Funeral prayers offered for slain Pakistani student

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Funeral prayer of seventeen-year old Texas school shooting victim was offered at Hakeem Saeed Ground of Karachi here in morning on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 (AN Photo by M.F.Sabir)
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Coffin of Sabika Shaikh is being taken to Hakeem Saeed Ground of Gulshan-e-Iqbal for funeral here on Wednesday, May 23, 2018. (AN Photo by M.F.Sabir)
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Chief Minister Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah, arriving in at Hakeem Saeed Ground to offer funeral prayer of Sabika Shaikh here on Wednesday, May 23, 2018. (AN Photo by M.F.Sabir)
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An Airport Security Force’s Ambulance taking Sabika Shaikh’s body arrives in at her residence at Gulshan-e-Iqbal vicinity of the city here on Wednesday morning (AN Photo by M.F.Sabir)
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Coffin of the Texas School shooting is being taken to her residence at Gulshan-e-Iqbal neighborhood of Karachi here on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 (AN Photo by M.F.Sabir)
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Coffin of Sabika Shaikh is being taken to Hakeem Saeed Ground of Gulshan-e-Iqbal for funeral here on Wednesday, May 23, 2018. (AN Photo by M.F.Sabir)
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Personnel of the Airport Security Force are taking coffin of Sabika Shaikh – a seventeen-old victim of Santa Fe High School shooting – out of Cargo terminal of Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport after arrival of her body from the U.S. (AN Photo by M.F.Sabir)
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Relatives and neighbors arriving to Fateha for Sabika Shaikh, a seventeen-old foreign exchange student killed at Santa Fe High School, in Texas, U.S.A. (AN Photo by M.F.Sabir)
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Abdul Aziz Shaikh, father of Sabika Shaikh, a seventeen-old foreign exchange student killed at Santa Fe High School, in Texas, U.S.A, consoling one of his daughter’s classmates, who arrived at Sabika’s residence at see her for last one time. (AN Photo by M.F.Sabir)
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Personnel of security forces were deployed outside Sabika’s residence in Karachi due to arrival of the VIPs to condole the death (AN Photo by M.F.Sabir)
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Personnel of the Airport Security Force are taking coffin of Sabika Shaikh – a seventeen-old victim of Santa Fe High School shooting – out of Cargo terminal of Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport after arrival of her body from the U.S. (AN Photo by M.F.Sabir)
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Relatives and neighbors arriving to condole with Abdul Aziz Shaikh, death of his daughter Sabika Shaikh, a seventeen-old foreign exchange student killed at Santa Fe High School, in Texas, U.S.A. (AN Photo by M.F.Sabir)
Updated 23 May 2018
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Funeral prayers offered for slain Pakistani student

  • Abdul Aziz Shaikh: “The attack on my daughter will not keep us away from education.”
  • The alleged gunman, 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, is being held on murder charges.

KARACHI: Funeral prayers have been offered for Sabika Shaikh, the 17-year-old Pakistani student who was killed in a mass shooting at a Texas high school last week.

Shaikh’s body arrived in Karachi early on Wednesday, Radio Pakistan reported.

Acting US counsel Gen. John Warner, Sindh ministers and political leaders joined the student’s family at Karachi airport to receive the flag-draped coffin.

An airport security force contingent offered a salute before Shaikh’s body was handed over to her father, Abdul Aziz Sheikh.

Shaikh was laid to rest later on Wednesday at Azeempura Graveyard in Karachi’s Shah Faisal Colony.

Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah and Gov. Sindh Mohammad Zubair joined family and friends at the funeral prayers.

Speaking after the funeral, Zubair said the shooting incident in the US was a result of security lapse.

“(Shaikh) was martyred in a terrorist incident (in Texas). If Pakistan can (reduce terror) incidents, then so can the United States,” he said.

The Pakistani exchange student was among 10 students and staff killed in shooting at Santa Fe High School. 

The alleged gunman, 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, is being held on murder charges.

Shaikh had planned to return home in a few weeks for Eid Al-Fitr. She was her family’s oldest child and began classes at Santa Fe High School last August.

Speaking to the media, Shaikh’s family called for collective efforts against terrorism.

“Terrorism is problem number one in the world,” Abdul Jaleel Shaikh, the student’s paternal uncle, said.

“If we fail to stand against terrorism, it will destroy our next generations,” he said.

Jaleel Shaikh, whose two children are also studying at universities in Florida and Washington, urged the US government to bring in tougher gun control laws.

Abdul Aziz Shaikh, the slain student’s father, said: “The attack on my daughter will not keep us away from education.”

“If we don’t send our children to educational institutions due to fears of terrorism, it means we are indirectly supporting terrorism,” he said.


Modi secures a second five-year term with landslide win in Indian elections

Updated 27 sec ago
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Modi secures a second five-year term with landslide win in Indian elections

  • The governing alliance, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, sweeps back to power after a bitter campaign

NEW DELHI: India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday scored a landslide election victory, increasing its seats in Parliament after a bitter and divisive campaign.

The results amount to a massive blow for the 133-year-old Congress Party, which dominated India’s political life for more than 50 years after the country gained independence in 1947. Narendra Modi has made history by becoming India’s first prime minister in the last 40 years to be re-elected with a parliamentary majority.

The BJP on its own is expected to have a little over 300 seats in the Lok Sabha (lower house), more than it had in the outgoing chamber. The ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), of which the BJP is a part, will have nearly 350 MPs in the Lok Sabha.

The Congress Party is expected to finish with just 55 seats, albeit 11 more than its 2014 election tally. By most projections, the Congress-led opposition alliance will not even have 100 seats. Congress Party President Rahul Gandhi suffered a major personal setback in the family borough, the constituency of Amethi in northern India, where he lost to a Modi Cabinet minister. But Gandhi won his second seat in Wayanad in the south by a big margin. 

“I concede defeat and congratulate Prime Minister Narendra Modi for winning the elections,” Gandhi said on Thursday. He has offered to resign from his post in his party’s most powerful organizational body, the Congress Working Committee, but political analysts say it is highly unlikely that his resignation will be accepted.

The margin of the BJP’s victory has come as a surprise to many, with the party not only retaining its seats in the battleground states of northern and western India, but also expanding its footprint in two eastern states: West Bengal and Odisha. “Together, we’ll build a strong and inclusive India. India wins yet again!” Modi tweeted after the results showed the BJP sweeping to victory.

Shashi Shekhar, a New Delhi-based political analyst, told Arab News: “This is a phenomenal election victory that has stumped all the pollsters. The BJP was expected to face a big challenge from the opposition alliance in some of the crucial states, such as Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, which together account for 128 seats. But it seems the narrative of muscular nationalism propagated by the BJP overcame all challenges. There’s a now a genuine fear that if the BJP continues with its old policy of marginalizing religious minorities, India might turn into a majoritarian state. However, I hope Modi’s second term turns out to be more inclusive.”

Modi’s India can do its bit for Middle East and Gulf stability

Sudheendra Kulkarni, a Mumbai-based political commentator, said: “The Congress Party failed to capture the imagination of the people. The party’s slogans didn’t click with voters the way the BJP’s did.”

Against this backdrop of an imminent decisive win, Modi began to receive messages of congratulations from world leaders on Thursday. Among them was Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. “I congratulate Prime Minister Modi on the electoral victory of BJP and allies. Look forward to working with him for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia,” Khan tweeted.

In his second term, in addition to addressing economic problems at home, Modi will need to keep a close eye on relations with neighboring Pakistan. Bilateral relations remain tense months after they came close to war following a deadly attack in Indian-administered Kashmir on paramilitary soldiers, and an Indian air raid deep inside Pakistan.

“There’s no alternative to dialogue,” said Kulkarni. “We should expect that with a renewed mandate (for Modi’s government), there should be a fresh attempt to engage with Islamabad.”