With the murder trial of Bradford woman Samia Shahid set to begin on 17 September, it has emerged that the family members of the alleged honour killing victim had plotted to pardon her killer using loopholes in Pakistan's controversial "blood money" laws. In a recently-released investigation report, police have alleged that the death of the 28-year-old was "almost a perfect [murder] plot" hatched by her father Mohammed Shahid and former husband Choudhry Shakeel.
Samia was allegedly murdered for divorcing Shakeel and marrying another man – Syed Mukhtar Kazam – who belonged to a different Muslim sect. Her family was reportedly enraged as the marriage was solemnised against their wish.
In their 43-page report, police said that Shahid's father and former husband carried out "a premeditated and cold-blooded honour killing". But the duo had plotted to use loopholes in Pakistan's controversial "blood money" laws, under which the family of a victim reserves the right to forgive the killer.
To misuse the law and pardon Shakeel, Samia's father had allegedly demanded a postmortem be conducted on his deceased daughter two hours after he allegedly pinned her down, while Shakeel reportedly strangulated her with a scarf. Shakeel is also accused of raping the victim before killing her. Police believe that the father wanted to establish that he was a complainant in the case, after requesting for a postmortem to be performed.
By doing so, Samia's father would have the right to decide the punishment for the killer, thereby getting a chance to pardon him. The accused is Mohammed Shahid's nephew.
"Shahid [Samia's father] could have easily pardoned him after a few days being 'Wali' [guardian] of the victim. This way, he could have hidden this gory crime in almost a perfect plot," the report, obtained by The Times said.
Police also said in the report that the victim's mother and sister were involved in the plot. Both are reportedly absconding following the 20 July incident.
Meanwhile, the lawyer for the accused dismissed the police report, stating that it was based on assumptions. "In Pakistan's legal regime, physical evidence carries maximum importance. There is not even a single eyewitness in the case," The Times quoted him as saying.
However, lead investigator in the case, Abubakar Khuda Bakhsh, believes there are no loopholes in their report. "How can they deny rape and DNA? We have a DNA report which matches perfectly with her first husband," he said.