The husband of a British woman who died last month when visiting relatives in Pakistan is currently under 24-hour police protection after receiving death threats.
Syed Mukhtar is in Pakistan calling for justice from authorities there after claiming that his wife Samia Shahid was murdered in a “honour killing”. This follows a post-mortem that said marks found on Samia’s neck suggested she had been strangled.
Bradford West MP Naz Shah confirmed that Mukhtair has been offered a 24-hour police guard. Shah had spoken out previously, accusing Pakistani officials of colluding in “a potential cover-up”.
“I spoke to Syed and he did have concerns about his safety. But as of yesterday, he has been given police protection. He has been offered a 24-hour police guard,” said Shah.
British high commission staff were set to meet high-ranking Pakistani police officials on Tuesday (2), and Shah said she had a list of questions to be asked.
“Two consular officers and senior police officers will be meeting in Jhelum, the district where the death occurred. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the whole investigation,” the Bradford MP said.
“I have put together a series of questions I would like asking about the investigation. They include a chronological timeline of events, addressing the questions of who, what, where and when.”
“I have asked about photos being taken after the post-mortem; how the original pathologist ac counted for the mark around her neck; when they expect back the toxicology reports; who made the initial cause of death. I have also asked for a list of the persons present when Samia was found, and what they said,” she added.
Shahid, who was born in Bradford, died at the age of 28 while visiting relatives in their village in Punjab province on July 20. She was previously married to her cousin, Mohammed Shakeel, but left him after a year after they wed.
Samia’s death was less than two years after she married Syed against her family’s wishes and went to live with his family in Dubai. Mukhtar was initially told his wife had died of a heart attack, while her parents said she committed suicide.
Police in Pakistan last week brought in a new team of investigators, appointed by Shabaz Sharif, the chief minister of Punjab, to launch a fresh inquiry into the death after a post mortem showed a 19 centimetre-long bruise on her neck suggesting she had been strangled.
Initially, officers had treated the death as natural causes after an initial post-mortem examination reports indicated Samia was found with no physical marks on her.
The latest post-mortem has resulted in a new questioning of the original homicide inspector and his colleagues, as well as the doctors and medics who carried out the autopsy.
Mukhtair said his wife converted to Shia Islam, his sect, before their wedding, which had irked her parents. In a complaint to police, he has claimed she was murdered during a visit to her family. Shahid’s father has denied the charges and said he did not want an investigation, claiming his daughter died of natural causes.
Police said Shahid’s first husband, Mohammad Shakeel, is being investigated in the murder but received pre-arrest bail last Thursday