KARACHI: Sabika Sheikh, the Pakistani exchange student who was killed in Texas high school shooting last week, was laid to rest in her hometown Karachi.
Sabika was buried at Azeempura Graveyard in the metropolis’ Shah Faisal Colony, which is also the resting place of her grandparents.
Her funeral prayers were offered at Hakeem Saeed Ground earlier today, attended by several political dignitaries alongside her family and friends.
Among those in attendance were Sindh chief minister Murad Ali Shah, Sindh governor Mohammad Zubair, PSP chief Mustafa Kamal, PPP leader Saeed Ghani and representatives from other political parties.
Preparations for the funeral services and prayers were completed earlier, with white lines painted to mark rows for people to stand in. Tents were set up to provide shade to the attendees in the scorching Karachi heat. Security personnel were also stationed at the buildings surrounding the ground.
Speaking to media after the funeral, Governor Mohammad Zubair offered his condolences to Sabika’s family, and blamed security lapse in the US for shooting incidents.
“[Sabika] was martyred in a terrorist incident in [Texas]. If Pakistan can [reduce terrorism] incidents, then so can the United States,” he said.
Sabika’s father, Abdul Aziz Sheikh, thanked the media and government for their support in helping the grieving family to cope with their loss.
“I am grateful to the Government, the Prime Minister, the media for extending their support to us and helping us to cope with our grief and loss,” he told media after the burial.
Trying to hold back his tears, he said the incident would not deter them from sending their children abroad in pursuit of education.
“Terrorism is a global threat,” Sabika’s paternal uncle said, as he urged the world to unite to combat terrorism.
“This is the [only way] we can ensure a better future for our coming generations.”
Sabika Sheikh’s body arrived in Karachi during the early hours of Wednesday.
The foreign airline — TK-708 — carrying the body of Sheikh, 17, from Texas was earlier delayed by at least a day due to bad weather. Her family were at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport to receive the body.
John E. Warner, the acting US consul-general in Pakistan, was also present at the airport.
The body was subsequently transported to her residence in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, where her bereaved family and mourning friends and relatives were present. Her father, Abdul Aziz Sheikh, and her uncle Abdul Jaleel Sheikh accompanied the body from the airport to the residence in an ambulance.
The ambulance was provided special protocol by security personnel, including officers of the Airport Security Force (ASF).
On Friday, ten people, mostly students including Sabika Sheikh, were killed when a teenage classmate armed with a shotgun and a revolver opened fire in Texas’ Santa Fe high school, the latest deadly school shooting to hit the United States after the Florida massacre earlier this year.
The gunman — arrested on murder charges — was identified as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a 17-year-old junior at Santa Fe High School. He was being held on capital murder charges, meaning that he could face the death penalty.
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The 2018 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference is scheduled for April 8 to 11 in Boao, Hainan Province. The forum will be themed "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity."
— The Daily Mail - People's Daily