The ‘Mother of Pakistan’, Bilquis Bano Edhi, wanted to set up special higher secondary schools for the Edhi Home children, as their self-respect was very dear to her, and she wanted them to achieve all goals in their lives.
Prof. Aurangzeb Al Hafi, who claims to holding the singular privilege of being considered as her third son by the great humanitarian, says that Bilquis Edhi had expressed this desire many a time in the family gatherings, regretting that her children had to face discrimination, and sometimes insults, at the hands of their classmates for being coming from the Edhi Home.In a special talk with APP, the research scientist and arch-phenomenologist, Prof. Hafi said that over 42,000 unwanted babies had been provided with their right to live through the jhoola initiative of Abdul Sattar Edhi and his wife Bilquis Edhi. The initiative was launched in Karachi in 1950s initially, to help those parents, who could not afford raising their babies, or did not want to keep them for any reasons.
However, when the incidents of discovery of newborns’ bodies from roadside garbage dumps, dark alleys and other such points, increased in Karachi and other major urban centres in the 1990s and afterwards, the Bilquis Edhi also intensified her war against infanticide with her ‘jhoola deterrent’.
She got placed hundreds of jhoolas at Edhi Foundation centres across Pakistan. “The sight of bodies of such infants, eaten by dogs and rats, always caused intense pain to me,” Prof. Hafi quoted Bilquis Edhi as having said. The campaign against infanticide by the mother of orphans did not go unnoticed by the world. She was awarded the Hilal-e-Imtiaz by Pakistan, the Lenin Peace Prize by Russia, the Mother Teresa Memorial International Award for Social Justice, as well as the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service.
The great humanitarian’s services were recognised by the world again in 2021 when she was declared the ‘Person of two Decades’, along with UN rapporteur on human rights Prof. Yanghee Lee, and the US ethicist Stephen Soldz, by an international organisation in the course of the 1st bidecadal round-up review of the 21st century.
As per the domino effect verdict, announced by the Britain-based Impact Hallmarks [IH] in January 2021, Bilquis Edhi was declared the most impactful person of the first two decades of the 21st century.
Prof. Hafi shared the honour with Bilquis Edhi, as he was also awarded ‘Top of the Top Ten’ award by the Impact Hallmarks for his scientific discoveries. He was listed amongst the 10 most impactful persons of the world. Like Bilquis Edhi, who campaigned for protection of unwanted babies throughout her life, the researcher had been pursuing his cause of protection of unborn babies, who develop numerous disabilities because of use of medicines by mothers during pregnancy.
Prof. Hafi hopes that Faisal Edhi, the new chairman of Edhi Foundation, would carry forward the legacy of his mother – the mother of the neglected and unwanted children, Bilquis Bano Edhi – the definitive champion of the ‘war against infanticide’.