by NADEEM BADSHAH
THE family of a British woman murdered in Pakistan in 2016 are still awaiting justice and are urging judges to act, an MP has revealed.
Naz Shah, Labour MP for Bradford West, has been supporting the family of Samia Shahid, 28, who was raped and attacked in a suspected so-called honour killing. She is planning to write to the chief justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar, this week asking him to intervene over the repeated delays in the legal proceedings.
Shahid, who grew up in Bradford, died while visiting relatives in the village of Pandori in northern Punjab two years ago. Her ex-husband, Chaudhry Muhammad Shakeel, was arrested but was freed on bail due to a lack of progress in the trial. He denies her murder.
In an interview with Eastern Eye, Shah said justice needs to be served to help Shahid’s widower Syed Mukhtar Kazim and her family deal with their loss.
Shah said: “I am writing to the chief justice this week. I spoke to him and asked why they are not prosecuting. “I asked him to look into the case. The judicial process has taken much longer than it should have done.
“It is frustrating, I want to see justice for Samia. It will be three years in July 2019, the
family feel people will forget. It is easy to get disheartened. He [husband Kazim] is not very well, he just wants justice.”
Samia’s father, Chaudhry Muhammad Shahid, was held as a suspected accessory to the murder but released on bail. He died in January 2018.
The beautician had an arranged marriage with Shakeel, her cousin, in Pakistan in 2012 but the relationship broke down.
She married Kazim in Leeds in 2014 and moved to Dubai. He has claimed Samia’s relatives disapproved of their marriage.
Shah has previously written to prime minister Imran Khan about the case and believes the country’s image will be damaged if it fails to act.
“It doesn’t send a good message if Samia doesn’t get justice. There will be little confidence in the Pakistan judiciary.
“They have to set a narrative that if you want your daughters to go abroad, then the law will catch up with you for British and Pakistani nationals in the world.
“[It is about] How Pakistan is perceived internationally and its commitment to honour-based violence. It is about justice for Samia and on a wider level, the image of the country internationally.”
Shortly after Shahid’s death, it emerged she had a bruise measuring 19 centimetres in length on her neck from being strangled. That was despite the post-mortem concluding she had suffered a heart attack and there were no physical marks on her.
Shahid’s family in Pakistan have strongly denied any involvement in her death. Shah believes part of the problem lies with how Pakistan’s justice system operates.
She added: “The justice system is very different to here, it’s like a private prosecution done through a judiciary.
“The person connected with the case has to lead the prosecution. “Her husband lodged a case, there’s a risk to his life if he goes back to Pakistan.
“He has to pursue the case and that’s what he has been doing.
“In relation to the rape, the police have forensics. It must happen as soon as possible. It has been two and-a-half years.”