Deplorable: Iconic Humanitarian Abdul Sattar Edhi Facing Deportation From US, Passport Siezed

Posted on January 29, 2008
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Foreign Relations, Law & Justice, People
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Adil Najam

Hassan Abbas from WatanDost just alerted me to this most deplorable and shocking news. According to the Daily Times:

Renowned social worker Abdul Sattar Edhi was interrogated by US immigration officials at the JF Kennedy Airport in New York, who also seized his passport and other documents, a private TV channel reported on Monday. Edhi told Geo News that US immigration officials had questioned him for eight hours at the airport. “They asked me why I don’t reside permanently in the US despite having a green card,” he said. “I told them that I’m a social worker and I have to travel extensively around the world, and so cannot live there permanently,” he added.

Edhi said he had faced the same behaviour from US immigration officials when he visited America in June last year. According to Geo News, the immigration officials allowed him to leave following the intervention of Pakistani officials, but did not return his passport and other documents. Edhi said the US officials, through a letter, had also asked him to appear in court for a hearing on February 20. Separately, talking to News One television channel, Edhi said US authorities apparently wanted to hinder his social work. He said he, his wife and their granddaughter had been living in a small room for the last month as the US authorities were refusing to return his passport.

In an earlier news story, Dawn had reported:

US authorities have threatened Pakistan’s most respected citizen Abdul Sattar Edhi with deportation, he said. “I just received a telephone call from someone, telling me that I am being deported,” Mr Edhi, who is now in New York told Dawn. He said he was stopped at the airport in London when he tried to board a plane for New York on Jan 8.

Mr Edhi then contacted the US Embassy in London who gave him a letter which allowed him to proceed to New York. The letter also advised him to see US authorities on Feb 18 to clear whatever misunderstandings they may have about him. Mr Edhi arrived in New York on Jan 9 and was detained at the airport for eight hours. “They were questioning me why I look the way I look,” said Mr Edhi who has a long beard and always wears traditional Pakistani dress along with a traditional cap.

“They also wanted to know why I visit the United States so regularly,” he said. “I told them I am a social worker. What else I do? I only do social work,” said Mr Edhi who has branches of his trust in several US cities. “If they do not let me work here, I will work somewhere else.”

ATP know of my reveration – aqeedat – for the amazing humanitarian work that Abdul Sattar Edhi does (also see here, here and here).

Indeed, this admiration is shared not only by many other Pakistanis but by so many around the world who follow daily miracles that Edhi Foundation performs in some of the most telling places in the world. A look at the over 250 comments on my post about him which suggested that he should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize is testimony to this admiration, indeed devotion.

Here are excerpts from what I had written then; events since then have again highlighted just how important a human treasure he is not just to Pakistan but to the world:

Here is a man who has dedicated his whole life to serving the most marginalized and the most wretched in society. The destitutes, the mentally ill, corpses left by the roadside, children abandoned at his doorsteps, women kicked out by their families. When there is no one to go to, there is always Edhi Sahib to go to.

As importantly, he has done this – in his words – ‘wholesale’. He has single handedly built – literally by begging – a social services structure at a national scale. Bigger than what governments have. He has never taken a ruppee as salary himself. He lives in a two room apartment that most middle class Pakistanis would not call home and he oversees the largest ambulance network in the world, now with airplanes and helicopters, a multi-million dollar enterprise of relief, of goodwill, and of humanitarianism. If he does not deserve the Nobel Award, I do not know who does.

The Nobel Peace Prize has not come yet. But this humiliation has. Deplorable.

85 responses to “Deplorable: Iconic Humanitarian Abdul Sattar Edhi Facing Deportation From US, Passport Siezed”

  1. Necromancer says:

    Al-Qaeda and it’s likes have scored a victory by blowing in the minds of Yankee Doodle’s a phobia that seems to last the better half of this century.
    While noble people of high standing face such “Attitudes” one questions why is the US of A not showing enough dexterity in going after the real culprits; who are still at large after five years.
    So what next……?

  2. Ghulam Mujtaba says:

    They think thats how they will stop nobel peeple to grow in numbers.. but they really dont know when ever in past they did same stupid acts they paid.
    anyway Ehdi is not a simple long beard,ordinary looking cloths wearing person.. he is the man whom Allah choosen to serve the needy person and Allah will protect him.. we will see InshAllah

  3. Samir says:

    Bravo! got him! cheers, another one in our net!

    Pathetic, if these are the lines along which the US authorities are thinking while “invesitgating’ Mr. Edhi! makes one wonderi if good really outdoes “evil”, or is to be accepted that the might US authorities are ‘PERFCT’ in every imaginable way themselves!

    Mr. Edhi’s work and mission is FAR superior and way more venerable than these self assume saints US Authorities can even BEGIN to taste, lets alone Digest! Needless to say how distressing this incident is to those who will keep on asking for a harrasment free world …… why cant these mighty US Authorities work toward that, it will elevate them much higher in perception!

  4. Noor Muhammad says:

    American air port officials are some of the most ignorant people on the face of earth, it seems. If America had a hero of Edhi’s stature I am sure most of the Pakistani kids would have known one or two facts about him/her.

  5. Ahmad R. Shahid says:


    From where did you get this stupid figure of 95% Pakistanis having jihadi connection? Or is it just another figment of your imagination?

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