Actor Sean Penn Visits Pakistan, Meets Edhi

Sean Penn meets with Abdul Sattar Edhi and his wife, Bilquis. (Photo: Ayesha Mir/Express)

Sean Penn meets with Abdul Sattar Edhi and his wife, Bilquis. (Photo: Ayesha Mir/Express)

Sean Penn eschewed the glitz and glamour of Hollywood during a touring visit to Pakistan last week. Though famous for his successful career, which includes two Academy Award wins, Penn is also known for his humanitarian work, particularly for his efforts to help victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

As part of an eight-member delegation that included diplomats, Penn visited the town of Badin in southern Sindh to see flood-hit areas and dispense supplies such as quilts and kitchen goods to the people there. The group also visited the shrine of Sufi saint Abdullah Shah Ghazi, where the actor laid floral wreaths.

Perhaps the most notable visit of Penn’s trip was to the Bilquis Edhi Female Child Home in Clifton, Karachi, which is run by Bilquis and her husband, the revered humanitarian, Abdul Sattar Edhi. The latter is known across Karachi for the private ambulances that bear his name, and was recently nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Penn toured the premises of the Home, where he saw young girls learning to use computer programs such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel. According to Bilquis, Penn said he found Pakistan to be better than expected.

For readers abroad, seeing pictures of Penn in Pakistan evokes images of other celebrities on humanitarian trips in foreign nations. Interestingly, though, many of the people Penn visited had no idea who he was.

Amina Elahi is Divanee.com’s Managing Editor. Check out her blog, where she posts words and images that make her think.