State funeral held for ‘Pakistan’s Mother Theresa’
KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Mourners on Saturday attended a state funeral for Ruth Pfau, a German physician and nun who earned international acclaim as “Pakistan’s Mother Theresa” by devoting her life to the eradication of leprosy in the Muslim-majority nation.
Pfau died on Aug. 10 at age 87 in the southern port city of Karachi. State-run television broadcast live footage of her casket being carried by a military guard at the city’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Hundreds of people attended the service at the cathedral, including members of civil society and diplomats. She was later buried in a nearby cemetery, in a funeral attended by President Mamnoon Hussain, army chief Gen. Qamar Javed, senior government officials and Muslim clerics.
Martha Fernando, who worked with Pfau at her Marie Adelaide Leprosy Center, said the German physician’s death was a great loss to humanity. “There is no one like her and there won’t be any replacement to her. We pray to God to send people like her again to this world so that they could continue serving people,” she said.
Pakistan suffered high rates of leprosy up until the mid-1990s. Pfau played a key role in efforts to bring the disease under control.