Labour MP Naz Shah is putting pressure on the UK government to get justice for a British woman targeted in an alleged honour killing in Pakistan.
The Bradford West MP was due to meet with the home secretary this week to discuss the case of Samia Shahid, 28, a beautician from Bradford who was allegedly killed after she divorced and remarried against her family’s wishes.
Pakistani authorities have said she was the victim of a “premeditated and cold-blooded honour killing”. She died while visiting relatives in Pakistan in July 2015.
Shah told Eastern Eye: “I can’t afford for it to be dropped off the agenda. I’m meeting the home secretary and I’m getting some lobbying done.”
The MP added that she was writing to the prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, about the alleged murder.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions last Wednesday (1), Shah raised the topic with Theresa May.
“In 2015, my constituent Samia Shahid was lured to her death in Pakistan, where she was brutally raped and murdered,” she said.
“Will the prime minister join me in reiterating the commitment of this House and this country that we will not tolerate violence against women, and encourage the Pakistani government to continue in their efforts to get justice for our British girl, Samia Shahid?”
May told the Labour MP it was a very tragic case, but said that the UK did not interfere in the legal processes of another country.
The prime minister added: “I understand from the Foreign (and Commonwealth) Office that the Pakistani police have arrested two people and charged them with murder. The Foreign Office has provided assistance to Samia’s husband and will continue to do so.”
Shahid’s first husband Chaudhry Muhammad Shakeel is accused of her murder and was refused bail by a Pakistani court last month. Her father, Chaudhry Muhammad Shahid, has been held as a suspected accessory and released on bail.
The beautician’s second husband, Syed Mukhtar Kazam, wants the case moved to the high court in Lahore. The court is due to hear his application at a later date, which claims that Shahid’s family has made threats to his life.
Lawyers for Shakeel have not said if he now intends to make an application to the Punjab high court.
Shahid married Kazam in Leeds in 2014 and the couple moved to Dubai. Kazam claims his wife was killed because her family disapproved of their marriage.
Initially her family said she died of a heart attack, but a post-mortem examination found she had been strangled.
A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office told Eastern Eye: “We have been providing assistance to a British national since his detention in Pakistan in July 2016.”