WASHINGTON: The funeral of the 17-year-old Pakistani student Sabika Sheikh was held in the US city of Houston on Sunday and her body will be flown to Pakistan later in the evening.
Sabika, a Karachi teenager, was studying at Santa Fe High School in Texas on a US State Department scholarship. She was among 10 students gunned down on Friday inside the school by another teenager with white supremacist tendencies.
The funeral was held at a mosque in suburban Houston. Mayor of Houston Sylvester Turner, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, who heads the Pakistani caucus in Congress, Congressman Al Green, the American family that hosted Sabika for 10 months, and a large number of Houston citizens, of both American and Pakistani origin attended the funeral.
“It is a very tragic situation, the whole community is very moved by this unfortunate event, the death of such a young and promising student,” said Pakistan’s Consul General Aisha Farooqui, who represented Pakistan at the funeral service.
“Talking tough is not enough, it’s time to walk tough talk to the floor of Congress and vote (for gun control),” tweeted Congressman Green.
Sabika’s body will be flown to Pakistan on a Turkish Airlines flight, which leaves Houston at 9pm, arriving in Karachi early on Tuesday.
“We need to take care of the children of this world, whether in Pakistan, the United States or any other country,” the consul general said while lamenting the death of such a young person. “It’s up to the leaders to do so.”
Ms Farooqui noted that the loss of 10 young lives in the shooting had united the entire Houston community, “everybody is here (at Sabika’s funeral) because it is a shared grief”.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Sabika’s family and friends,” said Pakistan’s Ambassador Aizaz Chaudhry, who spoke to Sabika’s father to express heartfelt condolences over the tragic death of his daughter.
In a similar message to Sabika’s family on Saturday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sabika was in the United States, “helping to build ties between the US and her native Pakistan”.
Sabika’s father, Abdul Aziz Sheikh, told journalists that his daughter, the oldest of four children, had left Pakistan last August and was expected to return home in a few weeks for Eidul Fitr.
Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2018