Today, I am going to wield my pen on a person whose, date of birth or death nor contributions have ever been remembered by the people of Karachi, even though she was the greatest benefactor of Karachi after the Quaid. In her charity work, she was looked upon as an angel in the garb of a human being. This personage was no other than that of Dr Ruth Katherina Martha Pfau (commonly addressed as Dr Ruth Pfao—and pronounced as Dr Ruth Paw). Pfau was born on September 9, 1929, in Leipzig, Germany, to Lutheran parents, and died in Karachi on 10 August 2017. In WWll, her house in Germany was bombed. Later she pursued an education in medicine at the University of Mainz in Marburg. In her missionary education, she learnt to live her life for “preaching love and forgiveness”. It so happened that Dr Ruth who was a member of the Roman Catholic Mission originally hailed from Germany was on a charity mission destined for India when she was about 27 years of age, but she had a brief stop-over in Karachi to clear her travel details during which she realized some patients suffering from leprosy close in the hub of Karachi, She got engaged in treating these patients, left her parents and siblings behind in Germany, and later did not stop her work till she made Karachi her hometown and spent full 55 years without looking back. She became the most cherished godly figure for the poor, diseased, distraught and suffering humanity of Karachi and its suburbs and later she expanded her area of operation and attended to leprous patients in all provinces where she visited and established leprosy centres, admitted patients to be looked after by the trained and efficient staff. She founded Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre (MALC), to serve leprosy patients in Pakistan. In less than four decades, two hospitals to treat leprosy were named after Dr Ruth Pfar to honour her efforts Leprosy is a bloody and deadly ancient disease that is spread by a bacteria called M leprae. It had been silently consuming the masses of Karachi, but no notable of the city had ever taken its notice. The afflicted patients were silently pushed behind in the hinterland of habitation of poor and desolate people, where these leprosy-afflicted patients withered away with pain, misery and sufferings and died after transmitting this deadly disease to several healthy people. The result of her untiringly ruthless hard work brought fruits of her labours. Dr Ruth Pfau succeeded in contributing to the establishment of 157 leprosy clinics across Pakistan that treated over 56,780 people. (Leprous patients are normally quite scarce but extremely dangerous in spreading the disease to the healthy people) Dr Ruth had moved from Germany to Pakistan in 1961 and devoted more than 55 years of her life to fighting leprosy in Pakistan. Dr Pfau was honoured with the Hilal-i-Pakistan-, Hilal-i-Imtiaz-, Nishan-i-Quaid-i-Azam-, and the Sitara-i-Quaid-i-Azam award, which no mortal has so far collectively received. A few prestigious institutions like “Fazaiya Ruth Pfau Medical College and Dr Ruth Pfau Hospital are named after her in Karachi. These are other than her own founded Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre (MALC), to serve the leprosy patients in Pakistan. Her work on leprosy was not sponsored by any governmental agency, and it was all done by her efforts through donations collected from affluent people of Karachi, who finding her so sincere to her cause generously donated to her mission. Several times, she went to Germany in her donation campaigns but did not seek anybody’s help. It was a kind of a Jihad against a deadly disease against which she alone had waged a war. The patients gradually reduced but since the disease was greatly infectious, it also increased as there were no proper hospitals or sanctuaries. Dr Ruth could not herself construct hospitals for them because she had not the proper means to do so. Nor there was any public institution or government department to do this task, hence it was all through her spiritual persuasion that she got vacated many houses of the affluent people and made them hospitals and sanctuaries by segregating the leprosy-affected people to prevent the spread of disease. This enabled her and her staff to peacefully pursue their treatment. In less than four decades, two hospitals to treat leprosy were named after Dr Ruth Pfar to honour her efforts and with that, the World Health Organization declared Pakistan free from leprosy in 1996, ahead of most other Asian countries. The current treatment of leprosy in which Dr Ruth Pfar played a major role is extremely effective, treatment in preventing the disease. The bacilli can be killed rapidly, and multidrug therapy—the use of two or more antileprosy drugs in combination—prevents the development of drug-resistant strains The History of leprosy reveals that it is one of the most ancient diseases which is mentioned around 40 times in the Bible. It was considered incurable by man, many believed God inflicted the curse of leprosy upon people for the sins they committed. In fact, those with leprosy were so despised and loathed that they were not allowed to live in any community with their people. A leper wasn’t allowed to come within six feet of any other human, including his own family. Lepers lived in a community with other lepers until they either got better or died. This was the only way the people knew to contain the spread of the contagious forms of leprosy. Why leprosy has been so much discussed in Christianity. After his sermon on the Mount, though it seems as if Jesus is violating the Law by touching the leper, the story actually demonstrates Jesus’ healing power. Whilst Jesus does not become impure when touching the leper, purity flows from him towards the leper. The purity laws find their fulfilment in him. As the leper was purified, all Jesus’ followers are purified. Boundaries of purity laws to categorise and isolate others are no longer applicable to them. Ritual purity becomes a moral category. Their inner beings, their hearts, must be pure. Purity involves the integrity of the whole person. Thus it was one of the miracles of Jesus that by touching a leper he would purify the leper. In 1979, she was appointed as the Federal Advisor on Leprosy to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of the Government of Pakistan. Pfau went to distant areas of Pakistan where there were no medical facilities for leprosy patients. She collected donations in Germany for Pakistani leprous patients and co-operated with hospitals in Rawalpindi and Karachi. In recognition of her service to the country, she was awarded Pakistani citizenship in 1988. She is known as “Pakistan’s Mother Teresa” but despite complete elimination of a dreadful disease like Leprosy, was never nominated for the Nobel Prize. Acknowledging her immense services to Pakistan in eliminating Leprosy, on 10 August 2017, at the age of 87 years she died, and her coffin was wrapped in Pakistan’s National Flag and buried with full state honours while all the heads of Civil and Military top brass presented their last respect. The Prime minister declared, “The entire nation is indebted to Ruth Pfau for her selfless and unmatched services for the eradication of leprosy. We are proud of her exemplary services and she will remain in our hearts as a shining symbol in times ahead.” The writer is a former member of the Provincial Civil Service, and an author of Moments in Silence.