Asia-Pacific

Father of shooting victim urges gun reform

The father of a Pakistani girl killed in the Texas school shooting says he hopes her death will help spur gun control in the United States.

The father of a Pakistani girl killed in a Texas school shooting says he hopes the death of his daughter, who wanted to serve her country as a civil servant or diplomat, will help spur gun control in the United States.

Santa Fe High School, southeast of Houston, on Friday joined a grim list of US schools and campuses where students and staff have been gunned down, stoking a divisive US debate about gun laws.

Among the eight students and two teachers killed in Texas was 17-year-old Pakistani exchange student Sabika Sheikh.

"Sabika's case should become an example to change the gun laws," her father, Aziz Sheikh told Reuters, speaking by phone from his home in Karachi.

Aziz Sheikh said the danger of a school shooting had not crossed his mind when he sent Sabika to study in the US for a year.

Now he wants her death to help spur change.

"It has become so common," he said of school shootings.

"I want this to become a base on which the people over there can stand and pass a law to deal with this. I'll do whatever I can," he said.

Students said the teenaged boy charged with fatally shooting 10 people, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, opened fire in an art class on Friday.

Sabika was part of a US State Department program providing scholarships for students from countries with significant Muslim populations to spend an academic year in the US.

Sabika was due to return to Pakistan on June 9 at the end of the school year.

"She appreciated it so much. She was so excited to be there and to study and meet the people, especially the teachers," Sheikh said.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered his condolences in a statement on Saturday, saying Sabika was "helping to build ties between the United States and her native Pakistan".

Her father said Sabika had wanted to work in government in some capacity, to help her country.

"She would say she wanted to join the foreign office or the civil service," her father said.

"The reason was that she said was there is a lot of talent in Pakistan but the image and perception of the country was really bad, and she wanted to clear that up."

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