KARACHI, Pakistan — Sabika Sheikh finally returned to her family in Pakistan on Wednesday from her months away as a foreign exchange student in Texas. Her father was the first to meet her coffin, draped by a Pakistani flag, at Karachi’s airport in the dark of the early morning.
Army cadets loaded the 17-year-old’s coffin into an ambulance as dozens of sobbing family members and friends recited Quran verses. Doors shut, a siren flipped on and the ambulance took Sabika’s body and immediate family home for a burial ceremony. The acting American consul general, John Warner, choked back tears on the tarmac as he comforted a friend of Sabika’s.
Sabika was one of 10 killed when another student opened fire last week at Santa Fe High School in Texas with guns he had taken from his father. Family members said Sabika had loved her time there, and had hoped it would help realize her dream of becoming a diplomat and working for peace.
“This is a form of terrorism. It shouldn’t happen anywhere: not in America, not in Pakistan,” said Sabika’s father, Aziz Sheikh, in an interview at the family home in Karachi, Pakistan’s commercial hub.