After incidents of gun violence in the U.S., messages of “thoughts and prayers” often flood the airwaves. But the uncle of a Pakistani exchange student killed in a mass shooting at a Texas high school has another message: “Stop this bullshit.”
His niece, Sabika Sheikh, was one of 10 people killed when a 17-year-old student opened fire on Santa Fe High School on Friday. Now, her family back in Pakistan is calling for gun reform in the U.S.
“Make your schools safe. Not for the sake of my kid, or my niece, for the sake of your own kid,” Sabika’s uncle told a BBC reporter on Wednesday after her body arrived back in her hometown of Karachi for the funeral.
Sabika came to Texas as part of a State Department youth exchange program called YES, which funds scholarships for students from countries with significant Muslim populations. She was due to return home in a few weeks for Eid al-Fitr, a Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan.
Her father, Abdul Aziz Sheikh, learned of the shooting at her school through a TV report on his local news. Since then, he’s given several interviews calling for gun reform in the U.S.
“I would like to say, Trump administration, kindly stop this type of incident,” Abdul Aziz Sheikh said in an interview with NBC. “You can amend your Constitution and you can change the law of guns.”
In another interview with Reuters, the grieving father expressed his hope that Sabika’s death would spur new and better legislation.
“I want this to become a base on which the people over there can stand and pass a law to deal with this,” he said. “I’ll do whatever I can.”