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Pakistan honours schoolboy bomb hero with award Malala praises Aitzaz Hassan

ISLAMABAD, Jan 11, (AFP): APakistani teenager who sacrificed his life to stop a suicide bomber, saving the lives of hundreds of students, has been handed the country’s highest award for bravery. Aitzaz Hassan, 15, a student in Hangu district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, has become a national hero after tackling the bomber who came to attack his school on Monday, with hundreds of students inside. Hassan died in hospital after the bomber blew himself up at the school gates.

No one else was wounded or killed in the incident. The office of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said it had advised President Mamnoon Hussain “to approve the conferment of Sitara-e-Shujjat (star of bravery) to Shaheed (martyred) Aitzaz Hassan. “Shaheed (martyred) Aitzaz’s brave act saved the lives of hundreds of students and established a sterling example of gallantry and patriotism,” it said in a statement issued late Friday. News of Hassan’s act led to an outpouring of tributes on social media.

Pakistani newspapers, TV channels and social media sites had demanded a recognition of Hassan’s bravery, calling him a hero and calling for him to receive the nation’s highest award. Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, who survived being shot in the head by the Taleban for championing girls’ right to education, paid tribute to the teenager on Friday describing him as “brave and courageous”. “In sacrificing his own life, Aitzaz protected hundreds of innocent young students from being killed,” she said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, who survived being shot in the head by the Taleban to champion girls’ rights to education, paid tribute Friday to a teenager killed stopping a suicide bomber from attacking a school. Aitzaz Hassan, 15, a student in Hangu district, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, has become a national hero after he tackled the bomber who had come to attack his school on Monday, at a time when hundreds of students were inside. Hassan died in hospital after the bomber blew himself up at the school gates. No one else was wounded or killed in the incident. Police in Pakistan’s troubled northwest have already recommended Hassan for a top civilian honour. Malala described him as “brave and courageous”.

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