A few hours before a gunman killed her, Sabika Sheikh spoke to her nine-year-old sister on the phone from suburban Houston on Friday.
“She told me that in 20 days, we will be together,” Sabika’s sister, Soha, told the Los Angeles Times. “She had bought so many gifts for me.”
Sabika had enrolled in a high school exchange programme in the US. She was killed when a gunman identified as a 17-year-old junior opened fire at Sabika’s high school in Santa Fe, Texas, killing her and nine others.
Sabika’s middle sibling, Ali, said she was his best friend. “She asked me to make sure her room was neat and clean when she came back,” he said. “She had also asked our mother to cook her favorite dishes on June 9.”
According to her father, Aziz Sheikh, Sabika was “the lifeline of our family”. The 17-year-old was the eldest of three siblings from a middle-class Karachi family. Aziz said that Sabika was a “brilliant student” and wanted to join the Pakistani foreign service.
The family had plans to spend the summer vacations visiting relatives across Pakistan as Sabika was due to return to Karachi on June 9.
“She was a great soul,” he said. According to Aziz, his daughter regularly secured one of the top three positions in her classes in Pakistan before she began the exchange programme last August.
Sabika’s uncle, Ansar Sheikh, described the Texas shooting as an act of terrorism and pleaded with the US government to take action. “I don’t blame the murder of my girl on American society but on that terrorism mindset that is there in all societies,” he said. He urged upon the American government to make sure weapons are not easily available to anybody.
Story first published: 22nd May 2018