The death of great humanitarian

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With her efforts, in 1996, the World Health Organisation declared Pakistan one of the first countries in Asia to have controlled leprosy. Such was the struggle of great humanitarian Dr Ruth Pfau who died on Thursday of age-related illnesses. Dr Pfau was the epitome of devotion and selflessness. Few individuals can match the dedication and heroism of Dr Pfau. She left her homeland and made Pakistan her home to serve humanity. She gave new hope to innumerable people and proved through her illustrious toil that serving humanity knows no boundaries. Pakistani nation salutes Dr Pfau and her great tradition to serve humanity. She was born in 1929 in Germany and lived through the horrors of the World War II. Dr. Pfau joined the Society of Daughters of the Heart of Mary and was assigned to go to India but landed in Karachi for a brief stay due to some visa problems. Her interaction with leprosy patients in the port city motivated her to change the plan and stay rest of life in Pakistan to help the patients. She was 29 when landed in Karachi for the first time. She was awarded the Hilal-e-Imtiaz – Pakistan’s second highest civilian award – in 1979, the Hilal-e-Pakistan in 1989. She was also awarded the Staufer Medal at the German consulate Karachi in 2015. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi announced in a statement that a state funeral would be held for her which is welcome indeed. A woman driven by compassion and the humble desire of making a difference, Dr Ruth will be remembered as a guardian angel of lepers in Pakistan. What sets her apart and makes her an unmatchable hero is her undying conviction – the same conviction with which she left her home country, travelled across to a foreign space and lay down her hat. The conviction with which she held onto the uncertain nature of her work and also an unfamiliar milieu in which she operated despite many challenges and hurdles. In her legendary life and, now in her death, we find many lessons. We must reevaluate our ways and incorporate compassion and sensitivity towards our fellow human beings. As a matter of fact, to honour her legacy, continue her work and support her cause, the government must allocate sufficient funds to her organization so that the good work initiated by her and done for so long should go on and her cause continue with the same spirit from where she left in her death. We are proud of her exemplary services, and she will remain in our hearts as a shining symbol in times ahead. Over 50,000 patients have been treated in Karachi alone. Her feet touched every part of the country from far-flung remote areas to the teeming sprawling cities. This mission must go on.

In line of fire

The heinous killing of DSP Muhammad Hanif and gunman Sultan in the line of duty in Azizabad on Friday morning is matter of grave concern. On the one hand, there is a sudden outbreak in bank robberies in the city while on the other, targeted attacks on cops in line of duty have resurfaced with full force in recent months. The way unidentified attackers opened fire on the official vehicle of the Liaqatabad deputy superintendent of police in Azizabad locality of the city speaks volume of the worsening situation. Banned outfits operating in the city could be behind the attack. Officials of the police are targeted in similar attacks in the metropolis. On July 24, a traffic police official was martyred and another injured in a gun attack in the Abul Hasan Isphani road area of the metropolis. The traffic officials were performing their duty when they were attacked and were posted at the Gulzar-e-Hijri traffic section. On July 21, three police personnel were martyred when their vehicle was fired upon by unidentified assailants in the Korangi area of Karachi. On June 23, four police officials were martyred in a gun attack by unknown assailants in the city’s SITE area. An assistant sub-inspector was among those martyred in the attack. The policemen had stopped at a local eatery for Iftar when three assailants on a motorcycle, with their faces covered with helmets, opened fire and fled. On the night of May 20, two police officers were killed and one “seriously injured” in a firing incident near Dhoraji area of Karachi. Security officials revealed that a police vehicle was shot at, resulting in the instant deaths of Assistant Sub-Inspector Iftikhar and Head Constable Younus, while another official was injured. Meanwhile, it is welcome to note that Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal has not only ordered an inquiry into the attack and directed for heightened security across the city but he has vowed to unearth the criminals and make them face the music. There are numerous splinter groups – of either outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan or Lashkar-i-Jhangvi – responsible for the spate of attacks in recent months.

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