The death of a 17-year-old Pakistani girl during the Sante Fe High School shooting has led to an outpouring of shock and grief in her home country, where many on social media branded the attack as “terrorism.” Sabika Sheikh, an exchange student from Karachi, who had been scheduled to return home in just a few weeks for the end of Ramadan, was one of 10 people killed when 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis opened fire inside his Texas high school on Friday. Her father, Abdul Aziz, said that he heard about the attack on the high school during live coverage on the news and tried to contact her.
“I kept calling her and sent her messages on WhatsApp. Never before had my daughter failed to reply,” Aziz told AFP, just hours after the family learned of Sheikh’s death. “We are still in a state of denial. It is like a nightmare.” Sheikh’s mother sat beside her husband as he spoke, silent and inconsolable.
“There is a general impression that … life is safe and secure in America,” he added. “But this is not the case.”
According to Aziz, Sheikh had been in the U.S. for 10 months, and had once dreamed of becoming part of Pakistan’s foreign office. The shooting in Sante Fe marked the 22nd school shooting this year in the U.S.
On social media, Pakistani users mourned the death of one of their own, with many referring to the mass shooting as a terrorist attack. In a statement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he offered Sheikh’s family his “deepest condolences,” and that he hoped her death would not discourage other students from studying abroad in the U.S. or elsewhere. Each year, thousands of Pakistani students come to the U.S. for schooling.
A special @ajplus story on #SabikaSheikh a bright, intelligent Pakistani exchange student, who was murdered along with 9 other students in the #SantaFeSchoolShooting incident in the United States pic.twitter.com/wxJJPsIXs5
— PTV News (@PTVNewsOfficial) May 21, 2018
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