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Funeral held for Santa Fe HS Pakistani exchange student Sabika Sheikh

HOUSTON – A Santa Fe High School foreign exchange student from Pakistan was among the 10 people killed in Friday's shooting, according to the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington.

"Ms. (Sabika) Sheikh was in Texas as part of the Youth Exchange & Study (YES) Programme," the embassy said in a statement to CNN. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Sabika's family and friends."

Ambassador Aizaz Chaudhry spoke to the father of Sabika Sheikh expressing heartfelt condolences over the slaying of his daughter."

Abdul Aziz, Sabika's father, told AFP in Pakistan that he learned of his 17-year-old daughter's death on CNN.

"We are still in a state of denial," he said. "It is like a nightmare ... . There is a general impression that the life is safe and secure in America. But this is not the case."

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sabika was "helping to build ties" between the U.S. and her native country and offered his condolences to her family and friends.

"Sabika's death and that of the other victims is heartbreaking and will be mourned deeply both here in the United States, and in Pakistan," Pompeo said in a statement.

Friends, the Islamic Society of Houston and public officials attended a funeral for Sheikh at the ISGH Brand Lane Islamic Center in Stafford.

VIDEO: Funeral service held for Sabika Sheikh

Her host family said she came to the United States as a foreign exchange student from Pakistan.  She told her host family, the Cogburn family, that she wanted to learn about the U.S. But she said she also wanted people here to learn about her home country.  

"We didn't know what God was going to send us. But he sent us one of the most precious gifts that I've ever had in my life," said Sheikh's host father, Jason Cogburn said. 

Sheikh traveled more than 8,000 miles to join a family of six kids. 

The Cogburn family said she united their family with love. 

"I just want y’all to know who she is, who her heart is, how brave she is. I always told her, Sabika, you have a warrior's heart," said Sheikh's host mother Joleen Cogburn. "She wanted to be a businesswoman. She said she wanted to impact the world. And I think she's done that."  

Sheikh's host sister Jalon Cogburn said, "We both became very close. She was the most beautiful, loving person I've ever met."

"We grieved. We're still grieving,” Jason Cogburn said.

On the day of the shooting, he called her father. Jason Cogburn said it was the toughest call he had ever made. 

"All I could think about was his pain. And how hard it would be, even though she felt like one of my daughters, she wasn't my daughter. She was his daughter. And all I could feel as if someone had to make that phone call to me and how I would feel," he said.

After the funeral, Sheikh’s body was driven to Bush Airport for a flight to Pakistan.