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Murder probe launched after London woman found dead in Lahore, Pakistan
5 May 2021, 19:45 | Updated: 5 May 2021, 19:47
A murder probe has been launched after a woman from London was found dead in Pakistan having reportedly refused the marriage proposals of two men.
Mayra Zulfiquar, a 24-year-old law graduate of Belgian origin, travelled to Lahore from the UK two months ago for a wedding, according to the English-language Pakistani newspaper Dawn.
On Monday, she was found dead in her rented flat after four men, including the two main suspects, were believed to have broken in.
Following an initial post-mortem, Punjab Police superintendent Sidra Khan told the paper that the 24-year-old had one bullet wound to her neck and another to her arm. Bruises were also found on her right hand and left foot.
A first information report (FIR) has since been opened after the police received a complaint from Ms Zulfiquar's uncle, Mohammad Nazeer, who lives in the city.
It said Mr Nazeer found his niece's body after receiving a phone call from her father in London to say she had been killed.
He also said the victim had informed him that she had become embroiled in a dispute with two male friends after she had refused their marriage proposals, adding that they had threatened her with "dire consequences".
Sayyed Ali, an operations superintendent at Punjab Police, told Dawn an unidentified caller had alerted the force about the murder and that forensic experts visited and cordoned off the scene.
"We are also after two suspects and will share further details at a later stage," Mr Sayyed said, adding Ms Zulfiquar had been found lying in a pool of blood in her room with her mobile phone near her body.
"We have seized the mobile phone for forensic analysis."
Police were also analysing footage from nearby CCTV cameras in the hope of finding suspects, Mr Sayyed said.
Ms Zulfiquar's parents are expected to fly to Lahore from their west London home later this week.
Mayra Zulfiquar, a UK resident of Pakistani origin, found dead in Lahore 'after refusing to marry a man' https://t.co/DIvvBA5gq4— Jess Phillips MP (@jessphillips) May 5, 2021
In a statement, Duncan Blackett Law said Ms Zulfiqar had been briefly enrolled on its legal mentorship programme before it was postponed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and she was an "excellent mentee who demonstrated a keen interest in commercial law".
Gracie Duncan, of Duncan Blackett Law, told the Daily Mail: "She was a lovely girl, very quietly spoken, very keen to learn and to get into the profession.
"I am very shocked to learn what has happened to her."
Dawn reported Ms Zulfiquar had dual British-Belgian citizenship but the Foreign Office (FCDO) later confirmed that, while she was a UK resident, she was a Belgian national.
The FCDO said officials had been supporting her relatives, who had been referred to Belgian consular services, and added that "our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time".