Pakistan to honour Christchurch mosque 'hero' with national award

2019-03-17 18:09

A Pakistani man, who died trying to tackle the gunman behind a deadly shooting at a New Zealand mosque, will be honoured posthumously with a national award, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said.

Naeem Rashid, 49, was among nine Pakistanis killed in the attacks on two mosques in Christchurch on Friday.

"Pakistan is proud of Mian Naeem Rashid who was martyred trying to tackle the white supremacist terrorist and his courage will be recognised with a national award," Khan wrote on Twitter on Sunday, while extending support to the families of the Pakistani victims.

READ: New Zealand digs graves as mosque massacre toll rises to 50

Rashid, originally from Abbottabad in Pakistan, was "badly wounded" in the attack on the Al Noor mosque after he tried "overpowering the shooter", the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis said in a series of Twitter posts.

He was rushed to the hospital but died "due to indiscriminate firing", the ministry added.

Deadliest mass shooting

Rashid's 21-year-old son Talha Naeem was also killed in the attack, Pakistan's foreign ministry said.

WATCH: 'My father took a bullet for me' - victim stories of the New Zealand mosque attack

Mohammad Faisal, a spokesperson for the ministry, said both deceased would be buried in Christchurch and arrangements for the burial are in place.

At least 50 people, hailing from Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Bangladesh, Turkey, Indonesia and Malaysia were killed, when 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant opened fire at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques.

It was the deadliest mass shooting in the country's modern history.

Rashid moved from Pakistan to New Zealand to work as a teacher in Christchurch. His son was a civil engineering graduate.

"My son and my husband are heroes," Ambreen, Rashid's wife said.

"This is the mosque they always went to. I still can't understand or believe why and how this happened. But, I know that my husband is a hero. He always helped people and even in his last moments, he did what he could to help others," she told Khaleej Times.

His sister-in-law, Naema Khan, told New Zealand news website, Stuff, that video footage of the shooting which was documented live, showed Rashid trying to stop the gunman.

Describing Rashid as a kind and humble man, Khan said family members were calling from around the world to say "He will be our hero."

Rashid's mother in Abbottabad appealed for urgent support to be able to travel to New Zealand.

"It is my request to provide urgent facilities to my mother to travel to New Zealand. My sister-in-law is alone there," Rashid's brother told local media.

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Read more on:    pakistan  |  new zealand  |  security

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