Bilquis Edhi, the better half of the late philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi, is no more. The mother of thousands of orphans passed away on Friday 15th April 2022 in Karachi at the age of 74-years. Bilquis Edhi was the caretaker of hundreds of abandoned children. The whole nation is saddened by this news. She breathed her last breath in a private hospital in Karachi. Bilquis Edhi was suffering from multiple ailments like lungs infection, poor heart condition, Arthritis, and Diabetes. Her funeral prayers were held on 16th April 2022 after the Zuhur prayers. The funeral was attended by millions of people. The high-ups of the Sindh government, the celebrities, and notable people from all walks of life attended the funeral. She was laid to rest in the Mewa Shah Graveyard (Qabristan) in Karachi. A resolution was passed in the Sindh assembly to honor the late Bilquis Edhi in recognition of her untiring services to the nation and its children.
Bilquis Bano Edhi was born on 14th August 1947 in Bantwa, British India. At the time of independence, she moved to Karachi with her family. She was a nurse by profession and was named The Mother of Pakistan because of her Public services. She married Abdulsattar Edhi in 1965. Since then, Bilquis stood still with her husband by completely understanding the mission of her husband. Mr. Abdul Sattar Edhi died on 8th July 2016.
The whole nation and the whole world are mourning the death of this selfless mother. Even the Pakistani celebrities took to their social media handles to pay tribute and respect to this legend, Bilquis Edhi. Celebrities like Samina Peerzada, Humayoun Saeed, Adnan Siddiqui, Osman Khalid Butt, Hadiqa Kiani, Quratulain Baloch (QB), Ayesha Omar, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, Komal Rizvi, Adnan Malik, Samar MinAllah Khan, and many others paid tribute in their style and prayed for the departed soul.
The humanitarian efforts of Bilquis Edhi can never be forgotten. The humanitarian assistance of the Edhi Foundation and its founders, Abdulsattar Edhi and Bilquis Edhi, are well appreciated across borders as well. Bilquis Edhi was known as “The mother of Pakistan”. One notable incident from her life is the adoption of a differently-abled Indian girl Geeta. Geeta was found sitting alone on the Samjhota Express. The Pakistan Rangers found Geeta at the Lahore Railway Station when she was just in her seventh or eighth year. Bilquis Edhi adopted this child and took care of her. In the year 2015, Geeta was brought from Pakistan to India. This is the reason why even the Indian embassy in Pakistan also expressed their grief and condolences on the passing away of Bilquid Edhi. In a tweet, the Indian embassy stated that the Indian High Commission expresses its heartfelt condolences on the demise of the Bilquis Edhi. Edhi Foundation’s and Bilquis Edhi’s humanitarian efforts are well appreciated across borders, RIP.
Edhi Foundation’s main services include rescue and ambulance services, soup kitchens, family planning centers, nursing homes, childcare, and adoption services. Apart from these services, one of the most important works of the Edhi Foundation, and specially Bilquis Edhi, is the “Jhoola” project. The Jhoola project became almost the second identity maker for the famous philanthropist Bilquis Edhi. Under the Jhoola project, Jhoolas were placed outside Edhi homes and Edhi centers. The purpose of these Jhoolas was that the people with unwanted children wouldn’t kill them but leave them to the foundation anonymously and safely. The Edhi foundation maintained and managed this project despite severe criticism by the conventional majority in the country. This criticism maintained that these efforts are like going against religious teachings, some of the critics even resorted to issuing fatwas. Despite the criticism, this project alone helped save more than 42,000 unwanted children.
Bilquis Edhi was awarded various national and international awards for her untiring humanitarian assistance. She was awarded the Mother Teresa Memorial International Award for Social Justice in 2015. In the year-1986 she was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service along with her husband late Mr. Abdulsattar Edhi. Bilquis Edhi also won the Lenin Peace Prize from Russia. Bilquis Edhi was also declared the “Person of the Decade” by an international organization along with the US ethicist Stephen Soldz and UN rapporteur on human rights Professor Yanghee Lee.
People across Pakistan are mourning the demise of Bilquis Edhi but we only hope that those in power would try to support the legacy of Abdulsattar Edhi and Bilquis Edhi. The work of Edhis is now being continued by their sons and daughters. Bilquis Edhi was a ray of hope for millions of abandoned children. These abandoned children found shelter, home, and nurture with Bilquis Edhi. We hope that may the people in influence remember the legacy of humility, perseverance, and grace left by Abdulsattar Edhi and Bilquis Edhi.