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Wednesday Mar 07 2018

Shelter for homeless, guardian for abandoned: Yousaf Lala the Edhi of Parachinar

Yousaf Lala helps a local with warm clothes. Photo: Ali Afzaal/ Geo News

PARACHINAR: Unclaimed bodies are not left to decay in corners neither do orphans have to spend their nights under the open sky once they are found by the Edhi of Parachinar, Yousuf Lala.

Taking his inspiration from Abdul Sattar Edhi, 63-year-old Yousaf spends his days helping the people in Parachinar with whatever resources he manages to gather.

While talking to Geo News, Yousaf said his life changed after he met Edhi in 1973.

“He was collecting funds for his trust – at first I didn’t recognise him but when I was introduced to Edhi I spent four hours working with him that very day,” Yousaf said while talking to Geo News.

“After meeting Edhi, I vowed to myself that I would do whatever I can — just like Edhi did — for the people of my area, Parachinar.”

It did not take Yousaf long to get inspired by the work of Edhi,

As soon as he returned to his hometown in Parachinar, Yousaf found the body of an infant whom no one was ready to bury and. Yousaf took on the responsibility for the child’s final rites, thereby beginning his humanitarian work.

“When I find unclaimed bodies, I make arrangements for their burial,” he said. “I have also built a cemetery to bury such bodies and those of orphans.”

Photo: Ali Afzaal/Geo News

Not only the dead, Yousaf also values and cares for the living.

The doors of his house as well as charity centre are open for everyone, be it orphans or people with disabilities.

“So far I have found 138 orphans, some of whom I have sent to the Edhi centre in Peshawar,” Yousaf said.

The Parachinar philanthropist also set up a blood bank and is said to be the first person to open an orphanage in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

People like Yousaf are a living proof that the tribal areas of Pakistan can be associated with factors other than terrorism, as people there are brimming with the spirit of philanthropy.

He does not merely do humanitarian work but has also inspired many to follow in his footsteps, another resident of Parachinar, Shahid Qazmi, being one of them.

Although Yousaf is suffering from cardiac issues, his health condition does not hinder his work.