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Pakistan Plans State Funeral For German Nun Who Helped Eradicate Leprosy

Ruth Pfau in Karachi in 2014
Ruth Pfau in Karachi in 2014

Pakistan is planning a rare state funeral to honor Ruth Pfau, a German-born nun who helped the Southeast Asian country wipe out leprosy.

Pfau, 87, who was referred to by many as “Pakistan’s Mother Theresa,” died on August 10 at a hospital affiliated with her Marie Adelaide Leprosy Center in the southern city of Karachi.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the government would give her a state funeral to honor her for "selfless and unmatched" services to Pakistan.

Shariq Zaman, a spokesman for Pfau's charity, said the funeral is scheduled for August 19 in Karachi.

Charity spokeswoman Salwa Zainab said Pfau arrived in Pakistan in 1960 and devoted the rest of her life to treating leprosy throughout the country.

She established 157 centers to treat people infected with leprosy, later expanding her efforts to aid tuberculosis patients.

State funerals in Pakistan generally are held for soldiers killed in war or for government leaders.

Based on reporting by Reuters, dpa, and Samaa TV