on your country, where a tremendous number of people are suffering immensely…. we would like to extend our help in the form of a fleet of 50 ambulances along with our services to assist you in addressing, and further circumventing, the current health conditions,” the letter addressed to Modi said.

Faisal Edhi said that he only seeks permission from the Indian government to enter with the ambulances and a team, including emergency medical technicians, office staff, drivers, and supporting staff.

“We will arrange all the necessary supplies that our team needs to assist the people of India. Importantly, we are not requesting any other assistance from you, as we are providing the fuel, food, and necessary amenities that our team will require,” he said.

“We only request your permission to enter India as well as any necessary guidance from the local administration and police department,” the letter said.

Faisal Edhi spearheads one of the largest charitable ambulance networks in Pakistan. In the past, the foundation has been involved in several humanitarian efforts linked with India and Pakistan, including the return of deaf and mute girl Geeta who had been stuck in Pakistan for 15 years.

Pertinently, in October 2015, the charity foundation Edhi turned down Rs one crore donation announced by Narendra Modi for taking care of deaf and mute Indian girl Geeta during her over a decade-long stay in the country.

Prominent philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi, who is the founder and head of the Edhi Foundation, thanked Modi for announcing the donation but declined to accept it for his charity.

“Abdul Sattar Edhi has thanked Modi and politely declined to accept his announced financial help,” Edhi Foundation Spokesman Anwar Kazmi was quoted as saying by the Dawn. Prime Minister Modi yesterday met Geeta, who returned to India to an emotional welcome, and hailed Karachi-based Edhi family for taking care of her with love and affection for so many years.

Complimenting Sattar Edhi’s wife Bilqis Bano for taking care of Geeta with love and affection, Modi announced that India would give the Edhi Foundation Rs one crore as a token of appreciation, not just for taking care of Geeta, but also for the wonderful work that the Foundation has been doing.

“What the Edhi family has done is too priceless to be measured but I am happy to announce a contribution of Rs 1 crore to their foundation,” Modi had said.

Geeta was reportedly just 7 or 8 years old when she was found sitting alone on the Samjhauta Express by the Pakistan Rangers 15 years ago at the Lahore railway station. She was adopted by the Edhi Foundation’s Bilquees Edhi and lived with her in Karachi.

 

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