"Pakistan's Mother Teresa" accorded state funeral

''Pakistan's Mother Teresa'' accorded state funeral

Pfau, 87, died on August 10 after spending 57 years to working to eradicate leprosy in Pakistan.

Ruth Katherina Martha Pfau, a German physician and nun who dedicated her life to eradicating leprosy in Pakistan and known as "Pakistan’s Mother Teresa" was today accorded a full state funeral, a first for a Christian woman in the Muslim-majority country.

Pfau, 87, died on August 10 after spending 57 years to working to eradicate leprosy in Pakistan.

Pfau, born in Leipzig, in 1929, arrived in Karachi in 1960 en route to India and volunteered at a local leprosy colony. She 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.

She decided to stay in Pakistan as a health care worker and established the first Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre here.

Pakistani military personnel carried the casket containing Dr Pfau’s body into St Patrick’s Cathedral in Karachi’s Saddar area.

Her casket, draped in the national flag of Pakistan, was given a 19-gun salute, with contingents of all three armed forces present on the occasion.

After her final rites were performed, the coffin was taken to Gora Qabaristan, Karachi’s oldest graveyard, 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, Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.