Ray of hope to lepers, Dr Ruth Pfau passes away in Karachi


Homage began pouring in from the Pakistani authorities soon after the announcement of her death.

She had travelled to various parts of Pakistan to medically facilitate leprosy patients, a journey she said enjoyed tremendously because of the marked difference made in the lives of her patients. However, a visa problem kept Pfau in Pakistan, where she went on to live for 57 years.

The founder of the National Leprosy Control Programme in Pakistan, Dr Pfau passed away around 4am today.

Dr Pfau, 87, who was suffering from complications related to old age, had been admitted to the Aga Khan Hospital two weeks ago where her condition was pronounced unstable.

Her last ceremonies will be performed on August 19 at St. Patrick's Church in Karachi's Saddar area. She has treated over 50,000 patients. She was granted Pakistani citizenship in 1988.

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Widely known as Pakistan's Mother Teresa, Pfau was eulogised by the prime minister and army chief for her contributions towards freeing the country of a contagious disease that can cause disfigurement.

German-Pakistani nun Dr Ruth Pfau died in Karachi on Thursday.

He said we will remember her for her courage, loyalty, service to the eradication of leprosy, and most of all, patriotism.

She also received Hilal-i-Pakistan award for her work with leprosy patients in 1989. "This award is not just for me but for all of my teammates", Dr Pfau added.