My birthplace is Germany but my heart beats for Pakistan – said Dr. Ruth Pfau.
Pakistan’s beloved German nun and physician Dr. Ruth Katherina Martha Pfau, 87, died in Karachi on August 10, 2017. Since 1960, she had been fighting leprosy in Manghopir, a poor neighborhood of Karachi, Pakistan’s most populated city of 17 million since 1960.
The springs in Manghopir are fabled to cure leprosy.
Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussein described Pfau’s death as a great loss for the nation in which her clinics strive to save leprosy patients from disfigurement, blindness and social exclusion.
Pfau was known in Pakistan as the mother of leprosy patients and was compared by Radio Vatican in 2014 to Mother Teresa, another late Roman Catholic nun who helped India’s growing poor population for decades.
On Thursday, the BBC called her ‘Pakistan’s Mother Teresa’ which I think was an insult to her. India’s Mother Teresa was hated by Hindu extremists now ruling India for spreading Christianity. She was also accused of being on CIA payroll and supporter of Afghan Taliban.
Pfau had wished to be buried in Karachi from where she began her charitable work.
Leipzig-born Pfau had studied gynaecology in Bonn before she arrived in Karachi in 1960 en route to India as a new member of the Hearts of Maria Order.
I remember another German academic, Annemarie Schimmel, who fell in love with Pakistan through Allama Iqbal poetry. She authored over dozen books on Islam and Islamic influence on Europe’s enlightenment.