Pakistani police said on Tuesday they were investigating the murder of a British-Pakistani woman whose husband has accused her family of killing her to protect its honour.
Mukhtar Kazim filed a complaint with police at Jhelum in Punjab province that alleged his wife, 28-year-old Samia Shahid, was the victim of an honour killing in her family´s village last week.
The couple had been married for two years and were living in Dubai. Samia was a beauty therapist from Bradford.
Kazim said in his first information report (FIR) he suspected that Samia's family had killed her because she married without their consent.
Samia’s parents have insisted she died of natural causes and her father told local media he did not want an investigation.
Mohammad Aqeel Abbas, the station house officer for Jhelum district who is investigating the case, said an autopsy was carried out immediately after Samia died. She was then buried in the village graveyard. There were no visible injuries or signs of violence on her body, he said.
A Foreign Office spokesman confirmed Samia’s death and said: “We are providing support to the family of a British national who has died in Pakistan, and are in contact with the local authorities to seek further information.”
According to news reports, Kazim said Samia flew to Islamabad on July 14 after she was told that a relative was gravely ill in Pakistan. Samia was due to return last Thursday, but Kazam said one of her cousins called him on Wednesday and said she had died of a heart attack.
The issue of honour killings has been in the spotlight in Pakistan since social media sensation Qandeel Baloch was murdered, allegedly by her brother, in Punjab province earlier this month to “protect the family’s honour”. Hundreds of Pakistanis, the vast majority women and girls, are murdered every year by relatives after being accused of damaging a family’s honour. Most suspects in honour killings are never prosecuted.
The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has reported nearly 1,100 women were killed last year by relatives who believed they had dishonoured their families.