Aitazaz Hassan Bangash, a 14-year old Pakistani boy was killed on Monday while attempting to thwart a man he suspected to be a suicide bomber from reaching his school in Hangu, in northwest Pakistan.
Aitazaz, accompanied by his cousin Musadiq Ali Bangash, was standing outside the Government High School Ibrahim Zai, having missed the morning assembly, when a man dressed in a school uniform asked them the direction to their school, raising suspicion. Reportedly, Aitazaz's friend spotted a detonator on the man, and while his schoolmates standing outside ran into the school, Aitazaz attempted to prevent the bomber from entering the school.
“During the scuffle, the bomber panicked and detonated his bomb,” Musadiq reportedly said. Hassan and the bomber died while two others were injured. “It was a great sacrifice to save the lives of hundreds of both Shia and Sunni students, who were in morning assembly,” he added.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a militant organization, has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attempted bombing in the school where more than 2,000 students had gathered for morning assembly.
The people of Pakistan are venting out their outrage and calling for a posthumous award for bravery for Aitazaz, whose father, Mujahid Ali, told the Express Tribune: “My son made his mother cry, but saved hundreds of mothers from crying for their children.”
Many took to social media websites to express their sentiments.
“Aitazaz Hassan Bangash, thank you for your #bravery and #courage. May you rest in peace,” tweeted Thaakat Foundation, a charity organization.
A Twitter user wrote: “Not to forget our little hero Aitzaz who lost his life in protecting his mates. His parents must be so proud of him #hangu #Pakistan.”
An online petition has been launched on Change.org demanding the Nishan-e-Haider award -- Pakistan's highest military honor -- for Aitazaz, stating: “Nishan-e-Haider should not remain restricted to the military.”