Pakistan to honour brave citizen killed in New Zealand attack

Pakistan Forward and AFP


Religious leaders and members of various faiths gather outside the Karachi Press Club March 18 to condemn the March 15 terrorist massacre in New Zealand and to show solidarity with the families of victims and survivors. [Zia Ur Rehman]

ISLAMABAD -- A Pakistani victim of the terrorist attack in New Zealand who apparently tried to tackle the gunman before being shot dead will be awarded post-humously for his courage, Prime Minister Imran Khan said Sunday (March 17).

Khan spoke as the Pakistani Foreign Ministry confirmed that nine of its citizens had been killed in the mass shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch that claimed the lives of 50 people Friday (March 15), including many who had emigrated from around the world.

Heroic act on video

Video of the massacre shows one man gunned down as he approaches the shooter, while others flee.

The man is said to be Naeem Rashid, although his face is blurred in the footage and he has yet to be formally identified.


Mourners pay their respects at a memorial site at the Botanic Gardens in Christchurch on March 18, three days after a shooting incident at two mosques in the city that claimed the lives of 50 Muslim worshippers. [MARTY MELVILLE/AFP]

"Pakistan is proud of Mian Naeem Rashid who was martyred trying to tackle the White Supremacist terrorist & his courage will be recognised with a national award," Khan tweeted on Sunday.

Khan did not specify which award would be given to Rashid, whose son also died in the massacre.

Remembered by others

Rashid's elder brother Khurshid Alam, who spoke to AFP by telephone from Abbottabad on Saturday (March 16), said he was "proud" of his sibling.

"He could have saved his life, but he preferred to save others. He was a brave guy," Alam said, confirming that one of his two nephews, Talha Naeem, was also killed.

His brother will likely be buried in New Zealand, he said, adding that the family are seeking visas to attend.

"Since childhood he was a caring and loving person. He was very different from other children his age," Maj. (ret.) Syed Husnain Haider, Naeem's classmate at Army Burn Hall College in Abbottabad, told Pakistan Forward.

"He would always look after others, especially who were younger or those who needed help," he said.

"I will cherish his memory for as long as I live," he said. "He chose a graceful death, just as he lived."

"Naeem was my first cousin. He treated me like the sister he never had," Amna Sardar of Abbottabad, a former member of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial assembly, told Pakistan Forward.

Common humanity

"We reject violence in the name of any religion, and pray for mutual respect and inclusion," said Mangla Sharma, a Hindu member of the Sindh provincial assembly.

"It is now necessary for Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jews and other faiths to gather as people of faith and demonstrate the strength of common humanity," Sharma told Pakistan Forward.

Syed Ansar Abbas in Peshawar and Zia Ur Rehman in Karachi contributed to this report.

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