Professor hailed as a hero following Pakistan university attack

Published: Friday 22nd January 2016 by The News Editor

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When Islamic militants stormed the university campus in Charsadda, chemistry professor Hamid Hussain was carrying a concealed pistol.

Locking his students in his classroom he opened fire on the assailants, buying his pupils enough time to escape before he was gunned down.

The survival of Prof Hussain’s students in a massacre that left 20 others dead is a legacy of a bloodbath that targeted another school in north-western Pakistan two years earlier.

After that 2014 attack, in which 150 people, mostly children, were killed, the government trained educators to carry concealed weapons so they could be a first line of defence – giving security forces time to react.

Prof Hussain, the 32-year-old son of an impoverished shopkeeper who despite his humble heritage earned a PhD in chemistry in Britain, was praised as a hero for his quick action.

His students managed to get away as he single-handedly took on the militants during the assault on Wednesday that killed 19 students and another professor and wounded 22.

He was shot twice, once in the head and once in the chest, just above his heart.

His brother, Ashfaq Hussain, noticed a cut on his elder sibling’s right hand – an injury, he suggested, that could have been caused when he tried to reload his 9mm pistol and a sign of his limited training.

In his home village of Swebi, Prof Hussain’s relatives mourned the death of a loving family man who dreamed of touring the world.

He was the first in his family to finish secondary school, let alone university, and his father had scrimped and saved to fund his son’s studies.

Among the mourners was his three-year-old son, clutching a bag of sweets. Prof Hussain had celebrated his son’s birthday just a few days earlier, inviting some of his students to the party.

Published: Friday 22nd January 2016 by The News Editor

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