Meet Aitzaz Hasan, the Pakistani teen who died saving thousands of children from a bomber

Meet Aitzaz Hasan, the Pakistani teen who died saving thousands of children from a bomber
via family handout
Bryan Ke
June 28, 2023
Pakistani teenager Aitzaz Hasan was hailed as a hero for sacrificing himself to save his school from a suicide bomber nine years ago.
The incident occurred on Jan. 6, 2014, after the 15-year-old ninth grader reportedly arrived late to school in the remote village of Hangu, a district in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and was told to stand outside the Government High School Ibrahimzai’s gate with two other schoolmates as punishment.
There, the trio reportedly saw a man who appeared to be in his 20s approaching their school. Two of the students immediately ran when one of them spotted a detonator, but Hasan stayed to stop the bomber.
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“I’m going to stop him”

So he told them, ‘I’m going to stop him. He is going to school to kill my friends.’ He wanted to capture this suicide bomber. He wanted to stop [him],” Hasan’s cousin, Mudassar Hassan Bangish, told BBC days after the incident.
One of the teachers who allegedly witnessed the incident said they saw Hasan chasing after the bomber. Despite the teenager’s effort to tackle the man and stop him, the latter still managed to detonate the bomb, killing himself and Hasan.
The suicide bomber wanted to destroy the school and school students. It was my cousin who stopped him from this… destruction,” Bangish told BBC, which noted that there were around 2,000 students inside the school at the time.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Sunni Muslim sectarian group whose aim was to kill Shia Muslims, claimed responsibility for the attack days after the bombing.

Honoring a hero

Instead of mourning, Hasan’s father chose to view his son’s sacrifice and heroism with pride, telling Pakistan’s Express Tribune, “My son made his mother cry, but saved hundreds of mothers from crying for their children.”
Although it took the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa days to acknowledge Hasan’s sacrifice, it eventually announced that the name of the school he attended would be changed to Shaheed Aitizaz Hasan Government High School and that a stadium would be built in his honor.
Officials from the provincial government also visited Hasan’s family to offer their condolences.
Imran Khan, who was serving as the chairperson of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf before becoming Pakistan’s prime minister in 2018, expressed his disappointment at how the government responded to Hasan’s death and announced in a tweet that he would be starting a trust fund for the teenager’s family.
The government also awarded Hasan with the Sitara-e-Shujaat, Pakistan’s highest award for bravery, posthumously on Jan. 11, 2014.
Besides the awards and recognition Hasan received from the government, the teenager’s bravery has also been praised by many activists and international organizations. Days after the incident, Malala Yousafzai, who survived an attack by the Pakistani Taliban two years earlier, said she was “proud that I belong to a country where many brave and courageous people like Aitzaz Hasan are born.” Hasan was also bestowed with the global bravery award by the International Human Rights Commission.

 
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