Texas school shooting: In death, this Pakistani girl is pulling Islamabad, United States closer

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New Delhi | Updated: May 21, 2018 1:23:31 PM

In the Texas school shooting on Friday, Sabika Sheikh, a 17-year-old Pakistani girl was killed along with nine fellow students.

Sabika Sheikh was in America (Facebook/Pakistan Association of Greater Houston)

In the Texas school shooting on Friday, Sabika Sheikh, a 17-year-old Pakistani girl was killed along with nine fellow students. She wanted to be a diplomat in future, and visited the US under a foreign exchange programme to experience the “American culture”. The Pakistani Embassy in Washington DC took to Twitter to break the news and express their thoughts and prayers. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Sheikh continues to be a diplomat because “in her death, she is pulling relationships between Pakistan and the United States closer, and specifically the Houston area.”

Sheikh, who was scheduled to go back home in a few weeks, is from Karachi and the eldest of the four children in her family. Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi went to meet her family, offered his condolences and said, “Sabika was an intelligent student, and the whole nation is sad on her death. I pray to God to give the family courage to bear the loss.” He also added that “extremism is not limited to a particular region or country, it is a global issue that needs to be addressed.”

Abdul Aziz Sheikh, Sabika’s father, is living in “the state of denial” ever since he got the news. Abdul got to know about the news while he was going through the TV channels. He then tried to call Sabika and friends, but since no one responded, he ended up calling the exchange programme. There he got to know about the news of his daughter’s death. “We can’t believe it. It’s like a nightmare,” Sheikh told The Associated Press. But Abdul, however, does not want people to stop going to study abroad. He in fact still encourages it but urges the governments to take necessary security measures to stop incidents like this. “One should not stop going for education to countries like the US or UK, or China, or anywhere. One must go for education undeterred,” he said.

Sabika’s mortal remains will arrive at Karachi on Monday night, and the funeral will be held on Tuesday in a local mosque. The members of Houston’s Muslim community also conducted a service for her in the US. Joleen Cogburn, her host mother in the US recollected that Sabika not only wanted to experience American culture, she also wanted to introduce Pakistani culture in America. (With AP inputs)

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