ISLAMABAD: A man is claiming his wife, a beauty therapist from Bradford, England, was killed over ‘honour’ in Pakistan while she was visiting family.
Samia Shahid died July 20 while visiting relatives in Pandori village near Mangla Dam in northern Punjab, the Foreign Office confirmed.
British MP Naz Shah has written to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, asking him to intervene and directing authorities in Pakistan to exhume her body and commission an independent autopsy.
The police officer leading the investigation in Pakistan said he sent samples from the body to Pakistan’ top forensics lab in Lahore on Tuesday.
Jhelum SHO Mohammad Aqeel Abbas said a postmortem was carried out immediately after Shahid died. There were no visible injuries or signs of struggle on her body, he said.
The 28-year-old was then buried in her village graveyard.
Shahid was supposed to return on July 21. However, her husband Syed Mukhtar Kazam said he was told his “happy and bubbly” wife had died of a cardiac arrest.
A source close to the family said they believed she died after an asthma attack.
Kazam says Shahid’s family was against her “love marriage” and considered him an “outsider”.
Shortly before Shahid and Kazam married at Leeds town hall in September 2014, she had left her first husband, a first cousin from their village in Pakistan.
However, the family strongly denies Kazam’s claims. Shahid’ father, who is in Pakistan, said Kazam was lying.
“An investigation is underway and if I am found guilty I am ready for every kind of punishment,” he said. “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.”
“This is a terrible tragedy but she died of natural causes,” Mohammed Ali, Shahid’s cousin in Bradford, said. “The family did a postmortem. There’s no evidence whatsoever of murder.” He disputed Kazam’s claim of marriage, referring to him as “that boy, Samia’s so-called husband”.
In the witness statement submitted to Pakistani police by Shahid’s father, Mohammed Shahid, he refers to his daughter’s husband as her cousin Mohammed Shakeel, not Kazam. However, proof of Shahid and Kazam’s British marriage certificate, signed on 24 September 2014, is also available.
According to Kazam, his wife was told to visit Pakistan at the start of July because one of her aunts had died. However, she did not go at that time.
This time around, Shahid was told a relative was gravely ill in Pakistan so she flew to Islamabad on July 14.
“I am sure my wife is killed by the family,” Kazam said. “She was healthy. And she had no disease,” he said. “I believe she was killed because her parents were not happy with our marriage.”
One woman, who did not want her name to be published, said she had known Shahid all her life. “She was a daddy’s girl”, the woman added. “You know how in [the Pakistani] culture people often favour sons over daughters? It was the other way around with Samia. Her dad loved her so much. If she shed a tear then he would be crying his eyes out. She was her daddy’s princess.”
The woman confirmed Shahid’s family was unhappy with her decision to marry Kazam but had grown to accept it. “If they hadn’t accepted her, why would they have her back in their lives?” she said. “We’re not living back in the old days.”
The original post appeared in the Guardian. – SAMAA