Six Pakistanis martyred in Christchurch terror attacks, confirms FO

Victims identified as  Sohail Shahid, Syed Jahandad Ali, Syed Areeb Ahmed, Mahboob Haroon, Naeem Rashid and his son Talha Naeem; families of four Pakistani martyrs had requested for bringing bodies to Pakistan; three Pakistanis remain 'missing'; authorities in contact with counterparts in New Zealand

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Staff Report

Islamabad

Six Pakistanis were pronounced dead by New Zealand’s authorities in yesterday’s terror attack on two mosques in the quiet New Zealand city of Christchurch, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal confirmed on Saturday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through a press release, notified the names of the six victims as Sohail Shahid, Syed Jahandad Ali, Syed Areeb Ahmed, Mahboob Haroon, Naeem Rashid and his son Talha Naeem.

The press release further said that the latest information about the three missing Pakistanis will be shared once their identity is confirmed by the local authorities.

One of the martyred is being hailed as a hero for his courageous attempt to stop the shooter during one of the two attacks at mosques.

Naeem Rashid, succumbed to his wounds while under treatment following the attack and was identified as the individual who rushed at the right-wing terrorist attacking the mosque.

Dr Faisal, in a separate tweet, said that Rashid and his son will be buried in Christchurch, adding that arrangements for the burial are in place. He said the Muslim community and a Pakistani association in the city were assisting in arrangements.

The FO spokesperson further said the Pakistani mission was working with families of other four victims for possible transport of bodies to Pakistan.

Earlier on Saturday, the spokesperson had, notified the names of the Pakistanis that were considered ‘missing’ as Zeeshan Raza, Father of Zeeshan Raza, Mother of Zeeshan Raza, Haroon Mahmood, son of Shahid Mehmood, Sohail Shahid, son of Muhammad Shabbir, Syed Areeb Ahmed, son of Ayaz Ahmed, Syed Jahanand Ali, Talha Naeem, Naeem Rashid.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has directed that all possible help and assistance be extended to the families of the deceased and missing in the Christchurch carnage, Dr Faisal said in another tweet.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Saturday that families of four Pakistani martyrs of Christchurch terror attacks had requested for bringing bodies of their loved ones to Pakistan, while relatives of two victims wanted their burial in New Zealand.

Meanwhile, a Crisis Management Cell has been established at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad to address the developing situation, update on the wellbeing of and latest information of Pakistani citizens living in New Zealand.

In addition to the cell, Pakistan’s High Commissioner and Deputy High Commissioner in New Zealand will also be available for information and assistance, round the clock, said a FO statement.

At least 49 people were killed and dozens wounded in the deadly attack which New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said was “one of the darkest days in New Zealand” after she referred to it as terrorism.

Rashid, hailing from Abbottabad, received bullet wounds as he tried to overpower the shooter as he entered one of the mosques in Christchurch.

His son, Talha Rashid also lost his life in the same attack. Rashid’s brother Dr Khurshid Alam also confirmed the deaths.

The white supremacist terrorist who launched a gun attack in mosques in New Zealand appeared in a local court early Saturday morning on murder charges.

The right-wing extremist, identified as 28-year-old Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant, was to be remanded in custody after his appearance at the Christchurch District Court, with no bail requested. He was charged with murder in a court appearance that police had said would be held behind closed doors for security reasons.

Handcuffed and wearing a white prison suit, Tarrant did not speak. He is scheduled to appear in the South Island city’s High Court on April 5 and, according to police, was likely to face further charges.