Died July 2016
Samia Shahid (28), a British woman from Bradford, was killed in July 2016 in northern Punjab, Pakistan, in a so-called honour killing. She was reportedly strangled with a scarf.
Ms Shahid’s former husband Chaudhry Muhammad Shakeel has admitted to her murder. Her father Chaudhry Mohammad Shahid has been held as an accessory.
Ms Shahid worked as a beautician. She had filed for divorce and married her second husband Syed Mukhtar Kazam in the UK. Her first marriage was arranged, the second, in 2014, was her own choice.
Ms Shahid’s relatives initially claimed she died of a heart attack, but her husband always believed she had been murdered. He campaigned for the case to be investigated and was supported by Naz Shah, the local MP in Bradford. Ms Shah said he had had to be placed under 24-hour police protection after receiving death threats.
In his confession, Ms Shahid’s former husband, who is also her cousin, reportedly said he had demanded she leave her second husband and remarry him, but she refused to do so.
It has been reported that Mr Kazam belongs to the Shia branch of Islam and that Ms Shahid had joined it and this may have been another reason why some members of her Sunni family strongly disapproved.
Abubakar Khuda Bakhsh, the investigating officer in the case, 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.” It seems that claiming this as an “honour killing” rather than a revenge killing would be seen as a defence in Pakistan.
Ms Shahid’s death came days after the high-profile so-called honour killing of social media star Qandeel Baloch, whose brother has been arrested. Ms Baloch’s death led the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, to announce that the government would pass long-delayed legislation outlawing so-called honour killing. The new law is still pending.
Every year in Pakistan, more than 1000 women are reported to have been killed in so-called honour killings – almost always by father’s, husbands and brothers. The actual figures are likely to be much higher.
Note: This report was drawn from reports in the BBC, the Daily Mirror and the Guardian