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Aitzaz Hasan: 15-yr-old gave his life tackling a bomber, saved 2000 schoolmates

Dunya News

Civil society calls for Nishan-e-Haider, the highest posthumous military award for the teenager.

HANGU: (Dunya News) - A teenage student sacrificed his life tackling a suicide bomber in an attempt to save the lives of over 2000 schoolmates in Hangu.
According to the reports, the 15-year-old Aitzaz was playing with friends outside school when they saw a man wearing a suicide vest heading towards the school. Aitzaz was then warned by fellow students not go near the bomber but the teenaged hero had decided to brave the fear and confront the apparent suicide bomber. It is during this confrontation that the bomber detonated his vest killing himself and Aitzaz. According to media reports, an estimated number of 2000 pupils were inside the school at the time and the casualties would have been multiplied had the bomber reached his aim.
The incident took place at a Shia-dominated area of Hangu and targeting based on sectarian profiling has increased in numbers especially in the recent times. According to reports, banned outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi had claimed the responsibility of this terrorist attack.
Aitzaz Hasan’s cousin while speaking to a British media said that his cousin wanted to capture the attacker as he believed the bomber was going to attack his friends and other pupils inside the school building. Aitzaz’s cousin further said that without the sacrifice of his cousin, the school would have been a sight of destruction.
The family and friends termed the actions of teenage hero as brave and insisted on celebrating his bravery instead of focusing on the sorrow brought about by his death.
Speaking to the media, Aitzaz’s father said that his son made his mother cry but saved hundreds of mothers from crying. He went on to say that he is ready to sacrifice his second son as well and that he is now one of the proud fathers whose son is amongst the martyrs of the nation.
The family requested the government to award either Tamgha-e-Shujaat or Nishan-e-Haider award for the bravery of Aitzaz. This call was also echoed by members of civil society and activists especially in the cyber space.
The students, teachers and the principal of the school have expressed grief over the incident saying they are still in shock and at loss of words to describe the incident. They termed this attack as the attack on education and paid respect to the young hero for sacrificing his life for the cause of education as this was the only school in the area.
Criticizing the provincial and federal governments, the principal of the school said that he is surprised that no official has visited the family as their son died in an attempt to foil an attack on education. Aitzaz’s class fellow Atif Hussain is quoted by media saying his friend has sacrificed his life for the cause of education and that no one can snatch his memories and right to education from them.
The sectarian violence incidents have increased in numbers in the recent years targeting the minority sects. The region itself is a troubled one as it has witnessed Taliban-struck violence for a very long time.
The incident has attracted attention on the cyber space and members of civil society have called for the award of Nishan-e-Haider for the young martyr which is a highest posthumous military prize awarded to soldiers with extraordinary sacrifices. The social media in this regard is especially abuzz with people sending their tributes to the unsung hero.
Notable personalities on social media have compared the young hero’s courage with that of Malala Yousafzai s, who was shot by Taliban over a year ago for advocating for women’s right to education. They say that an award is of the symbolic importance as it will boost the morale of locals while making them further determined to the cause of education. Emphasizing this importance, former ambassador to US Sherry Rehman tweeted:
"Hangu s shaheed Aitzaz Hasan is #Pakistan s pride. Give him a medal at least. Another young one with heartstopping courage #AitzazBraveheart."