Kashmir murder spotlights polygamy among British Pakistanis

Kashmir murder spotlights polygamy among British Pakistanis
Shakeel Hussain, eldest son of Jumma Khan, prays at the grave of his father in Mirpur. Pakistani police are investigating whether a jealous wife ordered the recent murder of an elderly British man in Kashmir, in a case that spotlights polygamy among dual nationals in the region.

MIRPUR - Pakistani police are investigating whether a jealous wife ordered the recent murder of an elderly British man in Kashmir, in a case that spotlights polygamy among dual nationals in the region.

Jumma Khan, 70, was shot on the doorstep of his home in Mirpur, in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, the ancestral hometown of much of Britain's large Pakistani community.

Khan's family claim the second of his three wives -- who was in England at the time -- arranged the October hit.

Senior police official Raja Azhar Iqbal told AFP that Khan's eldest son from his marriage to his second wife, as well as two of the wife's brothers, have been arrested and bailed in connection with the killing.

"We are investigating the case on two aspects, property and love jealousy," Iqbal said.

"We have not reached any firm conclusions but it is likely that his third marriage could be the reason for his death."

- Weddings, rivalries -

Khan's matrimonial career began when he married his cousin Fatima Bibi in 1963, fathering six children, who live in Britain. In 1981 he divorced her and married Zubaida Bibi, having four more children with her.

Then, in May, he took another wife -- Asia Bibi, 40, from the garrison city of Rawalpindi. It was at this point friends say Khan began to fear for his safety.

Neighbours say Khan, who lived in the northern town of Wakefield in Britain, used to go to mosque for prayers five times a day when he was in Kashmir, but after his latest marriage was rarely seen outdoors.

His younger brother Haji Mohammad Ilyas, who arrived in Kashmir from Britain after the murder, said Khan was a pious man with no obvious enemies in Pakistan.

"When he returned to Britain after his third marriage, his relations with his second wife worsened. He quit his house in the UK and started living with a friend," he told AFP.

Shakeel Hussain Jumma, 40, Khan's son from his first marriage, said his father had developed "serious differences" with his second wife.

"During a family function in Britain, people heard his second wife making veiled threats to him," Jumma said.

Mohammad Imran, the eldest son from Khan's second marriage who has been bailed over the murder, vehemently denied his side of the family had anything to do with the killing.

"We are innocent. We are not involved in the murder of our father," the 28-year-old told AFP.

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