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Gun violence in the US

‘It is a nightmare’: parents of Pakistani exchange student killed in Texas prepare for her funeral

Sabika Sheikh, 17, was one of nine people – eight pupils, two teachers – shot dead at Santa Fe High School in Texas on Friday

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 May, 2018, 2:35am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 May, 2018, 2:32pm

Hundreds of people are expected to attend the funeral Sunday in Texas of Sabika Sheikh, the young Pakistani exchange student killed in a mass shooting Friday at a Texas high school, organisers told AFP.

The sombre ceremony is to take place at an Islamic centre in the Texas town of Stafford, not far from Santa Fe High School, where the shooting took place, the Islamic Society of Greater Houston said in a statement. 

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“We are still in a state of denial. It is like a nightmare,” Sheikh’s father, Abdul Aziz, told AFP at the family home in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi.

Ten people – eight students, including Sheikh, and two teachers – were killed on Friday when a shooter identified by police as 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis opened fire with a shotgun and a handgun before surrendering to police.

The 17-year-old Sheikh, described by her family as an excellent student, had dreamed of working for Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry. 

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She had been due to return to Karachi in coming weeks in time for Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The Islamic Society, in its statement, called the shooting “an act of terror” and said such events “remind us as to what world we live in, where sanctity of life is not valued”.

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It said it had offered to help with the funeral and the transportation of Sheikh’s body back to Pakistan.

Some 60,000 people in Houston, 35 miles (55 kilometres) from Santa Fe, are of Pakistani descent.