KARACHI: Thousands of people, including high-profile politicians and government officials, gathered at the National Stadium on Saturday to attend the funeral prayers of Abdul Sattar Edhi – Pakistan’s most celebrated humanitarian who passed away last night in Karachi.
Edhi was given a guard of honour and a 19-gun salute by the Pakistan Army as his body was taken away from the National Stadium after his funeral.
His body was then taken to the Edhi village, where he was laid to rest.
Strict security measures were taken for the funeral, with all three chiefs of the armed forces in attendance alongside DG Rangers Bilal Akber, Corps Commander Karachi Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar and DG ISPR Lt Gen Asim Bajwa.
Also in attendance were President Mamnoon Hussain, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, his Sindh counterpart Qaim Ali Shah, Sindh Governor Ishratul Ibad and Sindh Police chief A.D. Khawaja.
Earlier, DG ISPR Asim Bajwa had said army, Rangers and other law enforcement agencies personnel will unite to ensure safety for the mourners.
As part of the city’s security plan, Karachi Traffic Police has designated different entry points to the stadium for public and VIPs.
“The public will be allowed to enter the National Stadium through gate number 4, 5 ,6 and 8,” said DIG Traffic Amir Sheikh.
“The VIPs and VVIPs, most of whom will be coming from areas of Defence, Clifton and Sharah-e-Faisal, will enter through the main gate, gate number 1 and 2,” he added.
Sheikh urged the public to coordinate with organisers since strict security measures had been taken.
“Edhi’s death is a big occasion not only nationally but also internationally and anyone can make wrong use of this situation,” he said.
“Therefore I strongly appeal to the public to coordinate.”
Security personnel from the army, Rangers and police commandos have been deployed around the National Stadium as well as on all routes leading to the venue.
According to a press release by the IG Sindh’s office, no one will be allowed to enter the venue without getting searched.
Edhi passed away at the age of 88 in Karachi on Friday night.
“He wished to be buried in the same clothes he used to wear. He also wanted to donate his body parts, but only his cornea can be donated as the rest of his organs were not in a healthy condition,” said Edhi’s son Faisal Edhi.
Edhi was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2013 but had been unable to get a transplant due to frail health. He was receiving treatment at the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT).