PESHAWAR - AFP - The father of a teenager killed after tackling a suicide bomber Thursday hailed his son for saving ‘hundreds’ of lives through his bravery.

Aitzaz Hassan, aged around 15, died in hospital after stopping the bomber, who blew himself up, at the gates of his school in Hangu on Monday.

His father Mujahid Ali Bangash, 55, told AFP he felt not sadness but pride at his son’s death. “Aitzaz has made us proud by valiantly intercepting the bomber and saving the lives of hundreds of his fellow students,” he said. “I am happy that my son has become a martyr by sacrificing his life for a noble cause.”

Bangash works in the UAE and was only able to reach Ibrahimzai village, which lies in an area of Hangu, the day after his son’s funeral. “Many people are coming to see me but if they try to express sympathy, I tell them to congratulate me instead on becoming the father of a martyr,” he said. “I will be even more than happy if my second son also sacrifices his life for the country.”

Police official Shakirullah Bangash told AFP that Aitzaz intercepted the bomber some 150 metres (490 feet) away from the main gate of the school, which has around 1,000 students, most of them Shia.

The schoolchildren were the target of the attack, he added.

News of Hassan’s bravery also led to an outpouring of tributes on social media.

Sherry Rehman, former ambassador to the United States, tweeted: “Hangu’s shaheed (martyr) Aitzaz Hasan is Pakistan’s pride. Give him a medal at least. Another young one with heartstopping courage #AitzazBraveheart.”

Hassan’s cousin Mudassir Bangash described him as an accomplished student who excelled in all extracurricular activities.

“Aitzaz was a little plump and we used to call him pehlwan (wrestler),” he told AFP.

“My cousin wanted to become a doctor but it was not God’s will.”

Meanwhile, Aitzaz has been declared a great hero by the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa who have demanded of the provincial and federal governments to acknowledge his bravery by announcing civil award for him. The 9th grade Aitzaz was on his way to school in the morning on January 6 when he spotted a suspicious person. When the brave student asked him to stop, he increased his speed and proceeded towards the school. In an effort to stop the attacker, Aitzaz threw a stone at him which failed to hit him.

This was when Aitzaz apprehended the gravity of situation and ran towards the bomber and grabbed him, thus preventing the attacker from entering the school. The suicide bomber detonated his explosive device injuring Aitzaz critically.

KPK Minister for Information, Shah Farman said on Thursday that Shaheed Aitzaz was a real hero and true face of the people of KPK whose martyrdom would not go in vain. Shah Farman said the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would extend all possible compensation to the family of this brave son of the province and the Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would soon make a very important announcement in this regard.

Shaheed Aitzaz saved the lives of hundreds of other students when he prevented the suicide bomber from entering the school.

Meanwhile, Inspector General of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police, Nasir Khan Durrani, has recommended the name of Shaheed Aitzaz Hasan to the provincial government for a highest civil award.

The IGP in his letter to the Chief Minister KPK Pervez Khattak has said, “Although Aitzaz Hasan has scarified his life, yet by his valiant act he was able to save lives of many other young children.” The letter further reads: “This student needs to be acknowledged at the highest forum and sufficient compensation to be paid to his family.”

Meanwhile, IGP Durrani has suspended DSP Headquarters Mansehra on the charges of corruption and dereliction of duty and ordered further inquiry against him.

As per details, Mansehra police high-ups had submitted a report to the IGP KPK wherein they had narrated about the charges of corruption and dereliction of duty against the DSP. The police chief on the basis of the report of the high ranking police officers of Mansehra has suspended the DSP with immediate effect and has ordered further inquiry into the matter.