Bradford woman's death in Pakistan investigated after 'honour' killing claims

LONDON: MP Naz Shah demands autopsy after Samia Shahid’s husband says he believes her family killed her for marrying ‘outsider.’ 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.

Shahid’s local MP, Naz Shah, has demanded that authorities in Pakistan exhume her body and commission an independent autopsy.

The police officer leading the investigation in Pakistan told the Guardian he had sent samples from the body to the country’s top forensics lab in Lahore on Tuesday.

Mohammad Aqeel Abbas, the station house officer for Jhelum district who is investigating the case, said a postmortem was carried out immediately after Shahid died and she was then buried in her village graveyard. There were no visible injuries or signs of violence on her body, he said. Shahid’s husband, Syed Mukhtar Kazam, claimed he was told the “happy and bubbly” 28-year-old had suffered a fatal heart attack. He received the news last week while in Dubai, where the couple lived together.

A source close to the family told the Guardian they believed she died after an asthma attack.

Her husband said he feared she had been killed by her family, who he says refused to accept their relationship, partly as he was 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.

The family strongly deny Kazam’s claims. Her father, who is in Pakistan, said the allegations made by Kazam were “lies and allegations” against him. “An investigation is under way 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,” said Mohammed Ali, a cousin in Bradford. “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”.