“I believe her family poisoned her”
Investigation into death of young Bradford woman in Pakistan
The bereaved friend of a woman from Bradford, who died in Pakistan in a possible ‘honour’ killing, has spoken out about her mysterious death.
28-year-old beauty therapist, Samia Shahid, died in uncertain circumstances in Pakistan on Wednesday 20th July.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has confirmed her death and West Yorkshire Police is investigating how she died.
Pakistani police have now arrested Samia’s father, Mohammed Shahid, as a suspect in her alleged murder, with media in Pakistan claiming she may have been found at the foot of some stairs.
Her first husband, Mohammed Shakeel, who she married in 2012 and left a year later, is reportedly on the run and a ‘wanted’ man.
Her friends said she had returned to Bradford in September to try to patch things up with members of her family who were unhappy that she had married an ‘outsider’ from a different Islamic sect.
She married a man from Dubai after her alleged forced marriage to her cousin in Pakistan didn’t work out.
Samia died while visiting relatives in the Punjab village of Pandori.
She was buried in a village graveyard following an immediate post-mortem, in which local police claimed to have found no visible injuries or signs of violence on her body.
Husband Syed Mukhtar Kazam, said that before she went to Pakistan, his wife's family had threatened her life.
“They were threatening us because she got married out of the family with her own will and they didn't like it,” he said.
He said his wife had travelled to Pakistan from Dubai because she thought her father was ill.
Syed said he asked his wife not to stay in Pakistan and that waiting for her to come home was ‘the longest week of his life’.
He continued: “She was naïve. She always thought about other people, not herself, maybe that's the reason she got killed.”
He is calling for another post-mortem examination to be carried out.
Samia’s friend, from Bradford, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the Asian Express: “They told me she had committed suicide and I didn’t believe it.
“It’s all about paying off the officers over there. The area where her family live runs off the family’s money as they own the village. No-one is going to let the truth out.”
The friend has ‘known Samia for ages’ wants to see ‘justice’ served for her friend who was ‘always smiling and laughing’.
“She had a forced marriage to her cousin in Pakistan and it didn’t work out. Her husband was quite abusive. He divorced her over the phone and then she got married to Syed. Her family all had doubts about him and made rumours about him,” she claimed.
“I talked to him myself and he was so sweet. There was no reason for her to have a heart attack. That’s why I believe her family poisoned her.”
Samia’s friend said she got to know the Shahid family ‘really well’.
“I knew it was a lie so I got in contact with the local embassy because she deserves justice.
“We know we can’t bring her back, but at least it will help her husband grieve her loss.
“Her family tricked her into going to Pakistan by saying that her dad was on his deathbed.”
She added: “Why would she have committed suicide when she was happy with her new husband in Dubai? It would have made more sense four years ago when she was unhappy.
“She promised her husband she would return to Dubai in seven days time. She didn’t even get chance to become a mother.”
Bradford West MP Naz Shah is also investigating Ms Shahid's death.
“I'm not going to rest until I'm satisfied I know the cause of her death - we need to investigate it fully,” said Ms Shah, who has written to the prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, calling for Ms Shahid's body to be exhumed.
“It's very suspicious circumstances,” she added.
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “A report was made… last week regarding the alleged death of a 28-year-old woman from Bradford in Pakistan.
“Following this report officers engaged with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who have since confirmed her death.
“Enquiries are now continuing with the relevant authorities to establish the cause.”
The UN states over 5,000 ‘honour killings’ are reported annually worldwide, though this is believed to be an underestimation as many are never reported because of the ‘shame’ they would bring upon the family.