Pakistani police declare Bradford woman's death a murder

AP News
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Posted: Aug 04, 2016 2:13 PM

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani police have declared the death last month of a U.K. woman of Pakistani origin to be murder, a Pakistani investigator said Thursday, in what appears to be the latest in so-called "honor killings" of women in Pakistan.

The case of 28-year-old Samia Shahid comes less than two weeks after taboo-defying social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch was strangled by her brother for posting photographs of herself on line that were deemed shameful in conservative Pakistan.

Nearly 1,000 women are killed every year in Pakistan by family members in so-called "honor killings."

A forensic examination concluded that Shahid, of Bradford, U.K., was killed by asphyxiation, according to Abu Bakar Khuda Bux, deputy police inspector general.

Bux, who is heading the investigative team, told The Associated Press the police are "sure that it was a premediated murder." They were investigating Shahid's family members, he added.

Shahid died in late July while visiting family in Pakistan. Her death was initially ruled to have been of natural causes but her husband, Mukhtar Kazim, accused family members of killing her because Shahid had divorced her first husband, a cousin, to marry him.

Pakistan's Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan ordered the case reopened in response to those allegations, and later cited contradictions in the statements by Shahid's family members.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Kazim said his wife went home to Pakistan's Punjab province after she was told that her father was ill. He added that he had felt suspicious about the whole trip from the start, fearing it was a trap for Shahid.

"I have lost my life," he said over the phone, demanding that Pakistani and British authorities ensure the culprits be brought to justice. Kazim said his wife was born and raised in the United Kingdom and was a British national.

He said he was suspicious of his father-in-law, Muhammad Shahid, and his wife's ex-husband, Muhammad Shakeel.

"I want authorities to arrest and try them both for murder," he said.

After she married the first time, Shahid had lived in Pakistan for a brief period before moving back to England where she got a divorce in 2014. Her family had lived Bradford since 1950s.

Because Shahid's family never approved of her second marriage to Kazim, the two of them moved after they got married to Dubai, where she worked as a beautician, he said.

Bux, the police inspector, confirmed Shahid was a British citizen like her parents. He said her father's passport and other documents have been confiscated to ensure he doesn't leave the country pending investigation. The ex-husband has secured a pre-arrest bail until Aug. 6, Bux added.

"We will not let them go away if they're involved in it," he said.