'We feel ashamed': Pakistani relatives of California shooter

Published: December 7, 2015
The Pakistan identification card of Tashfeen Malik is shown in this undated handout picture from a government official and obtained by Reuters on 5 December 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

The Pakistan identification card of Tashfeen Malik is shown in this undated handout picture from a government official and obtained by Reuters on 5 December 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

KAROR LAL ESAN, PAKISTAN,: Estranged relatives of a Pakistani woman involved in a mass shooting in California spoke Sunday of their shame at her crimes, as former classmates and teachers painted a picture of a quiet, religiously conservative student.

Tashfeen Malik, 29, and her husband Syed Farook, 28, gunned down 14 people at a social services centre in San Bernardino, an act praised by the Islamic State group who hailed the couple as “soldiers” of its self-proclaimed caliphate.

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According to her uncle Malik Ahmed Ali Aulakh, who is a former provincial minister, Tashfeen was born in the village of Karor Lal Esan in the central province of Punjab but moved to Saudia Arabia around 1989.

Tashfeen’s father Gulzar Malik, an engineer, had grown distant from his family and “he never came back even to attend the marriages of close relatives”, added Aulakh.

“We are ashamed and shocked about this act done by our niece — why did she do something so gruesome? We can’t believe it,” he told AFP.

Malik Omar Ali Aulakh, another of her uncles, added: “We have not kept in touch with Gulzar’s family and he avoided contacting us.”

A Pakistani intelligence agent told AFP they had conducted a search Saturday of a second family home in the region’s main city of Multan, around 130 miles northwest of their ancestral village, but found nothing of interest.

An AFP reporter at the scene Sunday afternoon saw a woman wearing a black burqa and green sweater leaving the pink-and-white two-storey house located in a middle-class neighbourhood with a bearded man, both carrying luggage.

“This woman was part of Gulzar Ahmed Malik’s family and the man with her was her maternal uncle. They were living in this house and now they have gone somewhere. I don’t know where have they gone,” said Zulfiqar, a resident of the area.

The southern region of Punjab from which Tashfeen hailed has long been associated with Sufism, a mystical form of Islam whose adherents worship with song and dance, attend shrines and devote themselves to historic saints — practices viewed as heretical by more orthodox Muslims.

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Indeed, according to Mohammad Jamil, a neighbour of Tashfeen’s father, one of Tashfeen’s uncles himself was a Sufi devotional singer.

“We don’t want Muslims to do such things. Such people should be punished, must be punished,” said Jamil of Tashfeen, adding: “She has dishonoured Pakistan.”

It is still not clear where Tashfeen became radicalised, but by the time she returned to Pakistan in 2007 to pursue a degree in pharmacology at the Bahauddin Zakariya University that lasted till 2013, she was devoutly religious and wore a veil, according to former instructors.

“She was not outspoken or ultra-modern but she was religious minded, polite and submissive,” said Dr Khalid Hussain Janbaz, chair of the pharmacy department.

A fellow student who requested anonymity told AFP that Malik lived in university accommodation for two years before moving into a house with her mother and another sister, also a student.

“She would often watch religious TV programmes and attended religious lectures,” the student said, adding that Malik remained in touch with some of her friends via Facebook, and told one that she was pregnant.

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“She preferred to remain in veil or burqa throughout her stay in the university and provided veiled pictures for all her university documents,” said the student.

Pakistan’s government Sunday issued a statement condemning the attack, even as its interior minister said Islamabad could not be held responsible.

“We have contacted the US government and assured them we will provide them whatever legal assistance possible, if asked,” Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told reporters in Islamabad.

But, he added: “A country or a national or a religion cannot be held responsible for a crime committed by an individual and I appreciate a wise approach adopted by the US administration on the issue.”

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Reader Comments (16)

  • Qamar Zaman
    Dec 7, 2015 - 11:34AM

    This is a fake Pakistan National Identification Card. Anyone can make this type of photoshoped card. Even the font is not match with genuine one.Recommend

  • asad
    Dec 7, 2015 - 12:31PM

    who are you here to give certificate Mr Qamar ZamanRecommend

  • khan420
    Dec 7, 2015 - 1:00PM

    @asad: Had a second look at the ID card and can tell that it is fake with a photo and peice of paper pasted on the top. Recommend

  • Anon
    Dec 7, 2015 - 2:31PM

    Why hasnt the government objected? In the old cards the picture didnt have a white strip – that happens when you paste a pic. And the signature was printed not written by hand!!!Recommend

  • Adil Khan
    Dec 7, 2015 - 2:35PM

    Somehow, I don’t think the ID card is the main issue, I think the fact that this person, along with husband shot 35 people is quite important. Why split hair when they split heads? Maybe its just my way of thinking.Recommend

  • Baloch
    Dec 7, 2015 - 4:42PM

    Fake CNIC. The photo and signatures are not pasted on Pakistan’s real CNIC and the signatures are on white background but electronically printed on the green security card. Recommend

  • Parvez
    Dec 7, 2015 - 4:54PM

    The people who should be ashamed are those who allow these hatcheries dotted around the country, to teach and spread hatred and religious intolerance.Recommend

  • Iqbal
    Dec 7, 2015 - 5:05PM

    Just like after 26/11 we were blamed, this is similar. I hope USA acts sensibly.Recommend

  • Hamara Karachi
    Dec 7, 2015 - 5:32PM

    This CNIC doesnt look original. I wonder if CNICs ever had the photo and the name pasted on the card. I anyway see it with disbelief if a woman of 60 lbs can carry the heavy arms which the eye witnesses claim to be used by 3 well-built, white men.Recommend

  • Sameer
    Dec 7, 2015 - 9:50PM

    This is nothing but to show that Pakistani are the most criminal ppl. This is really a fake ID card. We can just make out from on look. Only one country is there to blame INDIA they are the one’s who wants to show Pakistan is a criminal state. I am sure these two are RAW agents same like Ajmal Kasab.

    Only the dead knows the truth. Love and Peace that’s what all religions teach. Recommend

  • Defies logic
    Dec 8, 2015 - 2:12AM

    So many comments only on conspiracy theories but only some condemning the brutal terrorism…What has happened to majority Pakistanis?? Until someone accepts there is a problem only then solutions are even thinkable…till then no hope…When GoP has condemned, the basic checks on document veracity would have been done at the minimum..Recommend

  • Perry
    Dec 8, 2015 - 11:26AM

    I think you do not have brain at all. Your question reflects that you have less than basic knowledge about World’s politics. You don’t even know what is going on in the world. Think twice before you comment. Recommend

  • Saad
    Dec 8, 2015 - 1:01PM

    She went to a madrassa for “higher” education. The family only has itself to blame.Recommend

  • KoiSharamHotiHai
    Dec 8, 2015 - 11:44PM

    For all those jumping out of their seats yelling ‘fake ID fake ID’, here you go:


  • Noor Fatima
    Dec 9, 2015 - 12:38PM

    She made all Pakistan ashamed!!!Recommend

  • Making sense
    Dec 13, 2015 - 9:16PM

    Her identity has already been established, the NIC can be fake or genuine, it DOESN’T matter, I see halfwits all day ranting about how the NIC is fake, God, get a grip, we need to address the underlying issue of religious extremism than to debate about her NIC.Recommend

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