ISLAMABAD: Pakistani police on Saturday arrested the former husband and the father of a British woman on suspicion of murder after her second husband alleged she was the victim of an “honour killing” for remarrying, police said.
Samia Shahid, 28, a beautician from Bradford who was visiting her family in Pakistan, died last month in the village of Pandori in northern Punjab province.
The case attracted attention because it came days after the high-profile honour killing of outspoken social media star Qandeel Baloch, whose brother has been arrested in the case.
Deputy Inspector General Police Abubakar Khuda Bakhsh, the investigating officer in the case, said police had arrested Shahid’s ex-husband – her cousin Shakeel – and her father, Chaudhry Shahid.
“The court has sent them to police custody for physical remand of four days,” 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.”
Shahid’s relatives have said she died of a heart attack, but her husband, Kazim Mukhtar, told Reuters last month that he believed she had been poisoned and then strangled. He said they had both received death threats from her family in the past.
Less than two weeks before Shahid died, Baloch, 26, who had divided opinion in the deeply conservative Muslim society by regularly posting revealing photos on social media, was found strangled and her brother was arrested.
Some 500 women are killed every year in Pakistan by relatives who feel their family has been shamed by a daughter or sister hanging out with men, eloping or otherwise infringing conservative demands on women’s modesty.
Baloch’s death led Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s ruling party to announce that it would pass long-delayed legislation outlawing “honour killing” within weeks.
The new law is still pending.