To love and be in love is indeed a blessing. However, to be murdered for love is a total disgrace and a crime against humanity. 28-year-old Samia Shahid was found dead in Punjab, Pakistan, after visiting her "supposed" sick father. Who killed her and why?.
Beautiful Samia Shahid lived and worked in Manningham, Bradford, England. She was employed as a full-time customer sales assistant and a part-time make-up artist, which she treated as less than a job but more of a hobby.
Friends and colleagues described her as a "jolly and bubbly person, who always had a smile on her face" and never a troublemaker.
In 2012 she happily visited her family in Pakistan only to be forced into an incest arranged marriage with her cousin Shakeel, who she had never perceived to be more than just a brother. Though Samia always knew she could be given away to a loveless marriage according to their culture, she never expected it to be a close family member.
Nevertheless, the wedding took place, and soon after, Shahid returned to England and left her husband behind. According to the family, Shahid was expected to begin the visa process immediately so her husband could join her, but unfortunately, that never happened.
That following year Samia met the man of her dreams, Syed Mukhtar Kazim. He was everything she always wanted in a partner, loving, caring, supportive, and understanding. Even though both knew they were risking each other's lives, they felt their love was more powerful than the hate and threat in front of them and something worth fighting for.
However, for them to be legally married, Samia needed a divorce, something totally out of reach and unacceptable by their culture; nevertheless, where there's a will, there's a way. In 2014 Samia converted from Suni to the Shia branch of Islam, then obtained a divorce from Shakeel through the Sharia courts and married the man of her choosing, Kazim, in Leeds, England.
Nevertheless, they knew they would never be safe if they stayed in England, so they relocated to Dubai to begin a new life.
However, her family was furious with her. To them, Kazim and their marriage were nothing but a shame. They vowed that Samia was her cousin's wife as long as they all lived, and no one would force them to believe otherwise, including the British law itself.
Before the couple relocated to Dubai, they reported multiple cases of harassment and threats to the West Yorkshire Police, which propelled them to release one of their chaperones to accompany Samia to a family meeting before her second wedding.
According to the officer, the family was not moved by his presence. Samia received many threats, and as a result, an official warning for harassment was issued to one of her relatives.
The Shia Cleric, who deemed her first marriage null and void because of its nature, also reported multiple cases of harassment and threats from Samia’s family to the police. His crime was granting Samia a divorce certificate from her cousin. According to them, the cleric was a nobody and should have never interfered in family issues. Since he had decided to be part of the shame, he also had a price to pay.
After the couple relocated to Dubai, the family filed a missing person's report hoping the law would hunt them down and arrest Kazim for kidnapping. However, the police had full knowledge of everything, and their plan failed. Out of anger and frustration, they cooked another lie that Samia's father was at a point of dying, and she needed to head home to pay her last respects.
Though Kazim could see through their lies and begged his wife not to go, Samia chose to take the risk. A child's love for her parents sees beyond hurt at a point of need. The following morning Samia took the first flight from Islamabad airport to Pakistan with little hope of returning alive.
The love birds stayed in contact until the day before her return, when "constant streams of instant messages" suddenly stopped. Kazim knew his fears had become a reality. His lovely wife had been taken away from him in a ruthless and unjustified manner, all because of what her heart wanted and loved.
“Obviously, l could see it was a lie,” said Kazim to the police when he had tried to stop Samia from going.
Her Death and More Lies
Samia was found dead in her ex-husband's home in Punjab, Pakistan. One of her cousins, Mobin, called her husband to give him the devastating news. Though Kazim knew what had happened, he played dumb for a second and asked how Samia had suddenly died, yet she had left Dubai in perfect health, and the man on the other side of the line said it was a heart attack and ended the call.
However, Kazim would not take lies for an answer, boarded the next available flight to Pakistan, and demanded that the police of Pakistan brought everyone involved to book.
With the police and media now involved, a lot of speculations arose. According to the press, Samia had committed suicide to relieve the pains of being barren. It had always been her dream to have children, but she was medically incapable. Mysteriously her family intervened and dismissed the claims. Her uncle Haq Nawaz who obtained her death certificate from the local union council told police that Samia had died of natural causes, which demanded her to be buried the same day.
Strangely leading investigations officer Aqeel Abbas agreed with the family’s theory, but the autopsy proved otherwise. He said there were “no signs of external physical injury” on Samia’s body, but forensic evidence revealed Samia was raped and had bruises of strangulation around her neck. Who had done it, the family or the ex-husband??.
The intervention of High officials.
Once forensics evidence proved foul play, the constituency covering Samia's location back in England, MP Naz Shah, refused to allow such a disgrace to happen under her watch. She wrote emails to the authorities in Pakistan and involved Pakistan's high commissioner to the UK.
“I have asked for the police officer and the physician who did the first postmortem to be investigated.”
As we all know, these honor killings involve not only the family but almost 90% of its community; the MP received multiple threats after her involvement, which led to two people being arrested in Bradford.
Thankfully the Chief Minister of Punjab set up a new committee led by deputy Abubakar Buksh to reinvestigate everything and file a new report. As we all might have suspected, there was indeed foul play between the previous leading investigations officer Abbas and Samia's family.
Abbas knew the truth but promised the family to file a fake report. On top of that, he allowed Samia's mother and sister to flee Pakistan when he should have confiscated everyone's traveling documents by law.
We have completed our investigation and concluded that her ex-husband Muhammad Shakeel and father Muhammad Shahid were involved in her killing.” said deputy Buksh.
As Kazim had wished, the new committee arrested all the culprits, including officer Abbas for conspiring and concealing the evidence. Sadly the same law later disappointed him.
The truth of what happened
Samia's family held a meeting, and all agreed that her death was the only way to end the shame she had brought to them. However, they needed a plan to hook her back to Pakistan, and when her auntie died, they thought they had the opportunity, but Samia refused to attend the funeral.
Her mother and sister then volunteered to emotionally blackmail her and leave Samia with no choice but to return home. They called her many times and cried that their father was very sick and wanted to see her before dying. Though, in reality, he was ill, they exaggerated the condition.
On one occasion, both parents video-called her and put on a show. They had previously agreed that her father would lie down and act extremely ill, and their plan worked. That call convinced Samia to pack her bags and head back to Pakistan that following morning.
Before getting on the plane, she texted a friend, asked for prayers for a safe return, and boarded her flight. Upon her arrival, a childhood friend picked her up from the airport instead of her family. She then asked the friend to safely keep all her traveling documents in case she needed to escape at some point.
A day before her flight back home, ex-husband Shakeel demanded Samia's traveling documents, and when she refused, he threw her to the bed and assaulted her.
Feeling abused and violated, Samia stormed out of the room and promised to head to the British commissioner and file a report. On her way out, she bumped into her father by the stairs. Even though he had been sitting by the veranda, he pretended naive to the entire situation and asked Samia where she was going.
The minute she said she was leaving, the father signaled the ex behind her with a nod, and Shakeel strangled Samia with a scarf she was wearing. Soon after, they buried her like a nobody in the village.
Some people don't have a heart, honestly. How could a daughter die by her father's hand while he stands and stares at her and feels nothing? I Am speechless.
To try and prevent Kazim from setting foot in Pakistan, Samia's family opened a case of polyandry against the couple before killing her. They claimed that the two forged their marriage certificate, and someone had been bought to impersonate Shakeel during the divorce. And Kazim should be charged with" impersonation, fraud, and fornication."
Their family lawyer confidently stated that "In the witness box, if he comes and testifies, it will be very easy for us as defense counsels to shackle the credibility of that witness. If we show he was lying in one context, he may not be believed in another context.".
The police of Pakistan accepted their plea, and a case of fraud and forgery against Kazim was filed on 16 November 2016. Nevertheless, Kazim refused to be threatened and still flew to Pakistan despite knowing there was a chance to spend the rest of his life behind bars. All he wanted was justice for his wife.
In December 2016, the High Court of Pakistan released Samia's father on bail, stating that the evidence presented against him was insufficient to keep him behind bars. He died two years later, maintaining his statement of being innocent of all the charges.
Even though ex-husband Shakeel confessed to killing Samia out of anger at her refusing to leave Kazim and denying him a chance to be a British citizen, the police freed him on bail. According to the stupid law of Pakistan, confessions are not proof and valid enough to put anyone behind bars forever. What nonsense of a law, honestly.
Her mother and sister's whereabouts remain unknown though they are suspected to be in the UK. Till today there is no justice for Samia, and all culprits continue to walk scot-free.
However, her young sister has dismissed everything and remains vigilant that Samia died of natural causes and never married her cousin. The family has also tried to stop her story, entitled Murdered for love, from airing on television without success. What are they afraid of?
Though justice has not been served, MP Naz Shah still pushes the case, and we hope for the best in the future.