In a cross-border offer of help amid an unprecedented health crisis, Pakistan’s Edhi Foundation has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi offering a fleet of 50 ambulances and support staff to help tackle the second wave of COVID-19 infections in India.
In the letter, the foundation's director, Faisal Edhi, asks only for permission for a team to enter India, saying the ambulances and their staff would handle their own food and other amenities.
“We are very sorry to hear about the exceptionally heavy impact that the pandemic has had on your country, where tremendous number of people are suffering immensely. As a neighbouring friend, we sympathise with you greatly during this strenuous time, we would like to extend our help n the form of a fleet of 50 ambulances along with our services to assist you in addressing, and further circumventing, the current health conditions,” the letter reads.
“I, Faisal Edhi, Managing trustee of the Edhi Foundation, am personally offering to lead and manage the humanitarian team from my organisation. Our organisation understands the gravity of the situation, and we wish to lend you our full support, without any inconvenience to you, which is why we will arrange all the necessary supplies that our team needs to assist the people of India. Importantly, we are not requesting any other assistance from you, as we are providing the fuel, food, and other necessary amenities that our team will require. Our team consists of emergency medical technicians, office staff, drivers, and supporting staff.”
ایدھی فاؤنڈیشن کے سربراہ فیصل ایدھی کا بھارت کے وزیراعظم نریندر مودی کو امداد کی پیشکش.— Edhi (@Edhiorg) April 23, 2021
انہوں نے پچاس ایمبولینس اور ایک رضاء کاروں کی ٹیم بھیجنے کا ارادہ کیا ہے، تاکہ بھارت کی عوام کی اس مشکل وقت میں مدد کی جاسکے۔#Edhipakistan #edhi #indianlifematter pic.twitter.com/VBtkVlHXYS
“In order to implement our proposed service, we only request your permission to enter India as well as any necessary guidance from the local administration and police department. We are willing and ready to deploy our team into any critical areas of concern at your direction without hesitation,” it states.
The Edhi Foundation has a history of making humanitarian gestures towards Indian nationals. In 2019, they gave gifts and provided for the travel expenses of Indian fishermen who were arrested and later released back to India.
Pakistan’s Edhi Foundation, founded by the late great Abdul Sattar Edhi, has done what most of the world’s richest governments have declined to do: Extend an offer of assistance to an Indian nation deeply in need. This is the example that must be set, and that the world must see.— Michael Kugelman (@MichaelKugelman) April 23, 2021
They played a notable role in the case of the deaf-mute girl Geeta, who had strayed into Pakistan across the border at the age of seven. The Edhi Foundation took care of the girl for 14 years, before she was handed over to India after intervention by then External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
The organisation was founded by Abdul Sattar Edhi, who was born in Gujarat in British India and fled to Pakistan during Partition. The Edhi Foundation operates across Africa, South Asia and the Middle East.
Pakistan has had over 7.8 lakh cases of COVID-19 and suffered over 16,000 deaths. The country is facing its third wave of the virus, with daily cases averaging over 5,000.
Amid the surge of new cases in India, Pakistan on Monday had banned inbound travel from India for two weeks, placing India in its C-list category of countries.