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EXCLUSIVE: British law graduate murdered in Pakistan was staying in the country to avoid paying for Covid quarantine – and had complained of unwanted advances from a local gangster
- 26-year-old Mayra Zulfiqar was shot and strangled on Monday in Lahore
- Police have launched an investigation, and are looking for four suspects
- Local reports suggest two men were competing over her hand in marriage
- Zulfiqar’s uncle, Mohammad Nazeer, has reportedly filed a criminal complaint
- They added that a phone, found near her body, has been taken for analysis
A murdered British law graduate decided to remain in Pakistan because she did not want to pay to £1,750 to quarantine if she returned to the UK – and had complained of unwanted advances from a local gangster, a family source has told MailOnline.
Mayra Zulfiqar, 26, from Feltham in south west London, was found dead at a property in the up-market Defence district of Lahore in the early hours of Monday morning after four attackers reportedly barged into a bedroom in the home of friend, where she was staying the night.
Mayra travelled to Pakistan two months ago with her mother Tabasaam to attend a cousin’s wedding but decided to stay in the country after it was placed on the coronavirus red list.
Her mother rearranged her flight so that she could get back to the family home just days before Pakistan was placed on the red list.
But Mayra had complained to relatives about the cost of the ten-day quarantine in Britain saying that she preferred to sit it out in Pakistan in the hope that it would be removed from the red list next month.
British law graduate Mayra Zulfiqar, 26, was found to have been shot and strangled in the Defence district of Lahore after gunman are believed to have barged into her rented home
A family source said: ‘She didn’t want to come back and pay all that money to quarantine in Britain so decided to stay in Lahore, where she was living with her grandmother.
‘She was angry that it was too much money for ten days in a grotty hotel. Instead, she thought she’d have more fun in Lahore and was having a lovely time after making a new group of friends.’
The family source also revealed that Mayra had made three complaints to local police about being harassed by Saad Ameer Butt, one of two men who have been arrested.
The source added: ‘A local gangster who is closely connected to the police in Lahore took a shine to her but despite reporting him for harassment, they did nothing. The police are very corrupt over there and don’t take crimes against women seriously.’
Her murder is believed to have taken place in a house rented by one of her friends in the Defence area shortly after 4am. Devout Muslim Mayra had just shared a meal with her pals before staring their Ramadan fast for the day.
Neighbours reported hearing screaming and at least two-gun shots before police arrived to find Mayra’s body in an upstairs bedroom, which had also been trashed.
Family sources in Pakistan revealed that Mayra had got engaged to a man from Islamabad soon after arriving in the country and that they planned to marry next year.
The source added: ‘There were not two men who were after Mayra’s hand, that’s just not true. She was engaged and in a steady relationship.
‘It was one man who was harassing her, and we don’t know why. Perhaps it was because she’s from the UK and is a very beautiful girl. It might have been a status thing for him.’
Mayra had ambitions to be a lawyer and start her own law firm. Prior to travelling to Pakistan for the wedding, she did an internship with a legal company in Dubai.
Ms Zulfiqar (pictured) is understood to have moved from Pakistan from the UK around two months ago, where she had been studying at Middlesex University after attending school in Twickenham. She was visiting Pakistan for a wedding but decided to stay
According to the Independent Urdu , the victim’s uncle – Mohammad Nazeer, who had visited his niece a few days ago – filed a First Incident Report (FIR) to the police, accusing two men of being behind his niece’s murder
Her mother and father, Zulfiqar Muhammad flew to Pakistan on Tuesday morning just hours after finding out about Mayra’s death. They have three other sons who have remained at the family home and are being consoled by friends and relatives.
The family source said: ‘As you can imagine, the family is devastated. Mayra was a beautiful, fun, intelligent girl and a dutiful daughter and sister.
‘The parents had to go to Pakistan to make sure that the police find her killer because they felt helpless sitting in London while waiting for news.’
The victim’s distraught parents are understood to be travelling to Pakistan after they were told of their daughter’s death.
According to the Independent Urdu, the victim’s uncle – Mohammad Nazeer, who had visited his niece a few days ago – filed a First Incident Report (FIR) to the police, accusing two men of being behind his niece’s murder.
The Lahore native complained that two of Ms Zulfiqar’s friends – named as Zahir Jadoon and Saad Ameer Butt by Dawn.com – had been threatening and harassing her, making her fear for hear life with ‘dire consequences’, according to the report.
The FIR states that the woman’s uncle said he would confront the two friends over their actions, but at around 2pm on Monday he received a phone call from her father in London saying that she had been shot, the outlet reported.
The uncle claims that Ms Zulfiqar was killed by two friends, along with the help of two other unidentified people, in the early hours of Monday morning as part of a plot, according to Independent Urdu.
According to the report, one of the friends of the victim was trying to force her to marry him, but was in competition with another.
The woman was murdered by gunman at a rented home in Pakistan on Monday, it has been reported. Pictured: Mayra Zulfiqar’s rented home in the Defense area of Lahore
Ms Zulfiqar had refused to marry both of them, and her uncle is now seeking legal action against the two he has accused of her killing, the outlet reported.
Mr Nazeer has said he suspects that Mr Jadoon and Mr Butt, along with their two unknown accomplices killed his niece – after intricate planning – at around 4-5am.
According to Dawn.com, under Mr Nazeer’s criminal complaint, a case has been registered against the suspects under Sections 302 and 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code – premeditated murder and common intention respectively.
According to Station House Officer (SHO) Qasim, a police officer involved in the investigation, investigators are looking at whether her death was due to the gunshot wound, or if strangulation was involved as well.
Qasim, who was on the scene and took the body into custody, said: ‘The woman had a bullet wound to the shoulder, but the exact cause of death will be known after her post-mortem and forensic report, whether the death was due to a gunshot wound or whether her throat was strangled.
‘We have launched an investigation into every aspect of the murder. More facts will come to light after the autopsy and forensic report.’
SHO Qasim also confirmed that Mahira’s uncles FIR of the murder of the victim has been registered under Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Mr Sayyed told reporters that Ms Zulfiqar’s friend was living in an adjoining room in the upper part of the house, and that she was assisting police in their investigation.
The officer said that they had been alerted to the apparent murder, and that forensic experts had cordoned off the crime scene.
He added that the woman had been found lying in a pool of blood in her room. A mobile phone was found near her body.
‘We have seized the mobile phone for forensic analysis,’ Sayyed told the local outlet, adding that officers were attempting to find nearby CCTV footage.
The woman’s parents and other family members living abroad have been contacted, Mr Sayyed noted as well.
‘We are also after two suspects and will share further details at a later stage,’ the police said, adding that Ms Zulfiqar’s friend had not shared detail that could help in their investigation.
He added that Ms Zulfiqar’s body had been taken to a morgue for an autopsy, with police saying so far no arrests have been made.
Ms Zulfiqar is understood to have moved to Pakistan from the UK, where she had been working as a paralegal at Duncan Blackett, according to her LinkedIn profile.
She had previously graduated with a Masters of Laws from the University of West London, and also studied for a Bachelor of Laws at Middlesex University, during which she spent time studying in Dubai.
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