A Pakistani schoolboy who died stopping a suicide bomber from attacking his school has been recommended for the country’s highest civilian award, a provincial police chief said.
On Friday, Nasir Khan Durrani recommended Aitezaz for Pakistan’s top civilian award – Sitara-e-Imtiaz.
Aitezaz Hassan, 15, tackled the bomber as he tried to enter a government school in the northwestern province of Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa. Hassan and the bomber died, but no other students or staff were hurt, police said.
“Though I lost my sweet son I have no regret for what he has done. He has done a heroic job and I am proud of his bravery,” Mujahid Ali, Aitezaz’s father, told Reuters news agency.
The bomber approached the school with explosives hidden under a school uniform on Monday, but students noticed and started shouting out warnings to stop him.
Aitezaz tackled him head on, but the bomb detonated and Aitezaz died of his injuries, said head teacher Azmat Ali.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Sunni Muslim sectarian group, claimed responsibility for the attack. The school is in Hangu, a predominantly Shia Muslim area.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi believe Shia, who make up about 20 percent of Pakistan’s 180 million people, are heretics, who should be killed.
The boy’s parents said no government official or politician had contacted them.
Aitezaz’s father said authorities could rename the school after him and officially declare him a martyr, a designation
that would bring some financial relief to his family.
His mother, brother, and two sisters were mourning Aitezaz, but took some comfort in knowing that he had saved many others, the father said.
The number of suicide bomb attacks in Pakistan rose by more than a third to 46 last year, according to a study released earlier this week by the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies.
The same study said that sectarian attacks were becoming more frequent and more deadly. Many Pakistani politicians maintain ties with sectarian groups in return for support at election time.