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Murder of Pakistani woman shocks Italy

August 17, 2006

ROME, Aug 16: The killing in Italy of a young Pakistani woman by her own family has shocked Italians and prompted a discussion about integration, just as the government pushes through legislation making it easier for immigrants to obtain citizenship.

The stabbed body of 21-year-old Hina Saleem, whose boyfriend — a 33-year-old divorced and re-married Italian — raised the alarm to police about her disappearance, was discovered on Saturday buried in the garden of the family home at Sarezzo, near the north-eastern city of Brescia.

The killing was “a kind of punishment inflicted by her father because she did not respect the rules of their ethnicity and culture,” Brescia prosecutor Giancarlo Tarquini said at a news conference.

The father and brother-in-law of the young woman were charged with murder and concealing the body, while a third male family member was still being hunted by police on Wednesday.

Investigators are trying to determine whether the murder was premeditated, a hypothesis supported by the fact that the women and children of the family appeared to have been removed from the house before the murder.

The father told police that he killed his daughter because he did not want her to “become like the others.”

He has remained silent since then and his lawyer has described him as an extremely pious man “who respected the Quran to the letter”.

“Hina was very beautiful. She used to wear mini-skirts or show her belly button like all girls of her age, and she spoke Italian very well,” a woman living next door to the flat the young woman shared with her boyfriend told news agency ANSA.

A spokesman for the Brescia Pakistani community, Mohammed Tofi, condemned the murder.—AFP