Tributes to Pakistani teenager who died stopping suicide bomber

Friday 10 January 2014 14.22
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A family image of Aitzaz Hassan who was killed in the attack outside his school in Hangu
A family image of Aitzaz Hassan who was killed in the attack outside his school in Hangu
He was trying to protect his schoolmates from the bomber at the school entrance
He was trying to protect his schoolmates from the bomber at the school entrance

Police in Pakistan have recommended a teenager for a top civilian honour after he was killed stopping a suicide bomber from attacking a school on Monday.

Aitzaz Hassan, 15, a student in Hangu district, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, tackled the bomber who had come to attack his school at a time when hundreds of students were inside.

The teenager died in hospital after the bomber blew himself up at the school gates. No one else was wounded or killed in the incident.

Nasir Khan Durrani, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief of police, has written to the provincial chief minister recommending Aitzaz for the posthumous award.

"The suicide bomber tried to enter the school where hundreds of students were studying. Aitzaz Hassan sacrificed his life and stopped the bomber with bravery and courage," police chief said.

"He saved the lives of hundreds of innocent students with his extreme valour and bravery."

Pakistan has several categories of civilian award and it will fall to the government to decide which, if any, Aitzaz should receive.

Aitzaz's father Mujahid Ali Bangash said he felt not sadness but pride at his son's death.

"Many people are coming to see me but if they try to express sympathy, I tell them to congratulate me instead on becoming the father of a martyr," he said.

"I will be even more than happy if my second son also sacrifices his life for the country."

Local media are calling Aitzaz a hero, while many on social media are demanding recognition for him.

An editorial in Dawn, the country's oldest English-language newspaper, said his selfless bravery should be an inspiration to other Pakistanis and a lesson to the authorities in the courage needed to stand up to extremists.