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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 21 October, 2014

School and stadium to be renamed for teenage hero in Pakistan

Aitzaz Hassan sacrificed himself to save his classmates when a suicide bomber targeted a school last week.

Pakistani students sit next to a picture of classmate Aitzaz Hasan, who residents and police say died this week while trying to stop a suicide bomber who was targeting his school in a remote village in Hangu.
Pakistani students sit next to a picture of classmate Aitzaz Hasan, who residents and police say died this week while trying to stop a suicide bomber who was targeting his school in a remote village in Hangu.
Image: Abdul Rehman/AP/Press Association Images

A PAKISTANI SCHOOLBOY who sacrificed his own life to save hundreds of his classmates by tackling a suicide bomber will have his school and a stadium named after him, officials announced today.

Aitzaz Hassan, a 15-year-old from the mainly Shiite Ibrahimzai village in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province become a national hero after intercepting the bomber before he was able to enter a school last week.

The teen died in hospital after the bomber blew himself up some 150 metres from the main gate of the school of 1,000 students. Nobody else was wounded or killed in the incident.

Amjad Afridi, a senior adviser to the provincial government, told AFP: “We have decided to name Aitzaz Hassan’s school after him. We will also construct a sports stadium in Hangu and will name it after Hassan.”

Afridi, who along with another senior official went to pay their personal respects to the family of Hassan, added the provincial government would also donate five million rupees (US$47,000) to the bereaved parents.

The award comes after the office of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last week said it would seek “to approve the conferment of a top national bravery award Sitara-e-Shujjat (star of bravery)” on the teen.

Hassan’s act of bravery, which prevented the bomber from striking the morning school assembly, has received an outpouring of tributes from across Pakistan.

Newspapers, TV channels and blogs have demanded that he be commemorated.

Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, who survived being shot in the head by the Taliban for championing girls’ right to education, also paid tribute to the teenager last week, describing him as “brave and courageous”.

© AFP, 2014

Related: Teenager dies trying to stop suicide bomber at his school in Pakistan

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