11:43 pm - Saturday September 26, 2020

Pakistan charity boss Abdul Sattar Edhi ‘heartbroken’ after robbery

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Abdul Sattar Edhi, 86, was asleep when a gang of armed men raided the Karachi slum building that serves as his residence and charity headquarters.

They made off with gold, silver and cash worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in the raid early on Sunday.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and opposition leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari both condemned the robbery.

Mr Edhi is one of Pakistan’s most revered figures and has spent a lifetime building up its largest health charity. The Edhi Foundation provides a broad range of free social services, including ambulances, orphanages and support for the elderly and disabled.

“I am heartbroken. After everything I have done, I never thought I’d be violated like this inside my own home,” Mr Edhi told the BBC.His son Faisal Edhi said: “My father is fine, but deeply saddened by this incident. He was tearful yesterday. It’s not about the money or the valuables they took away. But his pride has been violated.”

Many people took to social media to voice their anger at the robbery, which correspondents say is shocking despite the notoriously high crime rates in Karachi.

Mubashar Lucman, a leading presenter on the ARY News channel, said: “If a person of his stature is not safe in this country then what system are we talking about.”

“It is heart breaking then what happened with our asset, our saviour, our angel…. Abdul Sattar Edhi saab,” tweeted journalist Fereeha Idrees.

“Imagine what would have happened if Edhi got the Nobel Peace Prize and lost it in the robbery in his center,” said another message.

Many messages urged people to donate to Edhi because of the robbery, but some others questioned why so much money and valuables had been kept in his residence.

Mr Edhi said as well as some cash kept for emergencies, the money and valuables included deposits entrusted to the foundation for safekeeping.

He said the robbers had walked straight to the locker where the money and gold was kept and demanded the key.

“I thought they came to ask me about the Edhi centre but they started asking me about money. I don’t understand how they knew that everything was kept in the cupboard,” Mr Edhi told the Express Tribune newspaper.

“Please protect my Pakistan where VIPs are guarded & Philanthropist are looted & abused on gun point,” he said in a tweet.

Police are hunting for the robbers but have yet to make any arrests.

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