December 2, 2023


Education is everything you need

Sabika Sheikh: How a Pakistani Exchange Student Lost Her Life to Gun Violence


In 2017, a 17-year-previous exchange university student — Sabika Sheikh — from Pakistan landed in Texas for the American significant school working experience.

9 months later, on the morning of May 18, 2018, she posted a image of an airplane on her social media, captioned ‘How lots of times right until June 5? Its 19 days’. She was scheduled to return house 19 days later, with innumerable stories from the time she expended in your nation.

That same working day, she was shot dead.

She was murdered with 9 folks inside her artwork course at Santa Fe High Faculty, countless numbers of miles away from her dwelling and her people.

I am her cousin.

I was a Fulbright trade scholar in The usa then and returned with Sabika’s entire body to Pakistan. When I came back just one past time for my final graduate 12 months, my only goal was to get a gun protection monthly bill introduced in her identify in the United States Congress.

In 2019, proper in advance of my last departure from your place, I stood within the U.S. Capitol as that monthly bill was introduced.

HR 127, the Sabika Sheikh Firearm Licensing and Registration Act, prescribes a detailed licensing process for gun and ammunition possession. It needs that a man or woman ought to be at the very least 21 decades old and go through a legal background check, psychological evaluation, and elaborate training on the safe and sound use and storage of guns in buy to be certified to own a firearm. It also prohibits the sale of specific significant-ability ammunition units.

Looking back again to that second within the Capitol, I laugh at my naiveté. I believed that your legislators would promptly come jointly to decisively minimize gun violence. It now baffles me how a option — between residing and acquiring murdered, and amongst the liberty to sense risk-free and the chilling horror of listening to the to start with gunshot at your college — can be so polarizing in your country.

When a school was attacked by the Taliban in Pakistan on December 16, 2014, my region came with each other. This involved the public, civil society, and politicians across occasion strains. Our consensus as a culture was unanimous: Guarding young ones at a spot as sacred as school was not up for discussion.

I’ve viewed legislators in your country fall short this examination of conscience once again and yet again. Do they not know that at the time another person you grew up with is massacred so mercilessly nothing at all can be restored?

I was the relatives member who went to Texas to get Sabika’s physique and choose it back again to Pakistan. Just about every solitary emotion I felt for the duration of those times at the morgue when I appeared at her chilly body will endlessly be a haunting reminder of her brutal murder in your nation. Do U.S. politicians not know that the memory of that horrifying minute hardly ever results in being distant? That it hardly ever leaves? That it stares at you with its hollow eyes, carrying practically nothing but gloom and concern? Are they so incapable of emotion that they cannot recognize the overpowering melancholy I experience each time I textual content Sabika and wait around with a delusional hope that she will reply?


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