A nightmare unfolded Friday afternoon in Christchurch, New Zealand. It is being called the darkest of days in the country’s history.
A 28-year-old Australian, identified as Brenton Harrison Tarrant, leisurely walked into two mosques and killed 49 people and injured countless others. A New Zealand court charged the primary suspect in the shootings with murder on Saturday.
Among the deceased were six Pakistani nationals. Below are accounts on the life and families of these six Pakistanis.
Naeem Rashid was originally from Abbottabad in Pakistan. He was a teacher in Christchurch. In the video of the attack at the Al Noor mosque, Naeem is at one point seen attempting to tackle the gunman. Naeem passed away at Christchurch Hospital. His death was confirmed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and his family. He is being hailed a hero for risking his life to save the lives of other when he tried to tackle the shooter.
His brother, Khurshid Alam, said he was proud of his actions after seeing the video, reported BBC. “He was a brave person, and I’ve heard from a few people there, there were few witnesses… they’ve said he saved a few lives there by trying to stop that guy.”
“It’s a still a shock for us, whatever hero he becomes… it’s our pride now, but still the loss. It’s like cutting your limb off,” said Alam.
Naeem will be buried in Christchurch along with his 22-year-old son who also lost his life to the shooting.
Talha Rashid, 22
Talha was Naeem’s eldest son. The 22-year-old moved to New Zealand with his family at the age of 11. His death was also confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Friends said Talha had just got a new job, and was hoping to get married soon. “A few days ago when I spoke to Naeem, he told me about his plans to come to Pakistan and get his son married,” said Talha’s uncle in Lahore, reported BBC. He said the family was now making funeral arrangements.
Syed Jahandad Ali, 34
Jahandad’s wife Amna Ali last spoke to her husband Friday morning. She is currently in Pakistan.
Stuff reported Amna had not heard from him since. One of his colleagues told her they had left work at 1pm on Friday to head to the Deans Ave mosque, the publication wrote.
Haroon Mahmood, 40
Dr Haroon Mahmood worked at Canterbury College – a private school in New Zealand for English language and business students. He was the assistant academic director.
According to his LinkedIn profile, he completed his master from SZABIST and worked in the banking sector in Pakistan.
He was a tutor in economics and statistics at Lincoln University from 2014-16, and the university posted on Facebook when he submitted his doctoral thesis last July on “maturity transformation risk, profitability and stability in Islamic banking”.
He also lectured in business at Linguis International in Christchurch from 2014 until April 2017, and joined Canterbury College in May 2017.
Dr Mahmood has a wife and two children aged 13 and 11, the New Zealand Herald reported.
Syed Areeb Ahmed, 26
He was from Karachi. His parents were identified as Ayaz Ahmed and Tanzeem Fatima by the Foreign office. More details on Areeb, however, are not yet available.
Sohail Shahid, 40, was also among the victims.