Pakistani student Aitizaz Hasan was killed on Monday when he tackled a suicide bomber targeting his school in the Hangu area.
Aitizaz Hasan, 15, was with friends outside school when they spotted a man wearing a suicide vest.
Despite the pleas of his fellow students, Aitizaz Hasan decided to confront and capture the bomber who then detonated his vest.
The boy is now being hailed as a hero in an outpouring of praise on social media.
There have even been calls for Aitizaz Hasan to receive the army’s highest honor awarded to those who have sacrificed their life for their country, though it is unclear if he would be qualified to receive it as a civilian.
The incident took place on Monday in Ibrahimzai, a Shia-dominated region of Hangu, in north-western Pakistan. There were almost 2,000 students in attendance at the time of the attack, media reports say.
Aitizaz Hasan’s friends had urged him not to confront the suicide bomber but he ignored their pleas and decided to confront the man with the intention of halting him.
His family insist that rather than focus on the sorrow brought about by his death, they want to focus on their pride in his actions.
On Twitter, users are paying tribute to Aitizaz Hasan using the hashtags #onemillionaitzaz and #AitzazBraveheart echoing the language used online around figures such as Malala Yousafzai and the Delhi rape victim, whose death galvanized Indian public opinion and prompted changes in rape laws there.
Former Pakistani ambassador to the US Sherry Rehman tweeted: “Hangu’s shaheed Aitzaz Hasan is #Pakistan’s pride. Give him a medal at least. Another young one with heartstopping courage #AitzazBraveheart.”
Hangu is close to Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal regions, which have a strong Taliban and al-Qaeda presence and the area is also known for sectarian violence against Shia Muslims.
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