Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham couple murdered on trip to Pakistan

A street in East Birmingham where prayers are being said for a British couple murdered in Pakistan
Image caption Neighbour May Sparrow said Mr Wazir had lived in the city his whole life and was "a proper Brummie"

A couple from Birmingham have been murdered in Pakistan.

The man has been named locally as Gul Wazir, a taxi driver from Alum Rock in east Birmingham.

Lajbar Khan, of the Birmingham Pashtun Association, said the pair had been shot. He said they had been in Pakistan to settle an arranged marriage dispute.

It is understood the couple's son was also hurt in the attack. The Foreign Office said it had offered the family consular assistance.

West Midlands Police said in a statement: "The murder inquiry is being carried out by the authorities in Pakistan and we will support their investigation as and when required."

Mr Khan said: "We are very saddened. They [the couple] were both members here and very polite and well respected. They were just very nice people."

It is understood that a dispute had arisen over the arranged marriage of Mr and Mrs Wazir's daughter to a man in Pakistan.

Mr Wazir and his family had travelled to a village in north Pakistan called Salehana, which is sometimes referred to as Little Birmingham because of its strong ties with the Pakistani community in the West Midlands.

'Family problems'

Mr Wazir's former boss Mohammad Siddique, of Manor Cars in Birmingham, said the company's staff were all shocked at the news of the deaths.

He said: "Gul Wazir came to see me last Saturday and said he was going to Pakistan the following day to sort out some family problems," he said.

"He was a very good worker and such a nice man. He was like my older brother."

He described the family as "devastated", adding: "When I went to see them they were so shocked and in tears."

Mr Wazir's neighbour, May Sparrow, said she had known him since he was a teenager, adding that he was a "proper Brummie".

She said: "Everyone knew him. He was an ordinary man looking after his family. He was so nice, and a wonderful father.

"He was full of life, he was delightful. There's nothing bad you could say about him. He was living a lovely life. His family all idolised him."

"She was lovely as well," Ms Sparrow said of Mr Wazir's wife.

"We didn't know her as much, but she was just as nice. To think they lost their lives like that, you can't believe it."

'Refusal insult'

The couple's bodies have already been buried.

Khalid Mahmood, MP for Perry Barr in Birmingham, said he was "shocked" and "disappointed".

He said: "Honour killing is absolutely absurd in this day and age."

Parents living in Britain should ensure their children understand the seriousness of rejecting a potential suitor from abroad, he added.

"If the child refuses the marriage it's seen as an insult.

"I think people need to realise that if they want to continue their ties with their relatives in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, they need to be aware of the extent, when their children aren't overly enthusiastic, that the family overseas will feel they're being slighted."

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