8.10.2017

Why Pakistan is mourning loss of German nun Ruth Pfau | Pakistan News

Tributes are pouring in for a German nun who spent more than half a century in Pakistan battling leprosy and helping the country’s most vulnerable people.

Ruth Pfau died on Thursday aged 87.

She trained as a doctor in her youth and went on to join a Catholic sisterhood.

In the 1960s, Pfau arrived in Pakistan where she spent the rest of her life. She specialised in the treatment of leprosy, a disease which causes discolouration of the skin, sores, and disfigurements.

Pfau’s work earned her the Nishan-e-Quaid-i-Azam, one of Pakistan’s highest civilian awards.

Her death drew messages of condolences from all sections of Pakistani society, with many comparing her passing to that of the philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi, who passed away last year.

“Saddened to learn of Dr Ruth Pfau’s passing,” wrote Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, adding: “Her spirit of selfless dedication leaves a void that will be difficult to fill.” 

Columnist Bina Shah said: “She [Pfau] revolutionised leprosy treatment in Pakistan. Today she went home to her Maker. We’ll miss you, Dr. Ruth Pfau. Shukriya and danke schon.” 

Pakistani senator Sherry Rehman wrote: “She came to Pakistan 56 years ago and spent her life looking after the diseased and dispossessed. We owe u [you] a debt of gratitude Dr Ruth Pfau.”

Many Pakistanis also said they would like to see their government give Pfau a state funeral because of her services to the country. 

An obituary notice put up by the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre, which Pfau helped found, said her funeral would take place on Sunday August 19 at a Christian cemetery in Karachi, Pakistan’s commercial centre. 

“Let us all pray together that Almighty God may grant [her] eternal rest and her family strength to bear this great loss,” the notice read.

Source: Al Jazeera News

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