Even as India continues to struggle with a dire shortage of medical supplies and resources to treat patients amid an unprecedented spike in Covid-positive cases across states, Pakistan’s Edhi Foundation has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to offer assistance during the crisis. The Edhi Foundation, started by the late Pakistani humanitarian and revered philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi, wrote to PM Modi on Friday and offered a fleet of 50 ambulances to India to help tide over the crisis.

“We, at the Edhi Foundation, have been closey following the current impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the people of India,” the Foundation’s director Faisal Edhi and son of Abdul Sattar Edhi wrote in the letter. Adding that he was “very sorry to hear about the exceptionally heavy impact that the pandemic”, Edhi write. “As a neighbouring friend, we sympathise with you greatly and during this strenuous time, we would like to extend our help in the form of fleet of 50 ambulances along with our services to assist you in addressing, and further circumventing, the current health conditions”.

Edhi also added that he would personally by heading the team from his organisation that will be leading the relief efforts. The Edhi Foundation has been leading Covid-19 relief operations in Pakistan where its ambulance services are often said to be more efficient than those provided by the state. Speaking to Hindustan Times, Faisal Edhi said that they did not want to cause any incovenience to India.

“If permission is given by the Indian side, we are mentally and physically prepared to go across and do whatever we can to help. We will fully cooperate with the Indian authorities and are prepared to operate in any city they allow us to operate in,” HT quoted Edhi as saying. He also added that if permitted to operate in India, the teams from Edhi Foundation would be carrying their own food, fuel and other supplies so as not to cause any hindrance to Indian authorities.

This is not the first time that the Edhi Foundation has come forth to help Indians. It’s founder Abdul Sattar Edhi, who died in 2016, was actively involved in the return of deaf and mute Indian girl Geeta from Karachi in 2015. Edhi, who took care of Geeta for over a decade after she crossed over to Pakistan, refused a donation of Rs 1 crore extended by the PM Modi in 2015 for his contribution to Geeta’s well-being.

Regarded as a “saint” by many such as documentarian and journalist Peter Oborne, Edhi spent ovefr six decades of his life carrying out humanitarian efforts and setting up centres all over Pakistan. The Edhi Foundation today runs orphanages, homes for the mentally ill, drug rehabilitation centres, runs hundreds of ambulances and hostels for abandoned women. The Edhi Foundation has also worked previously for the repatriation of Indian fishermen in Pakistan.

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