David Cameron in fight for justice over Nelson family gunned down in Pakistan (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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David Cameron in fight for justice over Nelson family gunned down in Pakistan
PRIME Minister David Cameron has joined in the fight for justice after the deaths of four East Lancashire people murdered in Pakistan.
He confirmed he was taking a personal interest in the cases of the Yousaf family , three members of whom were shot dead in 2010, and grandmother Fukraz Begum, beaten to death with a blunt instrument earlier this year.
Mr Cameron promised to meet their MP Andrew Stephenson when Parliament reassembles in Autumn to update him on progress after the foreign and commonwealth office stepped up pressure on the Pakistani authorities over the summer.
Mr Stephenson raised the cases with the Prime Minister after repeated efforts to get action through meeting ministers, parliamentary questions and a special debate in the House of Commons.
The Pendle Tory hopes that Mr Cameron’s intervention will bring justice for his constituents and force the Pakistani government to speed up justice when British citizens are killed in their country.
Mohammed Yousaf, 51, his 59-year-old wife Parviaz and 23-year-old daughter Tania of Howgill Close Nelson were shot by a gang of four armed with automatic weapons as they prayed at the grave of a relative in Gujarat.
The suspected cause was a dispute over the collapse of an arranged marriage.
Two men arrested for their murders later went missing while on bail and no-one has yet been tried for the slaughter.
Fukraz Begum, of Every Street, Nelson, was bludgeoned to death while in Gujarat for a family wedding, in April.
Mr Cameron told Mr Stephenson in a letter:”I cannot begin to imagine how difficult this must be for the families of those involved. I would be grateful if you could pass on my heartfelt condolences.
“I fully appreciate that the families will want to see the people responsible for these crimes brought to justice. This is the least they deserve and I can understand their frustrations with the slow pace of investigations.”
Mr Cameron said that Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt met the Pakistani High Commissioner in London last month to raise the cases and the wider issue of the safety of British nationals in Pakistan.
UK diplomats in its capital Islamabad have been closely following them and are ready to make representations to the authorities there if the investigation is not carried out in accordance with local laws.
He wrote: “We do request regular updates from the local authorities in Pakistan. Mr Burt subsequently wrote to the High Commissioner and asked for further details which I would be happy to share with you once we receive them.”
Mr Stephenson said: “I am delighted that the Prime Minister is taking an active interest in these murders and I look forward to meeting with him to discuss this further. While it is up to the Pakistani authorities to bring the killers to justice, I am pleased that British ministers continue to raise these cases at the highest level.
“The government cannot go higher than the Prime Minister personally intervening. Hopefully this will bring justice for the Yousafs and Fukraz Begum’s family closer and also ensure that other British citizens who suffer tragic losses in Pakistan do not have to go through the same prolonged ordeal.”
Pendle councillor Eileen Ansar, a relative of the Yousafs and friend of Fukraz Begum’s family, said: “I think it is great that the Prime Minister has personally intervened in these cases and that they have gone to the very top of government.
“Hopefully this bring justice a step closer for the families and will ensure that British citizens who a victims of crime in Pakistan get simpler and speedier justice in the future.”
Fellow Pendle Labour councillor Mohammed Iqbal, a friend of both families, said: “I welcome the Prime Minister’s personal intervention and hope this brings justice for the families and the victims of these awful crimes closer.”
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