Sabika wanted to improve Pakistan's image abroad, says her father

Sabika wanted to improve Pakistan's image abroad, says her father
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Abdul Aziz Shaikh, father of Sabika Shaikh, victim of Texas School Shooting, sharing with Arab News memories of his daughter here on Sunday, May 20, 2018 (AN photo by M.F. Sabir)
Sabika wanted to improve Pakistan's image abroad, says her father
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Soha Aziz Shaikh, youngest sister of Sabika Aziz Shaikh, victim of Texas School Shooting, sharing memories of golden time she has spent with her elder sister (AN photo by M.F. Sabir)
Sabika wanted to improve Pakistan's image abroad, says her father
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Shields of Sabika Aziz Shaikh, victim of Texas School Shooting, who, according to family and teachers, was one of the brightest and distinguished students in her school (AN photo by M.F. Sabir)
Sabika wanted to improve Pakistan's image abroad, says her father
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Karachi Public School, an educational institution in Karachi’s PECHS neighborhood, were Sabika Shaikh, victim of Texas School Shooting, was studying her O-levels before leaving for US as Foreign Exchange Student. School is closed due to summer vacations (AN photo by M.F. Sabir)
Sabika wanted to improve Pakistan's image abroad, says her father
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A relative is leaving house of Sabika Shaikh, victim of Texas School Shooting, after condoling her death with family at Gulshan-e-Iqbal neighborhood of Karachi here on Sunday, May 20, 2018 (AN photo by M.F. Sabir)
Sabika wanted to improve Pakistan's image abroad, says her father
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People from different walks of life are coming at Karachi residence of Sabika Shaikh, victim of Texas School Shooting, to condole death with her family (AN photo by M.F. Sabir)
Sabika wanted to improve Pakistan's image abroad, says her father
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People from different walks of life are coming at Karachi residence of Sabika Shaikh, victim of Texas School Shooting, to condole death with her family (AN photo by M.F. Sabir)
Sabika wanted to improve Pakistan's image abroad, says her father
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People from different walks of life are coming at Karachi residence of Sabika Shaikh, victim of Texas School Shooting, to condole death with her family (AN photo by M.F. Sabir)
Sabika wanted to improve Pakistan's image abroad, says her father
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People from different walks of life are coming at Karachi residence of Sabika Shaikh, victim of Texas School Shooting, to condole death with her family (AN photo by M.F. Sabir)
Sabika wanted to improve Pakistan's image abroad, says her father
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DSNG Vans of local news channels are being parked outside residence of Texas School shooting’s victim Sabika Shaikh for 24 hours coverage as different social and political leaders are arriving to mourn and condole the tragic death (AN photo by M.F. Sabir)
Sabika wanted to improve Pakistan's image abroad, says her father
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Soha Aziz Shaikh, sister of Sabika Shaikh, victim of Texas School Shooting, speaking to Arab News (AN photo by M.F. Sabir)
Sabika wanted to improve Pakistan's image abroad, says her father
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DSNG Vans of local news channels are being parked outside residence of Texas School shooting’s victim Sabika Shaikh for 24 hours coverage as different social and political leaders are arriving to mourn and condole the tragic death (AN photo by M.F. Sabir)
Updated 20 May 2018

Sabika wanted to improve Pakistan's image abroad, says her father

Sabika wanted to improve Pakistan's image abroad, says her father
  • Seventeen-year-old Pakistani girl wanted to be a diplomat and improve her country’s image abroad.
  • Her father says she wanted to be like Tasneem Aslam and Maleeha Lodhi.

KARACHI: Sabika Aziz Shaikh, the Pakistani victim of the Texas school shooting, wanted to join the Foreign Service of Pakistan and improve the image of her country.
This was revealed by her father, Abdul Aziz Shaikh, during an interview with Arab News on Sunday. The 17-year-old Pakistani foreign exchange student, participating in the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program in the US, was killed along with nine others when a teenage classmate opened fire on fellow students in the Santa Fe High School in Texas on Friday.
When the tragic news reached Sabika’s hometown, her friends, relatives and other people started pouring in to her residence in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Karachi in order to mourn her death and condole with the bereaved family.
Sabika’s father said that most children dream of becoming doctors or engineers. “Sabika wanted to sit the Central Superior Services (CSS) exams and join the Foreign Service of Pakistan. She thought that Pakistan was a great country, but that it had an image problem.”
“At one point, she told me that she wanted to be like Maleeha Lodhi and Tasneem Aslam,” said Abdul Aziz Shaikh. “Her desire was to improve the image of Pakistan abroad.”
“She was not very studious and did not study for long hours but she was extremely intelligent. She liked to hang out with friends and family and was full of life,” Abdul Aziz Shaikh said.
He recalled the day he took his daughter to a local hospital for a blood test, saying she did not like needles and resisted the idea of being pricked in her arm.
“When I told her that her unwillingness would make it difficult for her to fulfill her dream of studying in the US, she gave in. But she cried while they were taking her blood,” he said in a state of grief, adding: “She was so scared of needles. It’s hard for me to imagine what she must have thought on hearing gunshots that fateful day.”
“Was she crying at that moment, taking my name or thinking of her mother? I haven't been able to get these thoughts out of my mind ever since hearing the news of her death,” Abdul Aziz Shaikh said in a feeble voice.
“Daughters are usually closer to their fathers. but Sabika was also the darling of her mother. She had close attachments to everyone. And my youngest daughter, Soha, has lost her best buddy,” he said.
Soha recalled her last conversation with Sabika as she spoke to Arab News. On Thursday, her sister had said that she would be back in Pakistan after 19 days. “She told me that she had bought gifts for us, asking me if I wanted anything specific from the US,” said Soha.
She was fond of Pakistani cuisine. “She told me that she wanted to have Bismillah Biryani – from our old neighborhood of Shah Faisal – when she came back to the country,” Soha said.
“She was fasting when she was shot,” Abdul Aziz Shaikh continued. “She wanted to fast for the whole month.”
Ali Aziz, Sabika’s brother, told Arab News that she “was among the 75 students who got selected for the exchange program out of five thousand applicants.”
“She made us proud and didn’t put any financial burden on her family since winning the prestigious scholarship. She was very excited and happy when she left for the US. She left her O Level incomplete and was planning to continue it on her return,” Abdul Aziz Shaikh said.
Talking to the media outside Sabika’s residence in Karachi, Shehla Shamim, principal of the Karachi Public School, said that Sabika was a position holder.
“She was not just a student but a representative of Pakistan. She was proud of going to the US and told me that she wanted to carry Pakistani culture to that country with her,” she said.
Her father told Arab News that Sabika’s body had been handed over to the Muslim community and would be sent to Pakistan soon.
“We will offer her funeral prayer on Tuesday morning,” he said.