Murdered kidnap victim had defied death threats on Pakistan visits (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Murdered kidnap victim had defied death threats on Pakistan visits
Murdered kidnap hero Malik Iqbal defied death threats to return three times to Pakistan in pursuit of justice against his abductors and now his grief-stricken widow has vowed to carry on his fight, it emerged this weekend.
Mr Iqbal was threatened with Murder on two previous visits to court proceedings in Rawalpindi – but courageously still made the final fateful trip which cost him his life.
Tragically, the dad-of-four from Cutler Heights was gunned down by masked assassins before he could testify against a gang accused of chaining him to a bed for 19 days last year – only freeing him in return for a £15,000 ransom.
On Friday morning two men in balaclavas forced their way into a family house where he was staying and shot him in the head in front of female relatives.
Bradford East MP David Ward met Mr Iqbal when he came to him for help after his kidnap ordeal in 2011 and last night paid tribute to his courage.
“This is a truly dreadful thing to have happened to a uniquely brave man,” said Mr Ward, soon after visiting Mr Iqbal’s widow Rukhasana at the Bradford home she shares with their four school-age daughters.
“Rukhasana and the family are still determined that those responsible for the kidnap shall still be brought to account, despite what has happened.
“But now they have to organise Malik’s funeral which will take place here in Bradford.
“They are adamant his body should be brought home and I am helping to make that happen.
“Rukhasana cancelled her plan to fly to Pakistan on Saturday, instead his brother Mohammed is going to bring him back,” Mr Ward said. He then told how Mr Iqbal had continued to pursue justice, despite murderous threats.
“He was threatened with death face-to-face by defendants during two previous visits,” said Mr Ward.
“It was a huge risk and it is testimony to his incredible bravery that he returned again.”
Mr Ward told how he first met Mr Iqbal and helped him begin his campaign for justice.
“When he came to my office his legs were in such a bad state after the kidnapping that he could hardly get up the stairs.
“But he was determined that those responsible should not get away with it,” Mr Ward said.
“The kidnapping was terrible – he didn’t know from minute to minute if he was going to be murdered.
“But he had the courage to get through that and then to carry on.
“He was worried the police in Pakistan would not pursue the case properly.
“There were many delays and this time it was adjourned again before Malik could give evidence,” said Mr Ward.
“It is staggering because 99 out of 100 people would have just put it behind them, but he would not give into the temptation to just right it off as a terrible experience.
“And that, very sadly, cost him his life,” added Mr Ward, who offered his sympathy to the Iqbal family.
“It is an awful thing, but if he had been able to put it behind him, he would be alive now.”
Mr Ward said that as Mr Iqbal’s MP he had made inquiries via the Foreign Office following the kidnap ordeal.
“I spoke to British police and to people in touch with the authorities in Pakistan and was assured the local police would take it seriously, which of course they then did,” said Mr Ward.
The MP said he would continue to support the Iqbal family, not only in the case of the kidnapping, but now in the hunt for the killers of a beloved husband and father.