ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Friday expressed deep grief and sorrow over the demise of renowned social worker and philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi, terming it an “irreparable loss.”

“He was a real gem and asset for Pakistan. We have lost a great servant of humanity,” the Prime Minister said in his condolence statement.

He said Abdul Sattar Edhi had shown great love and devotion for the socially vulnerable, impoverished, helpless and poor.

He termed his death an irreparable loss for the people of Pakistan and announced a day of mourning. He also awarded the Nishan-i-Imtiaz, the nation’s highest civilian honor, on Eidi posthumously and announced to hold a state funeral for the late social worker.

“If anyone deserves to be wrapped in the flag of the nation he served, it is him,” the premier said.

The Prime Minister said that he wished Eidi could have received more recognition during his life time.

The Prime Minister prayed for the eternal peace of the departed soul.

He said there was no doubt in his mind that few men that had walked this earth were as educated in humanity as Abdul Sattar Edhi.

He said, “With his passing comes the passing of an era where we had a man who stood above and beyond partisanship, hate and demagoguery.”

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Edhi’s death was not only a loss for Pakistan, but also a tragedy that had made waves internationally, and rightly so.

The Prime Minister said the late Edhi was a humanitarian and a man of the people till his very last breath, and “we cannot thank him enough for being a guiding light towards empathy in a nation divided.”

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said that though he wished to attend the late Edhi’s funeral in person, he could not do so due to present circumstances.

However, he said his brother Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif would attend the funeral in his place.

“Rest assured, I shall pray for his well being in the life beyond and do whatever I can to commemorate him and his life,” the Prime Minister said.