A British couple who flew to Pakistan to settle a row over their daughter’s arranged marriage have been shot dead in a suspected ‘honour killing’.
The spurned groom is thought to have gunned down Gul Wazir and wife Bagum alongside their son who had also travelled to the remote Nowshera province, one of the areas devastated by the flooding in the country.
The son survived the attack and is in a stable condition in hospital. It was reported the gunman was a nephew of the couple, and was named locally as Rehman Wazir.
He had been due to marry his cousin until her parents decided against the arrangement. Local police said the Wazirs had travelled from their home in Alum Rock, Birmingham, to the village of Saleh Khan to explain their reasons to the groom.
The aborted marriage was discussed in a grand jirga, or assembly of the village, which ended with an order for the Wazirs to pay the equivalent of £18,800 to their nephew in compensation.
But although both parties agreed with the decision, two days later, Rehman Wazir allegedly shot his uncle and aunt at the house they were staying at. Police were last night searching for him.
A family friend said: ‘Gul and his wife went to Pakistan to try to sort it out. It is a tragedy. They were honest, decent people.’
‘The husband and wife had already promised their daughter to a man. When that arrangement ended he was not happy,’ the friend said.
The killings happened on Monday, but details only emerged last night as the country is still in chaos after being hit by deadly floods.
Another of Mr and Mrs Wazir’s son’s, Umar, was organising a memorial for them at an Islamic centre in Bordesley Green, Birmingham yesterday.
He said it was too early for his family to speak about the tragedy.
A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police confirmed the deaths. She said: ‘We have been informed of the murder of two people from Birmingham in Pakistan.
‘The murder inquiry is being carried out by the authorities in Pakistan and we will support their investigation as and when required.’
The family friend described Mr Wazir as a peaceful man, who loved his family.
‘Gul was quiet, a humble, good man,’ his friend said. ‘He got on with his work, loved his children and was a regular at weddings and funerals and all community events. We all respected him, he will be sadly missed.’
The north western province of Pakistan where the couple were murdered is less than 100 miles from the Afghan border.
Honour killings have become a regular feature in the region, where a strict Islamic code is enforced.
‘This is not a one-off incident,’ the taxi driver’s friend revealed. ‘Less than 18 months ago, a man from Bordesley Green was murdered in the same village for very similar reasons. His daughter did not want to marry a man who believed he was entitled to her.
‘It’s a very sad situation, it is hard to accept that this sort of killing still goes on. The parents often don’t have a say in Birmingham.
‘If the daughter has been raised here and she doesn’t want to marry a man, she won’t be forced to do it.
‘Back in Pakistan they still blame the parents if this happens. They don’t understand that the culture is different.’
Muslim Birmingham MP Khalid Mahmood said he was appalled at the double murder.
‘This is shocking news,’ he said. ‘If it is discovered that this couple were killed as a result of a feud over an arranged marriage then it’s truly disgraceful.
‘This sort of thing should not be happening in this day and age.
‘The area in question is in the north western province, where honour killings tend to happen quite regularly. These killings need to be clamped down on.’
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it could not reveal any further details.
‘We would not get involved unless the family concerned had approached us for consular assistance,’ a spokesman said.