Pakistan With Help From Interpol Arrest A Pakistani Woman Convicted Of Murder In Italy, Police Say

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani police working closely with Interpol have raided a home in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir and arrested a Pakistani woman convicted in Italy of killing her daughter, officials said Friday.

Nazia Shaheen was arrested in a village in Pakistan-administered Kashmir on Thursday and was presented before a judge in Islamabad on Friday, officials at the Federal Investigation Agency and the police said.

Islamabad police confirmed the arrest, and other Pakistani officials said that Interpol helped police in tracing the woman.

Officials say Pakistan's government will soon start the process to extradite her to Italy, where a court last year convicted Shaheen, her husband and an uncle of murdering Saman Abbas, an 18-year-Pakistani woman.

The woman was killed after she refused her family’s demands to marry a cousin in their homeland.

Arranged marriages are the norm among many conservative Pakistanis, and hundreds of women are killed every year in so-called honor killings carried out by husbands or relatives as a punishment for alleged adultery or other illicit sexual behavior.

Abbas’ body was dug up in November 2022 in an abandoned farmhouse near the fields where her father worked in northern Italy — a year and a half after she was last seen alive on surveillance video walking near the same fields with her parents. Italian police had said she was was killed by her family on May 1, 2021.

Her parents flew from Milan to Pakistan after the murder.

Since then, Pakistani police had been trying to trace Shaheen, whose husband Shabbar Abbas was arrested in Pakistan in 2022. He was later extradited to Italy, where a court convicted and sentenced him to life in prison in 2023.

Shaheen was tried in absentia and sentenced to life in prison.

Abbas' uncle, Danish Hasnain, was handed a 14-year prison term by a court in Reggio Emilia.

Italy has already concluded that Abbas' two cousins weren't guilty of killing her and the were released from jail. The slain woman's father, who was extradited from Pakistan in August, professed his innocence during a tearful statement to the court before deliberations.

The trial was the most high-profile of several criminal investigations in Italy in recent years dealing with the slaying or mistreatment of immigrant women or girls who rebelled against family insistence that they marry someone chosen for them.

After the murder of Abbas, an autopsy revealed that the young woman had a broken neck bone, possibly caused by strangulation. She had emigrated as a teenager from Pakistan to a farm town, Novellara, in Italy’s northern region of Emilia-Romagna.

Authorities in Italy have said she quickly embraced Western ways, including shedding her headscarf and dating a young man of her choice. In one social media post, she and her Pakistani boyfriend were shown kissing on a street in the regional capital, Bologna.

According to Italian investigators, that kiss enraged Abbas’ parents, who wanted her to marry a cousin in Pakistan. Abbas had reportedly told her boyfriend that she feared for her life, because of her refusal to marry an older man in her homeland.