Police in Pakistan have disclosed to local media that a forensic examination of the body of a British woman shows she was strangled, giving credence to allegations the deceased was the victim of a so-called “honor killing” in the country.
Samia Shahid, 28, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, died last month while visiting an ill member of her family in a village in Pakistan's Punjab province. Relatives and local police initially reported a possible heart attack had caused the death.
Shahid’s husband, Syed Mukhtar Kazam, swiftly rejected those assertions, saying his wife had been in good health and branded her death an “honor killing.” He alleged her family opposed their marriage.
Shahid’s relatives denied any involvement in her death.
The forensic report “stated clearly that her death had been caused due to suffocation, as she was stopped from breathing,” according to local media.
Kazam, a Shi’ite Muslim British national of Pakistani origin, said Shahid married him in Leeds two years ago after she divorced her first husband, a cousin from Pakistan. She recently moved to live with Kazam in Dubai. Kazam said he suspected his wife’s Sunni Muslim family was also upset because Shahid converted to his sect.
“I request the British and Pakistani governments to conduct a fair trial,” Kazam told reporters during a recent visit to Pakistan.
Human rights groups say hundreds of women are killed in Pakistan each year for allegedly bringing “dishonor” to their families.
Last month, a social media star, Qandeel Baloch, was strangled and her brother confessed to the crime, citing what he described as Baloch’s “intolerable” behavior. Her death made headlines in local and international media for days, prompting a high-level probe into the killing.