Sante Fe attack: Funeral for Pakistani student killed in Texas

Sabika Sheikh hoped to one day join Pakistan’s foreign service and become a diplomat before being killed in US shooting.

US shooting
Abdul Aziz Sheikh, father of Sabika Sheikh, comforts her friends prior to her funeral prayer in Karachi on Wednesday [Fareed Khan/AP]

Thousands of people in Karachi attended the funeral on Wednesday for a 17-year-old Pakistani exchange student who was killed in a mass shooting at a Texas high school.

Sabika Sheikh, who began attending the high school last August, was among 10 students and staff slain last Friday at Santa Fe High School near Houston.

Sabika was her family’s oldest child, and had hoped to one day join Pakistan’s foreign service as a diplomat.

She had been planning to return to Pakistan in a few weeks for Eid al-Fitr, the three-day holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Her tearful father, Abdul Aziz Sheikh, went to Karachi airport to receive her body early Wednesday as it arrived in her hometown.

Among the many mourners at a city mosque was the provincial governor.

“Before her death, she was just my daughter, but now she is the daughter of Pakistan, and it is only because of the love of people who mourned her killing,” her father said.

After the coffin was lowered into the ground, he said her life and the lives of others would not be wasted if steps were taken for stricter gun control in the whole world.

At a memorial service in Texas over the weekend, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Sabika continued to be a diplomat “because even in her death, she is pulling the relationships between Pakistan and the United States, specifically the Houston area, even closer”.

Police have said the 17-year-old suspect in the shooting used his father’s shotgun and .38-calibre pistol. The shooting reignited the debate over gun control in the US.

Pakistan requires gun owners to be licensed, but the rules are poorly enforced, particularly in the tribal regions along the border with Afghanistan. Heavily armed groups have carried out scores of attacks in recent years, including at schools.

Source: AP