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Pakistan's ‘Mother Teresa' Ruth Katherina Martha Pfau laid to rest with full state honours

Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had earlier announced a state funeral for Pfau.


By   |  Updated On : August 20, 2017 09:06 AM
Pfau was given a 19-gun salute, with contingents of all three armed forces present on the occasion (Agency image)

Pfau was given a 19-gun salute, with contingents of all three armed forces present on the occasion (Agency image)

New Delhi :  

Pakistan's Mother Teresa, Ruth Katherina Martha Pfau, was on Saturday accorded full state funeral. She was 87.

Ruth Katherina Martha Pfau, a German physician and nun, died on August 10 after spending 57 years in the service of leprosy patients and working to eradicate leprosy in Pakistan.

Pfau was born in Leipzig, Germany, in 1929 and arrived in Karachi in 1960. She volunteered at a local leprosy colony and was a member of the Society of Daughters of the Heart of Mary. 

While in Karachi, she became depressed at the state of the care given to patients whose hands and feet she said had become "nutritional supplement for the rats," according to the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre's (MALC) website. That is when she decided to stay in Pakistan as a health care worker and established the first Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre in Karachi. 

Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had earlier announced a state funeral for Pfau, saying, "The entire nation is indebted to Ruth Pfau for her selflessness and unmatched services for eradication of leprosy." 

Pakistani military personnel carried the casket, draped in the national flag of Pakistan, into St Patrick's Cathedral in Karachi's Saddar area. 

Pfau was given a 19-gun salute, with contingents of all three armed forces present on the occasion. 

After performing the final rites, the coffin was taken to Karachi's oldest graveyard Gora Qabaristan where she was laid to rest. 

The burial ceremony was attended by many dignitaries including President Mamnoon Hussain, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Sindh Governor Muhammad Zubair, and Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. 

The Foreign Office said in a statement that Dr Pfau made Pakistan her home and was a proud Pakistani. 

"The entire Pakistani nation pays homage to Dr Pfau's extraordinary work. She will always be fondly remembered. We have lost a national hero. May she rest in eternal peace," the statement said.

First Published: Sunday, August 20, 2017 09:00 AM


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