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Dr Ruth laid to rest after state funeral in Karachi

KARACHI -UNS : Dr. Ruth Pfau, the guardian angel who transformed the destiny of several leprosy patients in Pakistan, was laid to rest on Saturday at Christian Cemetery following state funeral.

Dr. Ruth Pfau’s burial was attended by President Mamnoon Hussain, army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Governor Sindh Muhammad Zubair and Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah among a large number of people.

Her funeral services were performed at Saint Patrick’s Church where her coffin, draped with Pakistan’s green and white flag and covered with rose petals, was brought by army troops amid tight security.

The services were attended by a large number of citizens, social workers and government high-ups.

Meanwhile, she was laid to rest at Christian Cemetery (Gora Qabristan).

She is the third civilian after Jinnah and Edhi to receive state funeral.
Ruth Pfau, a German nun who devoted her life to combatting leprosy in Pakistan, died in Karachi on August 15 at the age of 87.

Pfau, who was known locally as Pakistan’s Mother Teresa, came to the southern port city of Karachi in 1960 and spent half a century taking care of some of the country’s sickest and poorest people.

She was the founder of Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre in Karachi, where she was being cared for at the time of her death after falling ill two weeks ago.

Mervyn Lobo, the chief of the centre, told AFP that she died late Wednesday. She is expected to be given a state funeral.

In collaboration with the government Pfau expanded leprosy treatment centres in more than 150 cities and towns across Pakistan, training doctors, treating thousands of victims and helping establish a national programme to bring the disease under control.

She was honoured by the state with the country’s two highest civilian awards, the Hilal-e-Imtiaz and the Hilal-e-Pakistan.

It was after the horrors of World War II in her native Germany that Pfau decided to dedicate her life to serving humanity, becoming a doctor and joining the Daughters of the Heart of Mary order, founded during the French Revolution.

Not required to take the veil or live in seclusion, she ended up in Pakistan by chance. En route to work in India, visa complications forced her to break the journey in Karachi, where she visited a lepers’ colony.

Pfau was also praised for her work in helping victims of devastating flooding in 2010, which left millions of people homeless across swathes of the country.

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