Pakistan's 'Light to the Lepers' Ruth Pfau dies

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Dr Ruth Pfau, a German doctor popularly known as Pakistan's "Mother Teresa" for dedicating her life to eradicate leprosy in the country, died Thursday at a private hospital in Karachi.

"Dr Ruth Pfau", a symbol of selflessness and devotion to leprosy patients", passed away at 87 years old in Karachi late Wednesday night while she was experiencing surgery.

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa responded to the demise of Dr Ruth Pfau saying she will be remembered as the ambassador for humanity. But on her way, in 1960, visa hang-ups forced her to stop in the Pakistani city of Karachi - and that was where she encountered the leprosy patient whose plight persuaded her to stay.

Not required to take the veil or live in seclusion, she ended up in Pakistan by chance.

She "may have been born in Germany, but her heart was always in Pakistan", the country's prime minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, said in a statement Thursday. In 1996, the World Health Organization declared that leprosy had been controlled in Pakistan, which led Sr.

"Dr Pfau's services to end leprosy in Pakistan can not be forgotten". The nun persuaded the Pakistani government five years later to start a programme against leprosy across the country.

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Pfau's work earned her the Nishan-e-Quaid-i-Azam, one of Pakistan's highest civilian awards.

She later joined a religious order, which sent her to India.

Soon after the announcement of her death, homage began pouring in from the Pakistani authorities.

Her death drew messages of condolences from all sections of Pakistani society, with many comparing her passing to that of the philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi, who passed away past year.

The Prime Minister, in his message, said she came to Pakistan at the dawn of a young nation looking to make lives better for those afflicted by the disease. "We owe u a debt of gratitude Dr Ruth Pfau". She was likewise granted with the Staufer Medal.

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