Skip to main content

Pakistan teen who died tackling suicide bomber nominated for award

By Anna Maja Rappard, Zahir Shah Sherazi and Saima Mohsin, CNN
updated 1:53 PM EST, Sat January 11, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A teenager who died tackling a suicide bomber outside his school is nominated for an award
  • Aitazaz Hassan Bangash has been hailed as a hero in Pakistan for saving his schoolmates
  • Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says his "brave act saved the lives of hundreds of students"
  • Teenager's cousin says Aitazaz challenged the bomber after becoming suspicious

(CNN) -- Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has nominated a 14-year-old boy who died tackling a suicide bomber outside his school for a top civil award for bravery.

Aitazaz Hassan Bangash has been hailed as a hero in Pakistan for the sacrifice he made to protect his schoolmates.

The Sitara-e-Shujjat is the same honor awarded to Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani schoolgirl who survived being shot in the head by the Taliban for her efforts to promote education for boys and girls.

A statement from Sharif's office Friday said Aitazaz's "brave act saved the lives of hundreds of students and established a sterling example of gallantry and patriotism."

Journalist: Aitazaz's bravery gives hope

The nomination follows a campaign on social media for the teenager to be recognized.

The ninth-grader was on his way to school Monday in the Hangu district of northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province when the bomber, dressed in a school uniform, asked him where the school was, the teen's cousin, Musadiq Ali Bangash said.

He and Aitazaz became suspicious, the cousin said.

"The other students backed off, but Aitazaz challenged the bomber and tried to catch him. During the scuffle, the bomber panicked and detonated his bomb," he said.

Aitazaz and the bomber died at the scene. Witnesses say the blast injured two other people.

Hangu is a troubled district bordering Pakistan's tribal areas. It is rife with sectarian violence, with attacks against Shia and Sunni Muslims.

"It was a great sacrifice to save the lives of hundreds of both Shia and Sunni students, who were in morning assembly," Musadiq said.

CNN's Zahir Shah Sherazi reported from Peshawar, Saima Mohsin from Islamabad and Anna Maja Rappard from Atlanta.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:17 PM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
ISIS has published a video titled "A second message to America," showing the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff.
updated 9:35 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Three Americans detained in North Korea spoke out about their conditions and pleaded for U.S. help in interviews with CNN.
Hundreds of jihadis in Syria are from abroad -- which countries have the biggest problem?
updated 3:51 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
CNN attends a funeral where mourners keep their distance.
updated 5:13 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Libyan militia members have apparently turned the abandoned U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya, into a water park.
updated 7:26 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
A few miles south of the town of Starobeshevo in eastern Ukraine, a group of men in uniform is slumped under a tree.
updated 9:25 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Beijing says only candidates approved by a nominating committee can run for Hong Kong's chief executive, prompting criticism.
updated 4:23 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
He should be toddling around a playground. Instead, his tiny hands grip an AK-47.
updated 8:23 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Wilson Raj Perumal tells CNN how he rigged World Cup games: "I was giving orders to the coach."
updated 8:21 AM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
In a major breach of privacy, a hacker leaked a series of pictures allegedly showing Jennifer Lawrence and other female celebrities in the nude.
Instead of weaving garments sold in the West, children should be in school
According to the International Labour Organization, there are 168 million child laborers around the world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT