Bradford West MP Naz Shah, who is demanding answers in the case of the alleged honour killing of Samia Shahid in Pakistan, has vowed to keep fighting until the perpetrators are brought to justice.
Shah told Eastern Eye she was waiting to see the official postmortem and toxicology report for 28-year-old Shahid. The MP added on Monday (8) that she may push for a forensic autopsy depending on the outcome of the reports into the death of her former constituent who was killed while visiting family in Pakistan.
Shahid’s husband Syed Mukhtar Kazam believes she was targeted because the pair married against her parents’ wishes after she divorced her former husband Mohammed Shakeel, who is also her cousin.
Shahid is believed to have been forced into her first marriage and Kazam said the couple had received death threats from her family in the past. He also said her family was angered that Shahid converted from the majority Sunni to the minority Shia sect of Islam after the couple married.
The beautician from Bradford died last month in the village of Pandori in northern Punjab. Forensic tests carried out by Pakistani police indicated that Shahid was strangled.
Her family has denied allegations that they murdered her and originally claimed she died of a heart attack.
Shahid’s former husband, her father and cousin failed to attend a court appearance in Pakistan on the weekend.
Shakeel is due to appear in court on Saturday (13) for a bail hearing.
Shah has demanded the authorities in Pakistan exhume Shahid’s body, adding that her father and cousin’s passports are being held by the Pakistan police.
“I am not giving up until the perpetrators are brought to justice,” she said.
The Labour MP said she had been speaking to the police in Pakistan every couple of days and has had meetings with the Foreign Office about the progress of the case.
“The speed of the investigation since my involvement has been unprecedented. The police have confirmed that,” Shah said.
“It’s about sending out a clear message that this is not acceptable here and in Pakistan. We have two women a week who die through violence against women, so we have a responsibility to stop it happening and to stop people thinking if you go to a different country the law won’t reach you.”
Shah told Eastern Eye that Kazam who married Shahid in September 2014, was distraught and he has travelled to Pakistan from the couple’s home in Dubai to put pressure on the investigation. He has been given 24-hour police protection after receiving death threats.
“She (Samia) was his everything. They had only been married a year and-a-half and planned their whole life together. He’s so consumed with getting justice that his own grief has to be parked up,” Shah added.
The MP has also been threatened in relation to the case and a 32-year-old woman and a 37-year-old man have been arrested over the allegations. However she said it had made her more determined to fight for the truth.
Some 500 women are killed each year in Pakistan by relatives who feel their family has been shamed by a daughter or sister. Last month, the country’s government announced it would pass long-delayed legislation outlawing honour killing within weeks.