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Heartbreak of Pakistani family after Texas school shooting

Heartbreak of Pakistani family after Texas school shooting
By Emily Commander
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Pakistani exchange student Sabika Sheikh was in El Paso as part of a student exchange programme. It should have been an exciting opportunity for her, but instead she lost her life.


The school shooting in Santa Fe has reverberated around the globe. In Pakistan, thousands of miles away from the grieving community, the Sheikh family are mourning the death of their daughter, who was amongst those killed in the attack.

Sabika Sheikh was studying in El Paso as part of the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Abroad programme when she found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Ironically she might have thought that she was in a safe place when she flew to the US. The murder rate there is 5 people per 100,000, where in her native Pakistan it is 6.8. But the recent spate of school shootings in America, along with a thriving gun culture, have made US classrooms one of the deadliest places to be, and they turned Sakiba's golden opportunity into a nightmare.

Live footage

Her father, Abdul Aziz Sheikh, happened to be watching a local news channel when news of the school shooting appeared on the screen. Shocked, he watched the live footage from Santa Fe and tried, increasingly desperately, to contact Sakiba by telephone.

"My daughter was not in touch with anyone. It was 10.30 at night in Pakistan and they informed me that [they] were going to hospital and would inform [me]. When they called back and I received their phone call, they started crying. I realised my daughter is no more in this world".

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