Pakistan's 'Mother Teresa' laid to rest in Karachi

by Abel Hampton August 21, 2017, 3:33
Pakistan's 'Mother Teresa' laid to rest in Karachi

Pakistani military personnel carried the casket containing Dr Pfau's body into St Patrick's Cathedral in Karachi's Saddar area. The casket was draped in the national flag of Pakistan. The flag of Vatican City was also hoisted at the cathedral Saturday morning, while the national flag of Pakistan remained at half-mast.

The contingents of all the three armed forces gave ninteen guns salute on the occasion of her burial.

On 23 March 1989, Pfau received Hilal-e-Pakistan award presented by the then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan over her work for leprosy patients. "She is irreplaceable. We pray to God to send people like her again to this world so that they could continue serving the people", she said.

Working with the government, Pfau expanded leprosy treatment centres in more than 150 cities and towns across Pakistan, training doctors, treating thousands of victims and helping establish a national programme to bring the disease under control. She added that Dr Ruth would celebrate her birthday as patients day every year, but this year she celebrated it as family day.

Singer-songwriter Fakhr-e-Alam said: "Looking back at da life of Ruth Pfau & watching images of her funeral all one can say what a legacy".

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". The state funeral given to Pfau yesterday in Karachi, with soldiers carrying her coffin to St Patrick's Cathedral and state dignitaries attending the sombre event, was a fitting tribute by the state to a woman who had served this country's marginalised. "She lived and died a Pakistani". 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. She treated them all with love and compassion. However, while the story of her struggle to improve the situation of lepers and her unrelenting services to people she aided was occasionally highlighted in the media, she did not perhaps receive the recognition she deserved. "She taught us all to take care of those who (could not care for themselves)", the pastor continued.

"There is no one like her and there won't be any replacement to her".

She is only the second person to be accorded a state funeral in 29 years, with the last one offered for late philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi in 2016.


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