Police are investigating the death of a British woman in Pakistan after her husband claimed she was the victim of an “honour” killing for marrying a man from outside the family allegedly against her parents’ wishes.
Samia Shahid, a beauty therapist from Bradford, died on Wednesday while visiting relatives in Pandori village near Mangla Dam in northern Punjab, the Foreign Office confirmed.
British MP Naz Shah has written to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to intervene in the case of the British woman’s alleged honour killing in Pakistan, The Guardian reported.
British police started a probe into Samia Shahid’s death after her husband Syed Mukhtar Kazam claimed she was killed while visiting her family in Pakistan earlier this month because she married someone who was seen as an outsider.
Kazam, a Pakistani national, says he received news his wife Shahid, a Bradford resident of Pakistani origin, had died while visiting her relatives in Pandori village near Mangla Dam last Wednesday. The couple had been living in Dubai since last year, he said.
Kazam said Shahid, 28, was urged to come to Pakistan to visit a seriously ill relative and was supposed to return to their home in Dubai on Thursday. Instead, he received a call a day earlier that she had died of a heart attack.
“Should this be [an honour killing] case then we must ensure justice is done for Samia and we must ensure this never happens again,” MP Naz Shah wrote to the PM in her letter seen by The Guardian.
Shahid, was buried in her village graveyard after a postmortem. A police official in Jhelum said no visible injuries or signs of violence were observed on her body.
However, MP Shah has called for the woman’s body to be exhumed for an independent autopsy.
‘She was killed because her family wasn’t happy with our marriage’
According to Kazam, Shahid’s family never accepted their marriage. She had left her first husband, a cousin in her village in Pakistan, shortly before marrying Kazam.
“I am sure my wife is killed by the family,” Kazam said. “She was healthy. And she had no disease. I believe she was killed because her parents were not happy with our marriage.”
Shahid’s cousin in Bradford says a postmortem was carried out which revealed she died of natural causes and there was no evidence of murder. Meanwhile, Shahid’s father, Mohammed Shahid, also denied Kazam’s claims as “lies and allegations”.
“An investigation is under way and if I am found guilty I am ready for every kind of punishment,” said the father.
“My daughter was living a very peaceful and happy life. She had come to Pakistan on her own and was not under any pressure from her family.”
The Guardian reported that in a witness statement to Pakistani police, Shahid’s father named her cousin as her husband instead of Kazam.
Station House Officer (SHO) Jhelum Mohammad Aqeel Abbas, who is leading the investigation into the case, told The Guardian that samples from Shahid’s body have been sent to a forensics lab in Lahore. He added that a postmortem carried out immediately after Shahid’s death revealed no “visible injuries or signs of violence on her body”.