Shehnaz Ishtiaq, who served students in Khyber Agency for 22 years, was gunned down in front of her teenage son in Jamrud on Tuesday morning.
Daniyal, 14, was taking his mother to school when unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle intercepted them and opened fire, leaving her severely injured. “She was shot thrice in the upper body,” said political administration official Asmatullah Wazir.
Following the incident, the school’s owner, Malik Khanwali, shifted her to Hayatabad Medical Complex but she died three hours after being taken for surgery.
Shehnaz’s death comes after similar attacks on teachers and aid workers, including that on social worker Farida Afridi and Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Coordinator Zarteef Afridi.
Her husband Isthiaq Khan said she did not see this coming and worked fearlessly in the troubled region. “She never told me about any threats or fears she had… she was not scared of militancy in the region. When security problems in Khyber Agency worsened I told her she should transfer to a school in the settled areas, but she said she only wanted to work for the people here. I never thought such a tragedy would happen.”
Shehnaz was a headmistress at Community Girls School in Shahkas. Prior to that she was working for a government primary school for girls in Bara, but because of security problems the school was shifted to Shahkas in Jamrud.
“My eldest daughter suffers from mental disabilities. I do not know who will take care of her now,” Khan said.
Shehnaz had many plans that day. A brother’s wedding to shop for, some examination papers to correct. She now leaves behind three children.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 27th, 2013.