PAKISTANI exchange student gunned down in Santa Fe Shooting.

 
 
 
 
‘Nightmare’: Pakistan family learns from CNN and mourns daughter killed in Texas shooting
Courtesy:
AFP
‘Nightmare’: Pakistan family mourns daughter killed in Texas shooting
 

Sabika Sheikh was a Pakistani foreign exchange student who was due to go back home to 
Pakistan  for Eid al-Fitr, a three-day holiday
 that marks the end of the holy Muslim
 month of Ramadan.
Megan Lysaght, manager of the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange & Study Abroad program (YES), sent a letter to students in the program confirming that Sabika was killed in the shooting.

“Please know that the YES program is devastated by this loss and we will remember Sabika and her families in our thoughts and prayers,” Lysaght wrote.
SANTA FE, Texas — The chaos after Friday’s shooting spread from the panicked campus out into the surrounding communities.
 
Friends, relatives and even parents reached out online trying to find their missing loved ones.

Family members have confirmed the names of six students and a teacher’s aide killed Friday when a student opened fire on his peers at Santa Fe High School.

In all, 10 people were killed and 10 were injured in the shooting that occurred between 7:30 and 7:45 a.m. Friday.

Santa Fe students Aaron Kyle McLeod, Angelique Ramirez, Chris Stone, Jared Conard Black, Kimberly Jessica Vaughan, Shana Fisher, Christian Garcia and Sabika Sheikh are confirmed dead, along with art room teacher’s aide Cynthia Tisdale, according to their families.

The Bereaving Family In Karachi, Pakistan
 
Abdul Aziz learned about the US school shooting in which his 17-year-old daughter was killed from CNN, with the story airing live as he broke his Ramadan fast thousands of miles away in Pakistan.

In those chaotic first moments of confusion and terror he called his daughter Sabika Sheikh’s phone over and over. She did not answer.

“I kept calling her and sent her messages on WhatsApp. Never before had my daughter failed to reply,” Aziz told AFP, fighting back tears at his home in the southern port city Karachi Saturday, just hours after he and his wife had their worst fears confirmed.

“We are still in a state of denial. It is like a nightmare,” said Aziz. His wife sat nearby, visibly still shocked and seemingly unable to speak as friends and relatives tried to comfort her.

Sheikh, an exchange student at the Santa Fe High School in Texas, was killed along with nine others after a heavily armed student opened fire on his classmates Friday.

It was the latest school shooting to rock the US, and came just three months after the massacre in Parkland, Florida, in which 17 people were killed, sparking an unprecedented grassroots, student-led gun control movement.

In Pakistan, the Santa Fe shooting has unleashed an outpouring of sympathy and horror over the tragic murder of Sheikh, who had been in the US for 10 months and was just weeks away from coming home.

Sheikh’s father said she had always excelled in school, and had dreamed of serving in Pakistan’s foreign office.

She had been due to return to Karachi in time for Eid al-Fitr, one of Islam’s most revered holidays, marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in which families come together and celebrate with days of feasting.

“She was coming back soon,” her father said.

“There is a general impression that… life is safe and secure in America. But this is not the case.”

‘Terrorism’

The alleged gunman – Dimitrios Pagourtzis, who at 17 is the same age as Sheikh – was later apprehended by police and is being held on capital murder charges, meaning he could face the death penalty.

Police have yet to release details about a possible motive.

It was the 22nd school shooting this year, according to US media reports, a disturbing statistic in a country where firearms are part of everyday life and there are more than 30,000 gun-related deaths annually.

The news that a Pakistani exchange student was among the dead appeared to break through the now-routine outpouring of grief on social media after such killings, with US celebrities joining Pakistanis in expressing their sorrow

“This little girl could’ve been my daughter. We must do more than just console the parents of these murdered kids,” said American actress Mindy Kaling on Twitter, along with a picture of Sheikh in a post online.

Some Pakistanis, for whom militant violence is all too familiar, branded the killing “terrorism”.

“My heart is crying for #SabikaSheikh we have lost our brightest asset because of terrorism,” tweeted Malik Rohaina, from the southern Pakistani city of Hyderabad.

Despite perennially rocky relations between Washington and Islamabad, the US has long been a favored destination for Pakistani students studying abroad, with thousands enrolling in American schools every year.

Sheikh was in the US on a State Department-sponsored exchange programme.

Expressing his “deepest condolences” to her family and friends, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that Sheikh was “helping to build ties between the United States and her native Pakistan”.

“Sabika’s death and that of the other victims is heartbreaking and will be mourned deeply” in both countries, he added.

Even as he mourned the loss of his daughter, Aziz said he hoped the tragedy would not frighten fellow Pakistanis from following her lead.

“Such incidents should not make people lose heart… and one should not stop going to the US or UK or China or anywhere,” said Aziz.

“One must go for education undeterred.”

About Zakiah

I write poetry and some fiction, have a book that was published in 2012. . . Stray Thoughts/Winged Words. I have four grandchildren, ages 16 and half to almost 16 months. I love the ocean, and grew up along the Indian Ocean in South India. I am a retired physician. Don't know much else to say. Thanks for reading. That has been my profile for so many years. My daughter Saadia a great poet and story teller, has two sons; the oldest grandson is now 21 years old, doing architectural engineering at Missouri S&T in Rolla MO. His younger brother is almost 16 and taking driving lessons seriously and is in High School. The other two grandsons, children of my son Sayeed, are 9 and 5. I have recently published another book titled Gulistan, A home of Flowers. It has stories and memories of my childhood and of a distant land which I still consider as my HOME., even though I have lived here in the US for more than fifty years. Hope to see you on my blog.
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13 Responses to PAKISTANI exchange student gunned down in Santa Fe Shooting.

  1. mrswrangler says:

    So awful for all the families but they are probably the worst because of the distance between them and their child

  2. Such a horrific tragedy. I am not sure I could react in the way her father did. He is inspiring to put it mildly. I can not imagine the horror or the shock these families are dealing with. They are in my prayers.

  3. murisopsis says:

    When this news broke so did so many hearts.

  4. I read about this sad, sad tragedy. Why does this nightmare keep happening again? I feel so badly for her parents.

  5. This is heart breaking. 😦 I type this with tears flowing. 😦
    I will never understand why this continues to happen.
    We should see any child, any young adult, as our children, too! Adults should work to make the world a safe place for our children of the world!
    (((HUGS)))

    • Zakiah says:

      It has me paralyzed with fear for what innocent kids are going through. I cry for the parents of this young girl. What dreams and desires she must have had, and how the parents must have supported her. What grief and sorrow they must feel, when I, so far removed from them, am going through such agonizing sorrow for them.
      Heaven help us.

  6. this is awful and shows the decay of the occidenal civilisation.
    Love ❤
    Michel

  7. Zakiah says:

    Dear Michel,
    It is indeed a devastating decay of the occidental civilization. We used to be so proud of this nation and the way we held our heads high. Now it seems that every day we are brought to our knees with such unspeakable grief.
    Thank you for the sympathetic comment my friend.
    Love,
    Zakiah.

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