Mayra Zulfiquar: British law graduate 'may have been killed by hitman'

British woman murdered in Pakistan ‘may have been killed by a HIRED gunman’ as police continue to hunt for second suspect

  • Mayra Zulfiquar, 24, was found shot dead in Lahore on May 3 after allegedly getting caught in a love rivalry between locals Zahir Jadoon and Saad Butt
  • But police say neither man was at the scene of the crime and are now probing the theory that a hired gun was responsible for her murder
  • They say Butt, who has turned himself in, was captured at home on CCTV – and that Jadoon, who they want to question, was 170 miles away in Islamabad 
  • Friends of both Butt and Jadoon say they are part of a ‘psychotic’ friend circle involved in ‘guns and drugs’ but are never prosecuted due to their connections 

Police investigating the murder of a British law graduate in Pakistan believe she may have been killed by a hitman after uncovering alibis for the two main suspects.  

Mayra Zulfiquar, 24, was found dead from bullet wounds to her neck and shoulder in Lahore on May 3, with suspicion falling on Zahir Jadoon and Saad Butt, 28 – friends-turned-love-rivals who had allegedly both proposed to Ms Zulfiquar.

Butt has since been arrested after turning himself over to police, but officers now say he has an alibi because he was captured at his home on CCTV at the time Ms Zulfiquar’s murder took place.

While investigators are still seeking to question Jadoon, they believe he was in Islamabad, some 170 miles to the south of Lahore, on the day of the murder. 

Mayra Zulfiquar, 24 a British law graduate, was shot dead in Pakistan on May 3 and police now believe she may have been killed by a hitman

‘It’s a cold-blooded murder but neither of the accused were present at the crime scene,’ a police source told The Times.

Investigators are instead thought to be looking at the theory that a hired gun killed Ms Zulfiquar, who had previously told police that Jadoon threatened to kill her and Butt had threatened to rape her.

Meanwhile two female friends of Jadoon and Butt alleged their group is ‘psychotic’ – connected to ‘guns, drugs, alcohol’ and virtually immune from prosecution because they are the children of politicians, business tycoons and army generals.

It is thought that Ms Zulfiquar was introduced to the group while visiting Pakistan for a wedding two months before she died, and their wild lifestyle may have played a role in convincing her to stay in the country.

Zahir Jadoon, one of the two main suspects, shows off with an AK-47 in a Facebook photo as friends allege he is involved with a ‘psychotic’ group of people

But one female friend told The Times that women who are ensnared by the group are routinely exposed to violence, saying a friend of hers escaped threats by Jadoon after rejecting his advances.

A second alleged that one male member of the group had fired bullets at another’s house after finding out that he was dating his ex-girlfriend.

They say it is unlikely that both Butt and Jadoon had proposed to Ms Zulfiquar, as was previously reported, and said it is more likely that ‘they just wanted her [sexually].’ 

Jadoon’s Facebook profile gives a glimpse into his world, and shows him posing with expensive watches, cars, a horse, and an AK-47 assault rifle. 

Police have previously revealed Jadoon was in a relationship with Ms Zulfiquar and had rented the house where she was killed so that they could spend time there away from her family. 

Jadoon is reported to have been staying at the upper portion of the house, which was reportedly adjacent to Mahira’s room, although an initial probe found he had not spent time with her during her time in Pakistan. 

Superintendent Sayyed Ali of Punjab police, who is responsible for Lahore’s up-market Defence district of Lahore where the house is located told MailOnline: ‘From our initial enquiries Butt was romantically interested in Mayra even though she was involved with Zahir. 

‘He had rented a house so that they could spend time together and, in the weeks, leading up to the murder, were seen frequently with each other going out and about.’

Referring to Butt, Superintendent Ali added: ‘Police have had previous dealings with him in the past and we are looking for him all over Lahore and across the rest of Pakistan because he could be anywhere.’

‘But it is a mystery to us why Zahir has also absconded and we are also looking for him because he will be able to provide us with a lot of information as to what actually happened. 

‘If he is innocent, then we don’t understand why he has gone missing. But I can promise you, we will find both men.’

Mayra had been in Pakistan for just two months before she died. She had gone out for a cousin’s wedding but decided to stay after the country was placed on the UK’s Covid travel red list, a family member told Mail Online. 

Police said they have opened a first information report (FIR) on the case after receiving a complaint from Ms Zulfiquar’s uncle, Lahore resident Mohammad Nazeer.

The FIR said Mr Nazeer was aware of two men who had been acting aggressively towards Mayra and threatened her with ‘dire consequences’ if she refused them, and had vowed to speak with the pair.

But on Monday he got a call from Mayra’s father in London to say she had been shot to death.

Police were informed of the attack by an anonymous tipster and rushed round to the apartment to find Mayra in a pool of blood.

It is thought they then informed Mayra’s father, who made the call to her uncle.  

Mayra’s parents are thought to have flown from London to Lahore today to attend her funeral service which was held within 24 hours of her death in keeping with Islamic tradition, Sky News reports.

Ziaur Rehman, who runs a market stall in Feltham, told the site: ‘Her father called me on Monday and asked me to come to his house.

‘He was crying, I sensed there was something wrong, then I went there and the news was shocking.

‘Her mother she is really struggling now, she is not well at all.’

Sayyed Ali, an operations superintendent at Punjab Police, told Pakistani newspaper Dawn that Mayra had been found in a pool of blood of the floor of her bedroom, with her mobile phone near her body.

‘We are also after two suspects and will share further details at a later stage,’ Mr Sayyed added. ‘We have seized the mobile phone for forensic analysis.’

Mr Sayyed also said police are analysing footage from nearby CCTV cameras in the hope of finding suspects.

Another senior police source told the BBC that addresses in Islamabad and Lahore are being targeted in raids. 

Ms Zulfiquar’s parents are expected to arrive in Lahore from their home in London later this week.  

Zahir Jadoon, had rented the house (above) where Ms Zulfiquar was killed so they could spend time there away from her family, police confirmed to MailOnline

In a statement, Duncan Blackett Law said Ms Zulfiqar had been briefly enrolled on its legal mentorship programme before it was postponed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and she was an ‘excellent mentee who demonstrated a keen interest in commercial law’.

Gracie Duncan, of Duncan Blackett Law, told the Daily Mail: ‘She was a lovely girl, very quietly spoken, very keen to learn and to get into the profession. I am very shocked to learn what has happened to her.’

The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office said in a statement: ‘We are supporting the family of a British woman who died in Pakistan and are urgently seeking more information from the local authorities. 

‘Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.’

Dawn reported Ms Zulfiquar had dual British-Belgian citizenship.

According to a family source who spoke to Mail Online, Mayra had decided to stay in the country after Pakistan was placed on the UK’s Covid red list of countries – meaning she would have to pay £1,750 for a stay in a quarantine hotel on her return. 

Mayra had allegedly complained to relatives about the cost of the ten-day quarantine, saying she preferred to sit it out in Pakistan in the hope that it would be removed from the red list next month.

A family source said: ‘She didn’t want to come back and pay all that money to quarantine in Britain so decided to stay in Lahore, where she was living with her grandmother.

‘She was angry that it was too much money for ten days in a grotty hotel. Instead, she thought she’d have more fun in Lahore and was having a lovely time after making a new group of friends.’

The family source also revealed that Mayra had made three complaints to local police about being harassed by Saad Ameer Butt, one of two men who have been arrested.

The source added: ‘A local gangster who is closely connected to the police in Lahore took a shine to her but despite reporting him for harassment, they did nothing. The police are very corrupt over there and don’t take crimes against women seriously.’

Her murder is believed to have taken place in a house rented by one of her friends in the Defence area shortly after 4am. 

Ms Zulfiqar (pictured) is understood to have gone to Pakistan around two months ago to attend a cousin’s wedding, but chose to stay in the country afterwards

Devout Muslim Mayra had just shared a meal with her pals before starting their Ramadan fast for the day.

Neighbours reported hearing screaming and at least two-gun shots before police arrived to find Mayra’s body in an upstairs bedroom, which had also been trashed. 

Mayra had ambitions to be a lawyer and start her own law firm. Prior to travelling to Pakistan for the wedding, she did an internship with a legal company in Dubai.

Her mother and father, Muhammad flew to Pakistan on Tuesday morning just hours after finding out about Mayra’s death. They have three other sons who have remained at the family home and are being consoled by friends and relatives.

The family source said: ‘As you can imagine, the family is devastated. Mayra was a beautiful, fun, intelligent girl and a dutiful daughter and sister.

‘The parents had to go to Pakistan to make sure that the police find her killer because they felt helpless sitting in London while waiting for news.’

The brother of Ms Zulfiqar has announced that he is holding a fundraiser for his sister following her murder in Pakistan.

Faizan Muhammad said he feels ‘obligated’ to do so, with the fundraiser considered a Sadaqah Jariyah – defined as a charitable gift that benefits both the giver and receiver.  

‘I don’t usually like doing this but I feel obligated to do it right now,’ said Faizan Muhammad. We need justice for my beloved sister Mayra Zulfiqar who died abroad in Pakistan Lahore on Monday 3rd of May (May Allah grant her shahada).

‘My only sister was taken away from us at only the age of 24 years old. She still had the rest of her life to live, see the world and had big plans and dreams for her future.

‘It may seem like a lot but every little helps, even if you can donate just £1.00 in shaa Allah!’

Referencing Ramadan, which is set to end on 12 May, he added: ‘I request that you make special Dua magafrat for my Mayra and that Allah grants me and my family sabr and strength.

‘May Allah accept all your duas especially in the last 10 days of Ramadan.’

Mahira was murdered at her rented house in Lahore’s Defence Housing colony of Punjab province, where she was staying with her friend, Iqra.

Iqra has shared a heartfelt message with a Jam Press reporter on the ground: ‘She was full of life and being honest with her friends.

‘Indeed, a helpful girl in many ways. We’re broken to lose her too early.’  

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