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After Qandeel Baloch, is Samia Shahid Pakistan’s new ‘honour killing’ victim?

The alleged "honour killing" of a British woman at her ancestral village has once again put the spotlight on the rising crimes against women in Pakistan
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Pakistan police are probing the death of a British national  whose husband claims that she was killed for ‘honour’.

Syed Mukhtar Kazam claimed that his wife Samia Shahid was killed for marrying him allegedly against her family’s wishes, the Guardian reported.

Samia died last Wednesday, a day before she was slated to return to her husband in Dubai.

The 28-year-old had travelled to her ancestral home in Pakistan’s remote Pandora village on 14 July, the report said.

The couple who met in 2013, married an year later in Leeds. They moved to Dubai and had been living there ever since.

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Kazam says  Samia’s parents were opposed to her divorce and her subsequent marriage to him.

He says Samia’s family had told him that his wife had suffered a fatal heart attack. However a family source told Guardian that she died of asthma.

Kazan said he was sure that his wife was killed by the family. “She was healthy. And she had no disease. I believe she was killed because her parents were not happy with our marriage,” Kazam told the Guardian.

However Samia’s father Mohammed Shaid denied the allegations.

“An investigation is under way and if I am found guilty I am ready for every kind of punishment,”  Shahid said.

A post mortem was conducted and there was no indication of murder, Samia’s relative who lives in Bradford said.

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The police said there was no visible injuries or signs of violence on the body, Mohammed Aqeel Abbas who is investigating the case said.

The  “samples from the body” has been sent for forensic examination, Abbas said.

Labour MP Naz Shah who represents Bradford has written to Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif seeking his intervention to ascertain the circumstances of the British national’s death.

“From my years of experience around women’s rights and work I have done around “honour crime”, this case does fit that classic picture and circumstances of “honour killing”, Shah said in her letter.

She also demanded that the body be exhumed and an independent autopsy be conducted.

“This idea that you can take your daughter to Pakistan and kill her as you can literally get away with it must be eradicated. There is no honour in killing. It is an evil which we must rid our communities of,” Shah said in her letter to the Sharif.

The alleged “honour killing” comes barely ten days after the slaying of Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch. The 25-year-old was strangled by her brother at her ancestral home on the outskirts of the central city of Multan.

The shock and international attention helped build political consensus for a proposed legislation against the provision of family members pardoning the perpetrators of “honour killing”. The Bill which was approved by a parliamentary panel on Thursday will be presented for debate in the parliament and is likely to be voted next month.

Over a 1,000 women are killed every year in the name of “family honour” in Pakistan.

Most of these are in response to the women choosing a spouse of her own or eloping with her loved one.

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