Honor Killing: Samia Shahid

The story of Samia Shahid must be heard. Samia Shahid was a beauty therapist in London. The Pakistan native was forced to flee her hometown and her family in an effort to find true love. She found that true love in Syed Kazam. The couple married shortly after Samia was granted a divorce from an arranged marriage organized by her family. Shahid’s family was unhappy with her decision. They were angered and felt that her divorce brought great dishonor to their family. For this reason, Samia could never return home.

How Did This Happen?

It all started when Samia was forced into an arranged marriage with her first cousin, Chaudhry Shakeel. The marriage was abusive and didn’t last long. Samia was able to obtain a divorce, but as a result was forced to run and hide from her family. She met Kazam and fell in love. They got married in England and later moved to Dubai.

It had been two years since Samia married Kazam. When Samia feld, she knew that she could never return to her hometown of Punjab. She knew that if she returned, she may not survive the trip.

The Fatal Trip

July 2016 — Samia received urgent phone calls and text messages stating that her father was very ill. Kazam urged her not to go as he thought it was a trick, but she couldn’t resist. Six days after Samia returned home, Kazam received a phone call that broke his heart. Samia’s family informed Kazam that she had a heart attack and died of natural causes. Kazam was instantly filled with grief and anger for he knew in his gut that there was foul play involved. Kazam took to the press to share his late wife’s story. He told news outlets that his wife’s death was not from natural causes or an accident, but it was the result of an honor killing.

The Killing was Felt in the U.K.

After pressure from the U.K., the Pakistani police performed an autopsy on the body. They found that Samia Shahid had not only been killed, but she had been sexually assaulted as well. The Pakistani police began the search for Samia’s ex-husband and first cousin. When Shakeel was found, he was brought in for questioning by police along with Samia’s father who was named an accomplice in the case.

Shakeel’s trial is ongoing as the prosecutor’s trying to secure the death penalty. However, Samia’s father died during the process of the trial.  

Honor killing goes back to ancient times. Countries like Pakistan, Iran, and India have taken strides towards outlawing honor killings. Unfortunately, many of these crimes go unreported making it hard to put an end to an ancient and brutal tradition.