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Pakistan Declares National Day Of Mourning To Honor New Zealand Victims

Pakistanis in Karachi rally in the aftermath of the deadly mosque shootings in New Zealand.
Pakistanis in Karachi rally in the aftermath of the deadly mosque shootings in New Zealand.

Pakistan has declared March 18 a national day of mourning to honor those killed in the New Zealand mosque attacks, nine of whom were Pakistani citizens.

"The whole nation mourns this shock," Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told reporters in Islamabad on March 17.

Fifty people were killed in the March 15 mass shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch. Along with Pakistan, countries reporting that their citizens were murdered include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt, and the United States.

A 28-year-old Australian man was arrested and charged with murder in the assaults. The man, an avowed white supremacist, had written a manifesto that included anti-Muslim rants.

Attention in Pakistan was especially focused on one of the victims -- 50-year-old Mian Naeem Rashid, who died along with his 22-year-old son while trying to disarm the gunman.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan hailed Rashid as a national hero because of his attempt to overpower the gunman.

In the northern city of Abbottabad, relatives of Rashid mourned his death. A nephew, Safi Rizwan, said his uncle’s death should be seen as a message to the world.

"If you see something happening that is not good for other humans, or if that is hurting other people, you give your everything to save them, even it means giving your life,” Rizwan said.

Meanwhile, police in Australia early on March 18 said they had executed two search warrants in towns in the state of New South Wales related to the investigation into the mass shootings.

Police said the homes were where the accused gunman had grown up, although he has spent most of the past decade outside the country.

"The primary aim of the activity is to formally obtain material that may assist New Zealand Police in their ongoing investigation," the police said in a statement.

Police said the family of the suspect was assisting the authorities.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters
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