Pakistan holds state funeral for German nun who fought leprosy

Goodbye Dr Ruth Pfau

It was after the horrors of World War II in her native Germany that Pfau made a decision to dedicate her life to serving humanity, becoming a doctor and joining the Daughters of the Heart of Mary order, founded during the French Revolution. She added that Dr Ruth would celebrate her birthday as patients day every year, but this year she celebrated it as family day.

Her funeral was attended by government officials including President Mamnoon Hussain, Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah and Sindh Governor Muhammad Zubair.

Dr. Ruth was also known as the "Mother Teresa" of Pakistan.

State TV broadcast live footage of her casket being carried by a military guard at the city's St Patrick's Cathedral as hundreds of mourners lined the streets.

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A 19-gun salute was offered amid the memorial service procedures, with contingents of each of the three Armed Forces of Pakistan present on the event. She came to the southern port city of Karachi in 1960 and spent half a century taking care of some of the country's sickest and poorest people.

Dr Pfau was also awarded several civil awards for her services for leprosy patients and due to her efforts the World Health Organisation declared Pakistan a leprosy free country in 1996.

Pakistan's "Mom Teresa" Dr Ruth Pfau, who devoted a lifetime to battling leprosy in the nation, was laid to rest at Karachi's Gora Qabristan with full state honours on Saturday.

Pakistan Army personnel and others gather around the coffin of Ruth Pfau before her funeral ceremony. Wherever she went to treat people, she became one of them.

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One minute silence was also observed by those who attended the state funeral. "She led a very simple life and she loved humanity".

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi earlier expressed his sadness at her death, saying "she may have been born in Germany, but her heart was always in Pakistan". "She gave her life to others", he said, recalling that she used to say, "I'm not treating a disease, I'm treating a person".

Her death drew messages of condolences from all sections of society with tributes pouring in on social media. "She taught us all to take care of those who (could not care for themselves)", the pastor continued.

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