LONDON/BRADFORD: As Lahore High Court awaits to carry out hearing of mother and sister of Samia Shahid over her murder in the name of honour, her family in Bradford West is openly campaigning against Labour politician Naz Shah, who has highlighted the issue
LHC Chief Justice Mansoor Ali Shah has issued notices to Mobeen, Madiha Shahid (sister) and Imtiaz Bibi (mother) for a hearing of the murder case on June 14.
After Samia's murder in Jhelum last year, her mother and sister fled Pakistan for Bradford.
Samia’s second husband Mukhtar Kazim filed a criminal complaint after her death, claiming that his wife was the victim of honour killing because her family had disapproved of their marriage.
The proceedings were delayed because Kazim had reservations and asked the authorities to move the case from Jhelum to Lahore.
However, in Bradford West, the issue was taken up by the Labour Party parliamentary candidate, Naz Shah, who is now faced with death threats from a relative of Samia for raising the issue.
She has also urged Samia's family to cooperate with the Pakistani authorities over the case.
"I will continue my fight for justice for Samia Shahid. She didn’t deserve to be killed and she deserves justice,” Shah said.
Samia's murder has made it to the streets of Bradford West, where she grew up, during the campaigning for June 8 elections.
Her family members are involved in lobbying against Shah during the election campaign, for highlighting the murder case.
They have met local candidates and offered them support against Shah who will be contesting the re-election from Bradford West on Labour Party’s ticket.
Samia's family members met the current councillor of Keighley and former lord mayor of Bradford, Khadim Hussain, promising their support as he will be contesting against Shah.
Hussain was suspended from the Labour Party over anti-Semitism. But he stood down in favour of Salma Yaqoob, who will be standing as an independent candidate, because of which Samia's family members are actively running a campaign for her.
When asked if Samia’s family was supporting her campaign against Shah, Yaqoob said her opponents were running a “malicious campaign” against her.
“I do not know that particular family and if members of it have attended a public gathering where I am present that would of course be their right," Yaqoob said.
"Instead of focusing on the real issues facing local people the Labour Party campaign has been busy trying to attack me personally with one lie after another.”
In meetings, Samia’s family members have told people not to vote for Shah because she highlighted the honour killing case.
Pakistani authorities believe that Samia’s mother and sister played the central role in convincing the 28-year-old to visit her family in Jhelum, where she was killed by her father and first husband.
Samia was killed because she married Kazim, without seeking her family’s consent.
But Pakistani government has not yet contacted the Crown Prosecution Service — responsible for trying criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales — to extradite the mother and sister.
According to a spokesperson of West Yorkshire police, Pakistani authorities have not yet contacted them regarding the extradition matter. He said West Yorkshire police will "carefully" consider any request to assist Pakistani authorities.
A spokesperson of Pakistan High Commission said it has not yet been asked for assistance by the government of Pakistan.
While speaking over the phone, lawyer for the accused, Mian Muhammad Arif, said his clients from Bradford feared for their lives. “They are afraid to be killed in a police encounter."
He confirmed the court sent notices to the mother and sister of Samia, summoning them to the court, but they ignored. Consequently, the arrest warrants were issued and they have been declared proclaimed offenders, he added.
Pakistan and United Kingdom do not have an extradition treaty in place but the two countries have been cooperating with each other in such cases.
Mohammed Zubair became the first person in February this year to be extradited to the UK from Pakistan since 2005. On February 8 he was jailed for life over the murders of two men in Bradford.
He was found guilty of the murders of Ahmedin Khyel and Imran Khan in May 2011.