Dubai: A Dubai man has accused his in-laws of murdering his wife in an honour killing. British-born Samia Shahid, 28, who worked here as a real estate agent, died mysteriously in her ancestral home in Pakistan on July 20, just a day before she was due to fly back to the UAE.
Her husband Syed Mukhtar Kazam, 30, told XPRESS his wife was killed by her family as they never approved of their love marriage. “This is a straight forward case of honour killing,” said Kazam, who married Samia in the UK in September 2014, much against the wishes of her Bradford-based family.
This was Samia’s second marriage after she left her first husband - a cousin from their family village in Pandori in north Punjab – Kazam claims she was forcefully married to.
“For her family, I was always an outsider. They wanted Samia to leave me and return to them. Her father often said that he’d kill her daughter, and he’s done just that in her first visit to the country since our marriage,” said Kazam who first met Samia during a holiday in Bradford in October 2013 before marrying her a year later in a small ceremony in Leeds Town Hall.
“Police told me the body had no visible injuries or signs of violence but there was frothing at the mouth. I suspect she was poisoned,” he said from Islamabad where he is awaiting forensic reports from local authorities.
Agencies in both the UK and Pakistan are investigating the death while Bradford West MP Naz Shah has separately demanded a high level probe.
Samia’s parents have denied the allegation but Kazam is far from convinced. “Initially her family members claimed she had a heart attack while her father told local media she committed suicide. Neither sounds believable as Samia looked just fine – mentally, emotionally and physically when she left for Pakistan on June 14,” he said.
Kazam who works as a technical advisor in a Dubai chemicals company alleged his wife was emotionally blackmailed by her family to travel to Pakistan following the death of one of her relatives earlier this Ramadan. “She was reluctant but gave in when she was told that her father had taken ill. They were so desperate that they even sent her a ticket,” recalled Kazam, who grew up in Dubai and has a bachelors degree in business administration from a UAE college.
(With inputs from Mariam Mumtaz, intern)
Last year, 1,096 women and 88 men were killed in “honor” crimes in Pakistan, according to the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. In 2014, the number was 1,005 women, including 82 children, up from 869 women a year earlier. The true numbers are believed to be higher, with many cases going unreported, activists say. Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch, who was known for her daring posts, became the latest high profile victim of honour killing when she was strangled to death by her own brother.
Why are honour killings on the rise?
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