US school shooting victim Sabika Sheikh
The funeral prayers for Sabika Sheikh, a 17-year-old Pakistani exchange student who was killed in a Texas school shooting last week, were offered at Karach’s Hakeem Saeed Ground at 9am on Wednesday. Security arrangements were tight at the venue, where a number of government officials and political leaders, including Sindh Chief Minister Murad Shah, Sindh Governer Muhammad Zubair, Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal, Pak Sarzameen Party chief Mustafa Kamal, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf ’s (PTI) Halim Adil Sheikh and others attended her funeral prayers. About 100 police officers were deployed at the ground, where a bomb disposal squad had conducted a sweep to ensure security for attendees. She was laid to rest at the Azimpura graveyard in Shah Faisal Colony. Sabika, a Karachi teenager whose family lives in the Gulshan-i-Iqbal area, was studying at Santa Fe High School in Texas on a US State Department scholarship under the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) programme. She was among 10 students gunned down on Friday inside the school by another teenager with white supremacist tendencies. According to her father, Sabika — the eldest among three sisters but younger than her brother — was due to return home on June 9. Her family had been counting the days till her return. Her body arrived from the US at 4am today after a Turkish Airlines flight carrying it was delayed due to bad weather. Her body was earlier scheduled to arrive at 9am on Tuesday. Her father, Aziz Sheikh, received her body at the airport. US Consul General John Warner, and PSP, PTI, PPP, and Muttahida Qaumi Movement leaders were also present at the airport alongside her family members. Airport Security Officials at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport presented a guard of honour to the slain teenager. Sabika’s body was transported from the airport to her residence, where relatives, loved ones and neighbours converged to pay their final respects to her.