Ex-husband confesses to strangling former wife to death in Pakistan

Samia Shahid

The ex-husband of a Bradford woman has admitted to Pakistani police that he strangled his former wife to death with a scarf.

Samia Shahid, a 28-year-old beautician from Bradford was visiting relatives in the Pandori village in the northern Punjab region of Pakistan when she died in July this year.

Her family initially said she had suffered a heart attack.

This was challenged by her husband, Syed Mukhtar Kazam, who suspected she was murdered in a so-called honour killing because her marriage to him was not approved by her family.

Ms Shahid’s ex-husband, Choudhry Shakeel, was arrested on Saturday, along with her father, on suspicion of murder. Mr Shakeel has since confessed he drugged and strangled his ex-wife.

News agency Reuters was informed by the Deputy Inspector General Abubakar Khuda Bakhsh, the investigating officer in the case, that Mr Shakeel and Ms Shahid’s father, Choudry Shahid had appeared in court in Pakistan.

 “The court has sent them to police custody for physical remand of four days,” Mr Bakhsh said. “Once facts are established, we would be in a better position to say if it is an honour killing or a murder as revenge.”

After divorcing her first husband – a cousin from Pakistan- Ms Shahid married Mr Kazam in Leeds in 2014, despite her family’s disapproval.

Mr Kazam said last month he believed his wife Ms Shahid had been poisoned and then strangled. He said they had both received death threats from her family in the past.

Earlier this month, Pakistani newspaper The News claimed a forensic report confirmed Ms Shahid was murdered, citing suffocation as the cause of death.

Mr Kazam claimed there was a 7.5in bruise on his wife’s neck and he had seen a copy of a postmortem report.

Despite the couple living in Dubai, his wife did made trips to the UK to discuss her relationship with her family.

She had been told her father was ill in Pakistan, so she travelled out to see him.

Bradford West MP, Naz Shah, who wrote a letter to Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif last month to push ahead with the investigation into Ms Shahid’s death, has allegedly received threats from a 32-year-old woman- a relative of Ms Shahid. A 37-year-old man was also arrested over threats.

Despite popular misconception, honour killings have nothing to do with Islam.

In India, a major motive for such killings is the cultural perspective of the Hindu caste system, where men are often killed for approaching women of higher caste.

Earlier this year, Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission reported honour killings are on the rise in the country. Of the 1,100 reported cases most were women, with men accounting for 88.

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