A young British woman who was murdered in Pakistan is said to have only stayed in the country to avoid the huge cost of hotel quarantine in the UK.
Law graduate Mahira Zulfiqar was killed after four men allegedly broke into her home and shot her.
The 26-year-old had attending a friend’s wedding in the country and decided to rent a home in Lahore, Punjab, after the country was put on the coronavirus red list in the UK.
From April most people were banned from arriving in the UK from Pakistan due to rising coronavirus rates in the region, but British nationals could return if they quarantined in a hotel at a cost of £1,750.
A family member told the Daily Mail: ‘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 10 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.”
According to the first incident report filed by Mahira’s uncle – who lives in the area – she had visited him a few days before the incident and had complained that two of her friends were threatening and harassing her.
Police in Lahore are searching for two men after they both had pressured her to marry them.
Her body was found by a cleaner who alerted local police.
Punjab Police superintendent Sidra Khan, citing an initial post-mortem report, told English-language newspaper Dawn that Ms Zulfiquar had two bullet wounds – one to her neck and another to her arm – and had bled to death. Bruises were found on her right hand and left foot.
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A case has been registered against four men – two of whom have been identified as Saad Amir Butt and Zahir Jadoon.
Station House Officer 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.”
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.”
Mr Sayyed said police were also analysing footage from nearby CCTV cameras in the hope of finding suspects.
Ms Zulfiquar’s parents are expected to arrive in Lahore from their home in west London later this week.
The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office said in a statement: “We are supporting the family of a British woman who died in Pakistan and are urgently seeking more information from the local authorities. Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.”