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Army Chief in Karachi to Attend Last Rites of Dr Pfau

Karachi: Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif reached Karachi to attend the last rites of Dr Ruth Pfau, dubbed as Pakistan Mother Teresa for her selfless and devoted lifelong fight against leprosy in Pakistan.    

According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the Army Chief will attend the last rites Pfau which is underway in Karachi.

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A state funeral with full national honours is underway in Karachi for Dr Ruth Pfau. President Mamnoon Hussain, Army Chief, Air Chief, Chief Minister and Governor of Sindh, Corps Commander, DG Rangers, IGP Sindh and others high dignitaries are attending the last rites at Gora Qabristan.

Pfau was a German-Pakistani doctor who dedicated her life to helping leprosy patients in Pakistan and is one of the founders of Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre (MALC).

Armed forces personnel carried the casket containing Dr Pfau’s body into St Patrick’s Cathedral in Karachi’s Saddar area. The coffin was draped in the Pakistani flag and covered with rose petals.

After her final rites were performed at the church, the body of Dr Pfau was taken to Gora Qabaristan, Karachi’s oldest graveyard, where she will be buried shortly.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had earlier announced a state funeral for Dr Pfau, saying: “The entire nation is indebted to Ruth Pfau for her selflessness and unmatched services for eradication of leprosy.”

Attended by dignitaries including Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, members of his cabinet, Corps Commander Karachi, DG Rangers, IGP Sindh, this is the second state funeral to take place in Pakistan in 29 years, with the last one accorded to late philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi last year.

Dr Pfau, who was German by birth, had been sent to Pakistan in 1960 by the Daughters of the Heart of Mary, a congregation of nuns that she was a member of, for a medical service for students. After witnessing the plight of leprosy patients, she decided to settle here. She was granted Pakistani citizenship in 1988.

In 1979, she was awarded the Hilal-i-Imtiaz, the second highest civilian award of the country. In 1989, Dr Pfau was presented the Hilal-i-Pakistan for her services.

Due to Dr Pfau’s efforts, Pakistan was declared a leprosy-free country in 1996 by the World Health Organization.

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