Connect with us

South Asia

Good Bye America – Pakistani Student Recounts Brutal Murder Of Her Cousin In The US



Today is my last day in America.

I came to the US in 2017 as a Fulbright scholar from Pakistan. A day before my arrival, arrived my sweetest, most humble cousin Sabika. We both were exchange students. In 2017, when I took my first touristy photo in front of the US Capitol Building, I did not know that 1 year later this place will become central to everything I would do in this country. Right after I finished my first graduate year, Sabika was brutally murdered at her exchange school.

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing

Once you have seen murder so closely, the murder of your dearest, everything changes at its most fundamental level. The smell, the sound, the sight, the air that night, everything stands still, frozen in time. In July 2019, I finally stepped into the classroom where Sabika was killed. The utter helplessness of her final moments before being shot stands still, frozen in time, in that barren room.

After Sabika’s murder, I returned to the US with one purpose: To get a gun safety legislation introduced for her in the US Congress. In last one year, for every 1 step forward, there were 99 rejections. Especially as someone not from the US, I struggled at the most basic levels. I did not know who to approach, what to ask them, what to say during protest speeches, how to think, what to think.

Image result for sabika fulbright scholar

I struggled to understand spoken English and find the right English words to appear smart enough to be taken seriously. To get attention to even the most critical legal developments about the shooting’s trial, I chased US & Int’l media. 9 out of 10 times, they refused to cover. As I patiently sat in gun violence committee hearings in US House, 9 out of 10 times, there was no mention of Santa Fe shooting. As I approached US Members of Congress, 9 out of 10 times they were not interested in the gun safety proposal I was working on. 9 out of 10 times I did not know the ‘how’.

In February 2019, I started coordinating with Office of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee on a comprehensive Gun Reforms Act prepared diligently by Kristina Woods who lost her own sibling to gun violence. It has taken extreme discipline for me to understand policy writing, to decode the legality of US statutes, and finally prepare 3 gun bills from the original Act.

On July 26, 2019, miraculously on the very last working day before my departure from the US, I stood in the same building, the US Capitol, alongside 2 Congresswomen, and introduced ‘The Sabika Sheikh Firearm Licensing & Registration Act’. A first-of-its-length, historic bill which prescribes a complete process for guns and ammunition in the US to be licensed and registered. I now look toward gun violence prevention groups to ensure that this life-saving bill becomes law.

In these 436 days since Sabika’s shooting, I experienced a bit of the contentious US politics from within. From having humbling opportunities to speak at public protests in multiple US cities, to being a small part of one of the most progressive youth-led politics, to hearing from most disenfranchised communities impacted by gun violence, to deliberating with both compassionate and hawkish lawmakers in highest echelons of the United States, I have seen a world. With that, my time here is up as I return to my heartland Pakistan. Goodbye America.

Shaheera Jalil Albasit, Karachi, Pakistan




j20-vs-tejas j20-vs-tejas
Asia Pacific55 mins ago

Taiwanese Expert Says ‘Bathrooms Best Place To Hide’ During Chinese Air Raids, Missile Attack

As tensions between China and Taiwan are only increasing day by day, former Ministry of Defense advisor Sung Chao-wen on...

Featured3 hours ago

Indian SU-30 MKI Jets Loaded With BrahMos Missiles Practice Hitting Chinese Assets Far Away From Ladakh

Soaring tensions between India and China in Ladakh has seen both the sides deploying thousands of troops, heavy artillery and...

China-and-India China-and-India
Asia Pacific4 hours ago

India-China War Highly Unlikely; Beijing Only Testing Indian Resilience – Experts

India-China War: The joint statement following the meeting said that ministers had a “frank and constructive discussion on the developments...

imran-khan imran-khan
Featured5 hours ago

India, Pakistan Clash At UNGA – Indian Diplomat Walks Out As Imran Khan Goes All-Out Over Kashmir

India strongly reacted to Pakistan PM Imran Khan's speech at UNGA calling it a 'diplomatic low'. India's envoy to the...

J-10VSF-16 J-10VSF-16
Featured14 hours ago

Next US Intervention In Taiwan & There Would Be No Taiwan – China

Amid suggestions for the United States to deploy its troops to Taiwan, Chinese military experts have warned that any such...

Americas14 hours ago

Donald Trump Or Jared Kushner: Why Son-In-Law Kushner Is A Deserving Candidate For The Nobel Peace Prize Over Trump?

Having brokered the historic normalisation accord between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel, US President Donald Trump has been...

SU-30 SU-30
Featured19 hours ago

Despite Rafale Jets, Why Su-30s Will Remain The Most Powerful Fighters In The Whole Of Asia?

Russia has won many hearts in India and China with its Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter jets, however, owing to the massive...

Featured20 hours ago

Can PM Modi Correct The ‘Balochistan’ Mistake That India Committed In 1947?

As history suggests, India lost out when the Sultan of Oman offered Gwadar as a gift to India but the...

eurasian-times eurasian-times
Featured21 hours ago

After SU-30 Jet, Now MiG-21 Fighter Jet Crashes In Western District

A Serbian military aircraft crashed Friday in western Serbia, the Defense Ministry confirmed. The ministry said that the MiG-21 military aircraft...

putin-russia putin-russia
EurAsian Region21 hours ago

Watch How Russian BM-30 Smerch Rockets Use GLONASS Navigation System To Hit Its Target

Russia has reportedly made another major breakthrough in boosting its missile launching capabilities with modernised BM-30 Smerch or 9A53-S Tornado...