A teenager who was killed after reportedly stopping a suicide bomber at a school in northwest Pakistan is being hailed as a hero.
Aitizaz Hasan, 15, was late for school on Monday and as a punishment wasn’t allowed to attend assembly, the Express Tribune newspaper said.
Hasan and two schoolmates were standing outside the Government High School Ibrahimzai in Hangu, a town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, when they saw a man approach. One of Hasan’s friends spotted a detonator on the man; the schoolmates ran inside. But, as the newspaper wrote, “Aitizaz stood his ground and got hold of the bomber, who then detonated his vest.”
“I had never thought that my brother would die such a great death,” Hasan’s older brother, Mujtaba Hasan, told the newspaper. “He sacrificed his life to save humanity.”
Hasan’s father, Mujahid Ali, said: “My son made his mother cry but saved hundreds of mothers from crying for their children.”
There were 2,000 students at the school at the time of the attack, responsibility for which was claimed by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. The U.S. State Department regards the group as a foreign terrorist organization.
The school is the only one in the Shiite-dominated part of Hangu. The area is known for violence against Shiites.
Principal Lal Baz told the newspaper: “The attack targeted education, and I am surprised neither the federal nor the provincial government functionary has visited the family. Their silence is condemnable.”
Pakistanis and others are paying their tributes to the teenager on Twitter. Pakistan’s media are also weighing in on Hasan’s death.
“We don’t need more [Aitizazes]. Not one or one million. What we need is to be worthy of the one we lost. What we need is for those who claim to lead us to show the courage that this boy did. Perhaps, that is too much to ask from those who roll out apologies and obfuscations with such unerring regularity, but stammer and shake when it comes to naming those responsible for mass murder.”
Meanwhile, an explosion that targeted a police convoy in Karachi on Thursday killed three officers, including one of the city’s top police officials.