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Student Killed at Santa Fe High Returns to Pakistan in a Coffin

Sabika Sheikh was buried on Wednesday
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2018 5:21 AM CDT
People carry the coffin of Sabika Sheikh, the Pakistani exchange student killed in a mass shooting at a high school in Texas, after offering funeral prayers in Karachi, Pakistan, Wednesday, May 23, 2018.   (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
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(Newser) – "19 days until I'm back!" said the Snapchat message sent to her best friend last Friday morning. But Sabika Sheikh ended up returning home to Pakistan sooner than planned: Her body arrived in Karachi in a flag-draped coffin Wednesday. The 17-year-old was one of the victims of the Santa Fe High School shooting, shot shortly after sending that message; the AP reports she had intended to return home in June ahead of Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. She had been in Texas under the State Department's Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program, which disperses 900 foreign exchange students throughout America, reports the New York Times.

The BBC reports Sabika's family said she dreamed of becoming a diplomat, and the Times describes her as outspoken about Islam among those she met in Texas, hoping to change the perception that it was a violent religion. The AP reports thousands showed up to her funeral Wednesday. "Before her death, she was just my daughter, but now she is the daughter of Pakistan, and it is only because of the love of people, who mourned her killing," Abdul Aziz Sheikh said of his eldest child. Her tells the Times he learned of the shooting after turning on the TV in his Karachi home. "The ticker at the bottom said, 'Shooting in a school in Texas,' so I switched to CNN and they were showing live footage of Sabika's school." His calls to his child went unanswered. "Sabika always picked up, so I knew something wasn't right. That's when I started getting scared." (Read more Santa Fe school shooting stories.)

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