Honour killing Britons refused to let daughters marry nephews

Theo Usherwood
Tuesday 10 August 2010 00:00 BST

A British couple were shot dead in an apparent honour killing in Pakistan after they refused to let their two daughters marry their nephews, a friend said yesterday.

Gul Wazir and his wife, Niaz Begum, were visiting relatives in Salehana, a remote village in Nowshera province, with their 28-year-old son Mehboob Alam when three men burst into the house and carried out the "revenge" attack.

Earlier in their visit, a row had erupted when Mr Wazir, a taxi driver, was asked by his Pakistan-based brother Noor if he would allow his daughters to marry his sons Awal Zamir and Rehman. The daughters, who had stayed at home in Alum Rock, Birmingham, rejected the proposals.

Hassan Ahmed, a friend of the family, said yesterday that Mr Wazir had refused the offer because his daughters were worried about the language barrier and cultural differences. As a result, a meeting of four village elders was called, who sided with Mr Wazir.

The family had thought the matter was closed, but on Friday three men sprayed bullets at the couple as they chatted over breakfast, Mr Ahmed said. Their son was upstairs taking a shower. Hearing the gunfire, he rushed downstairs to find his parents dead.

According to reports, the shooting came two days after the Wazirs had agreed to pay the equivalent of £18,800 in compensation.

"This was a revenge killing," Mr Ahmed said. "Everybody has arms on them in this particular area. It's terrible. I think the family are after justice now. Their mum and dad have been murdered in cold blood for no real sensible reason and it is very important that the British Government put pressure on the Pakistani police and government to do something about it."

West Midlands Police said it was investigating a threat made against one of Mr Wazir's relatives, believed to be another one of his sons, in Birmingham on Friday. Mehboob Alam has since returned to the UK, while his sisters are described as being safe.

The killings come just a few months after Mohammad and Pervaze Yousaf, from Nelson, Lancashire, were gunned down in a graveyard in north-east Pakistan. They were shot in May after the arranged marriage of their son Kamar to his cousin broke down, sparking a family dispute.

Yesterday, the Birmingham MP Khalid Mahmood referred to the murder of the Wazirs as an "honour killing". He added: "The message to people here is they need to take it very seriously, when they make these kind of arrangements, that their children are happy with that and that they have a proper dialogue with their family. If the child refuses the marriage it's seen as an insult."

The Foreign Office said its dedicated forced marriages unit dealt with 1,700 cases a year.

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