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Pakistan Holds State Funeral For Revered Philanthropist Edhi

Abdul Sattar Edhi died in a Karachi hospital.

Abdul Sattar Edhi died in a Karachi hospital.

Pakistan held a lavish state funeral for famed philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi, who set up the country's biggest welfare organization and was revered by many Pakistanis as a "living saint."

Edhi died in a Karachi hospital late on July 8, drawing an outpouring of grief in Pakistan and beyond.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called him "a great servant of humanity" and said he would receive a posthumous presidential medal.

His Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj called him "a noble soul who dedicated his life in service of mankind."

Edhi's life of personal austerity combined with generosity toward the poor resonated deeply in Pakistan, where public health and welfare services are weak.

Sporting a long white beard and owning just two sets of clothes, Edhi, 88, slept in a windowless room adjacent to his office.

In recent years, he suffered from the failure of both kidneys. Sharif's government had offered to fly Edhi abroad for treatment but he had refused, insisting on being treated at a public hospital in his own country.

The Edhi Foundation runs a vast fleet of ambulances, orphanages, and medical clinics across Pakistan.

Edhi's funeral was expected to be one of the biggest in Pakistan's history.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and dpa