Pakistan to name school, stadium after teen hero who tackled suicide bomber

Monday 13 January 2014 17.47
People light candles in honour of Aitzaz Hassan and a police officer killed in a separate attack
People light candles in honour of Aitzaz Hassan and a police officer killed in a separate attack

A Pakistani schoolboy who sacrificed his own life to save hundreds of his classmates by tackling a suicide bomber will have his school and a stadium named after him, officials said this morning.

Aitzaz Hassan became a national hero after intercepting the bomber before he was able to enter his school last week.

The 15-year-old from the mainly Shia Ibrahimzai village in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province died in hospital after the bomber blew himself up 150m from the main gate of the school of 1,000 students.

Nobody else was wounded or killed in the incident.

Amjad Afridi, a senior adviser to the provincial government, said: "We have decided to name Aitzaz Hassan's school after him. We will also construct a sports stadium in Hangu and will name it after Hassan."

Mr Afridi, who along with another senior official went to pay their personal respects to the family of Hassan, added the provincial government would also donate five million rupees (€34,000) to the bereaved parents. 

The award comes after the office of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last week said it would seek "to approve the conferment of a top national bravery award Sitara-e-Shujjat [star of bravery]" on the teen.

The act of bravery, which prevented the bomber from striking the morning school assembly, has received an outpouring of tributes from across Pakistan.

Newspapers, TV channels and blogs have demanded that Aitzaz Hassan be commemorated.

Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, who survived being shot in the head by the Taliban for championing girls' right to education, also paid tribute to the teenager last week, describing him as "brave and courageous".