In Hangu District, one of the most troubled and dangerous districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan, a ninth grader named Aitazaz Hassan Bangash, saved his schoolmates from terrorist bombing.
His cousin, Musadiq Ali Bangash, told CNN that he was on his way to school with Aitazaz when a suspicious man dressed in a school uniform asked them where the school was. According to police officer Shakirullah Bangash, Aitazaz interrupted the bomber at about 490 feet away from the school?s main gate, thus the bomber failed to consummate his plan. The police officer added that the students were the target of the attacker.
A witness named Rajab Ali testified that he saw Aitazaz throwing a large stone at the perpetrator and the blast happened when Aitazaz grabbed the latter. Two other people were injured in the incident.
Pakistanis were praising Aitazaz? heroism and they were urging the government to give him an award to honor his bravery. Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites are filled with praised for Aitazaz, who was being compared to Malala, a schoolgirl shot by the Taliban in October 2012 for promoting education for all boys and girls. Some even said that he deserves more recognition than Malala.
Dawn, the country’s oldest English-language newspaper, published an editorial saying that Hassan’s selfless bravery should be an inspiration to other Pakistanis and a lesson to the authorities in the courage needed to stand up to terrorists.
The hero was survived by his father who works in the UAE. The father, Mujahid Ali Bangash, 55, said that he felt not sadness but pride at his son’s death. “I am happy that my son has become a martyr by sacrificing his life for a noble cause,” he said.
Aitazaz died in hospital on Monday, January 6, after saving around 1,000 Shia and Suni schoolmates as they were gathered for a morning assembly. Shia and Shuni are two denominations of Islam. Sunnis are a majority in most Muslim communities in Southeast Asia, China, South Asia, Africa, and some Arab world, while Shia make up the majority of the citizen population in Iran, Iraq and Bahrain, and Lebanon.
Relatives describe him as an accomplished student who excelled in all extracurricular activities and who dreams of becoming a doctor.