It is time for Abdul Sattar Edhi International Airport


Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—For quite some time we have been hearing voices calling upon the government to name an airport after the great philanthropist of Pakistan, a true human lover and servant to humanity, Abdul Sattar Edhi. The demand has taken impetus after concerns were raised repeatedly about his failing health and serious condition. Foreign Office faux pas of issuing an obituary for Edhi Sb has also given the civil society and the patriot Pakistanis to raise their voice.
This demand was echoed in Islamabad too, the other day, during a dialogue on leadership in which participated Pakistan’s Telecom and business leaders and the government representatives. One of the participants from the audience, Mahreen Khan, raised her voice and asked Spokesperson to Prime Minister Dr Musadik Malik and Chairman Privatization Commission Mohammed Zubair—both sitting there—if they had ever given a though to naming an airport after Edhi Sb. Her question was supported by all sitting there in the form of great ap-plause. Unfortunately, the answer was not straight as it was said from the stage Edhi Sb does not need any airport. His work is larger than life and he is such a heroic figure but all those sitting there were longing for one brief ‘yes’ instead of a long tedious philosophic reply.
All the living nations give honour and respect to their heroes in the form of such symbolic gestures and Pakistan where the existing trend is to honour only politicians, badly needs other names too, like Dr AQ Khan, Abdul Sat-tar Edhi, Dr Abdus Salam, Malala Yousafzai, Sharmeen so on and so forth. One of the members of religious minority and a social activist Kapil Dev while talking to Pakistan Observer supported the demand of Mahreen Khan and the civil society saying Edhi is a patriotic Pakistan and he needs no recognition like that. The entire world knows him but he insisted it is our duty to honour him. Besides naming an airport, the government should also launch a national level humanitarian service institute which provides free ambulance service like Edhi Ambulance, he said. Kapil Dev also re-ferred to another great figure in our judicial history Rana Bhagwan Das. He said the government should honour Rana Sb by setting up a judicial acad-emy or university under his name.
Another local philanthropist, Kashif was of the view the government is sadly more concerned about distributing key offices and assignments to its cronies and never thinks of paying tributes to the true heroes of public. Asif Ali Zardari for all his shortcomings and corruption allegations did not forget to send bouquet of flowers and ‘get well soon’ wishes to Edhi Sb. Similarly, the gesture shown by Dr Farooq Sattar was also received well but the fed-eral government’s mysterious silence is beyond one’s understanding, said Kashif. He demanded of the government to declare a package of ‘honours’ and awards for Edhi Sb during his lifetime.

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