PAKISTAN (AFP) – The husband of a British woman who was killed in Pakistan has called for the UK and Pakistani governments to ensure his wife received justice, as he sought to keep the spotlight on so-called “honour” killings.
Mukhtar Kazam presented at an emotional press conference a copy of the post-mortem report into his wife Samia Shahid’s death, seen by AFP, which said the 28-year-old had marks on her neck, and suggested she had been strangled.
Kazam has branded her death an “honour killing”, a near daily occurrence in Pakistan in which a relative is murdered by another for bringing the family “dishonour”.
The practice was dragged into the international spotlight earlier this month with the killing of Qandeel Baloch, a polarising Pakistani social media star.
Her brother has confessed to the murder, saying his sister’s behaviour had been “intolerable”.
Kazam sought to keep international attention on “honour” killings when he spoke to media assembled in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, close to the capital Islamabad, Thursday.
“I request the British and Pakistani governments to conduct a fair trial,” he said.
Kazam and Shahid, both British-Pakistani dual citizens, had been married for two years and were living in Dubai, police told AFP, adding that it was Shahid’s second marriage.
Kazam 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 in their village in Punjab province on July 20.
Shahid’s father has denied the charges and said he did not want an investigation, claiming his daughter died of natural causes.
Police told AFP that Shahid’s first husband, Mohammad Shakeel, is being investigated in the murder but received pre-arrest bail on Thursday.
Her parents and a cousin are also being investigated, said Jehlum district police chief Mujahid Akbar.
The chief minister of Punjab province, Shahbaz Sharif, brother to Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif, has formed a special committee that is also tasked with investigating the murder, a senior government official told AFP.
The victims of “honour” killings are overwhelmingly women, with hundreds killed each year.
They have long polarised Pakistan, with progressives calling for tough legislation against them and conservatives resisting.
But the murder of Qandeel Baloch appears to have spurred politicians to take action.
Last week the law minister announced that bills aimed at tackling loopholes that facilitate “honour” killings would soon be voted on by parliament.
Rights groups and politicians have for years called for tougher laws to tackle perpetrators of violence against women in Pakistan.