Just in case you were wondering why Pakistan is mourning the death of Abdul Sattar Edhi with so much grief and respect, watch the video above. It's a short look at the Edhi Foundation, the philanthropic organisation he founded and ran, and at Edhi and his wife Bilquis.

He died last week from complications related to the kidney failure he had been suffering from since 2013. He is survived by Bilquis and his four children.

The Foundation has nearly 1,800 ambulances and offers 24-hour emergency service. Funded only by private donors, eschewing religious or political figures or organisations, Edhi Foundation is one of the largest social welfare networks in Pakistan, running orphanages, homeless shelters and blood banks.

In the video Edhi describes, among other things, his organisation's unique jhoola (cradle) project through which cradles are built outside Edhi centres for any unwanted infants to be deposited, with the promise of being looked after with "no questions asked".

Bilquis explains why they do not seek funding from foreign NGOs, "We are Pakistani and will only take alms from Pakistanis."

In the video below, which is much too short, Edhi, who is called "Pakistan's Real Life Superhero" traces his origins as a refugee. Born in Gujarat in 1928, he opted to live in Pakistan in 1947. He says, "I'm actually a muhajir (immigrant) but I refer to myself simply as a human being."

The interview was conducted in 2012, when the philanthropist was under threat from the Taliban and had round-the-clock police protection, which Edhi says he didn't want. He also takes the crew on a walk through Lyari, which he calls the "most dangerous place in Karachi".


Here's the trailer for These Birds Walk, a documentary about the children whom the Edhi Foundation saved and helped nurture.