Thousands of people gathered at Hakim Saeed Ground on University Road to join the funeral prayers of Sabika Sheikh, after which she was laid to rest in Azeempura graveyard.
Sabika, a 17-year-old Pakistani student who went to Texas on an exchange programme, died on Friday. Her classmate, 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, opened fire in Santa Fe High School, killing Sabika and nine other people.
Sabika’s body arrived in Karachi at 3:30am late Tuesday night. At the airport, ASF personnel performed a guard of honour for her.
The body was then taken to her house, where mourning began upon her arrival. Acting US Consul-General in Karachi, John E Warner, and local politicians also arrived to condole with the family. According to the US consulate in Karachi, US President Donald Trump “directed the American flag to fly at half-staff worldwide as a mark of solemn respect for #SabikaSheikh and the 9 other victims of the Texas shooting.”
— US Embassy Islamabad (@usembislamabad) May 21, 2018
The commander of US CENTCOM, General Joseph Votel, also called on Pakistani army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, to offer his condolence.
Commander USCENTCOM General Joseph Votel called COAS. Condoled unfortunate death of Pakistani student Sabika Sheikh in Texas School firing. Conveyed his grief to bereaved family on loss of an innocent life.
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) May 22, 2018
Later, the family brought the body to the Hakim Saeed Ground for funeral prayers. Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah and Governor Muhammad Zubair were also there. Mufti Iqbal led the funeral prayers.
The family then took the body to Azeempura graveyard near Shah Faisal Colony for burial. As many as 175 security personnel were deployed along the route from Gulshan-e-Iqbal to Shah Faisal Colony. According to the traffic police, the body was taken from Nipa Flyover to Drigh Road, from where it reached the graveyard in Malir via Sharae Faisal.
Gone too soon
Sabika’s friends and family remembered her in kind words.
“Now, we just have her memories,” said one friend, Ramsha. According to her, Sabika was always helpful towards others besides being an outshining student.
“Nobody can be what Sabika was for me,” said another friend, Dua.
Sabika’s parents recalled how they planned a surprise for their daughter when she was shortlisted for the exchange programme in US. “We didn’t tell her first that she had been selected,” says her father, Aziz Sheikh. “She was overjoyed when we did later.”
‘She had a dream’
Sabika wanted to see Pakistan-US ties improve. And she was quite successful on an individual level in her vision. Her affinity developed with the family she lived with on her exchange programme. At her funeral in Houston, the host family marked their presence. One man in the family said that he had started fasting because of Sabika.