Page last updated at 22:41 GMT, Friday, 21 May 2010 23:41 UK

UK family shot dead in eastern Pakistan

Mohammed Yousaf and his daughter Tanya
The family had received threats

Three Britons - all members of the same family - have been shot dead in a marriage dispute in eastern Pakistan, local police have said.

Mohammad Yousaf, 51, his wife Pervez, 49, and daughter Tanya, 23, were killed at a cemetery in a village near Gujrat.

The three, of Nelson, Lancashire, were shot by four gunmen - understood to be related to them - after an argument broke out. Another woman was killed.

One man has been arrested and two other suspects are on the run.

Eyewitness Muhammed Anwar described how two groups of attackers had been waiting for the family - inside and outside the cemetery.

Mr Anwar, a relative of those killed, said the family had just arrived and started praying at a grave when they were attacked and shot at.

They went for a wedding and a holiday and they are now having to bury members of their family
Mohammed Iqbal
Family friend

He said the family had been warned to stay away from the village, because of the tension surrounding marital difficulties between Mr Yousaf's son and a girl, believed to be his cousin, from the village, but nobody had expected such a reaction.

BBC Islamabad correspondent Aleem Maqbool said two of the suspects were believed to be nephews of the murdered couple - who were in Pakistan to attend a wedding.

Police in Pakistan have said the murders were a result of a long-running dispute and, according to our correspondent, are not looking for anybody outside of the family.

Mr Yousaf's son and his wife are reported to have had a "messy divorce".

Tariq Abbas Qureshi, Gujrat police chief, said the killings were premeditated and carried out by heavily armed attackers.

The police chief said one of the suspected attackers was in custody and another was killed at the scene due to what appeared to be friendly fire.

Two others are currently on the run.

Family friend Mohammed Iqbal, who sits on Pendle Borough Council and Lancashire County Council, said: "They went for a wedding and a holiday and they are now having to bury members of their family."

Family member Eileen Ansar: "They were lovely parents, they doted on their children"

He said he had known Mr Yousaf for 20 years, adding that the entire family was "devastated".

And family member Eileen Ansar said what had happened was "an absolute tragedy".

"You could not meet nicer people, they never did harm to anyone. It has destroyed the family," she said.

Ms Ansar said about 70 members of the extended family flew out to Pakistan following news of the deaths.

The BBC's Orla Guerin said the bodies of Mr Yousaf and his wife had been buried side by side after a funeral on Friday. The funeral of their daughter has also taken place.

She said armed gunmen and local police had provided protection inside the cemetery.

A cousin at the grave site told the BBC the family had been threatened by telephone, she added.

About 100 local men also gathered for afternoon worship at the Jamia Masjid Minhaj-Ul-Quran Mosque in Nelson - where Mr Yousaf attended - to say prayers for the family.

Mohammed Iqbal, secretary of the mosque, said "everybody was shocked".

The family's local MP, Andrew Stephenson, read out a statement on the family's behalf, saying they were "devastated".

Map showing Gujrat in Pakistan

It said: "This is a tragedy for the family and they hope the media do not speculate over the possible motives behind this senseless killing."

He said Tanya Yousaf, who was a former employee of Pendle Borough Council, was a "well-known and liked member of the community".

"I have been in contact with Alistair Burt MP, the Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to ensure everything is being done to assist the family at this difficult time.

"We are also working closely with the Pakistani High Commission in London," he added.

Lancashire Police said it was offering help to their relatives in Nelson.

A spokesman said: "The circumstances surrounding the deaths are unclear at this time but police in Lancashire are liaising with the authorities in Pakistan to ascertain exactly what has happened.

"Officers are speaking with family members in Nelson and they are being offered support at this difficult time."

Tributes to Tanya have been left on a Facebook page set up in her memory.

'Ray of sunshine'

One friend, Steph Roden, writes: "It's awful that could happen to anyone. She was so innocent and quiet at school. God bless to all the family xxx."

Another, Lisa Dickens, says: "My thoughts are with the family at this awful time."

Tanya's manager Wendy Smith, at business solutions firm Liberata - where she worked a clerical assistant - said she would be "sadly missed".

"Tanya was a hard-working and conscientious member of the team who was always happy and one of the nicest people we have ever met," she said.

Colin Patten, the council's parks and recreations service manager, said Tanya was "a ray of sunshine" and "everyone's best friend".

The BBC's Orla Guerin said there were 215 killings in Gujrat last year, most of which are thought to have been related to so-called honour.



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