Prominent Pakistani philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi was in critical condition in the intensive care unit of a Karachi hospital on Friday, prompting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to appeal to the people to pray for his health.
Edhi’s condition became critical on Friday afternoon, when he faced difficulty in breathing while undergoing dialysis at the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation, his son Faisal Edhi told a news conference. Doctors had put 88-year-old Edhi on ventilator, he said.
“Edhi sahab’s condition is serious but we are hopeful he will recover soon, till then the doctors have said to keep him on ventilator,” Faisal was quoted as saying by Dawn newspaper.
State-run Radio Pakistan too said Edhi was in a critical condition. A spokesperson for the hospital said old age was one of the factors behind Edhi’s illness. “Edhi sahab was having trouble breathing, so we shifted him on the ventilator,” the spokesperson said.
Edhi, often referred to as “Pakistan’s Mother Teresa”, was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2013 but has been unable to get a transplant because of his frail health.
In June, he declined an offer from former president Asif Ali Zardari for treatment abroad, saying he would only be treated in a government hospital with Pakistan.
Prime Minister Sharif, currently in London, appealed to the people to pray for Edhi. In a statement, he said there are few men who have done as much good and made as much of a difference to the lives of Pakistanis as Edhi.
“His tireless work has helped save hundreds of thousands of lives and shown us what it means to be a man who works for the people,” Sharif said.
Edhi, who was born in 1928 at Bantva village that is now part of India’s Gujarat state, received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for public service in 1986. He heads the Edhi Foundation that operates ambulance services, orphanages, women’s shelters, dispensaries and morgues in several Pakistani cities.