Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

MPs' 'horror' at killing of family

Tania Yousaf and her father Mohammed were gunned down in a graveyard in Pakistan alongside her mother Pervaz

The killing of a British mother gunned down as she was forced to beg for her life in a phone call to her husband has been branded a "horrific crime" by MPs.

Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt said there could be no "cultural or traditional justification" for the shooting of Tania Yousaf, 22, and her parents Mohammed, 51, and Pervaz, 49, in May as they prayed at the graveside of a relative in Pakistan.

He was speaking during a House of Commons debate late on Tuesday night which heard gruesome details about the death of Tania, a mother of two, and her parents, who were all from Nelson, Lancashire.

She was shot in the legs but managed to run for cover as the trio were ambushed by a gang of up to eight men brandishing machine guns. They tracked her down after killing Mr and Mrs Yousaf and then pulled out a mobile phone and ordered Tania to speak to her husband. He then heard her being shot dead over the phone.

During the debate Andrew Stephenson, Conservative MP for Pendle, said: "The call connected but before Tania could explain to her husband what was happening she was killed with him still listening on the line. To further illustrate the sheer brutality of these murders, I can for the first time, with the permission of the Yousaf family, reveal that at Tania's post-mortem, more than 100 bullets were removed from her body."

Upon hearing the revelation, Mr Burt said: "The description of the scale of the brutality leaves one wondering how anyone who calls himself a man could machine gun a woman to death in such circumstances. There is no cultural or traditional justification for killings of this sort."

Mr Burt offered his "heartfelt condolences" to Yousaf family members and their supporters, dozens of whom packed the public gallery in the Commons.

He said Foreign Office officials had sought "regular updates" on the progress of the investigation into the killings but could not demand a joint investigation with British police, nor could they interfere in the judicial process.

But he said: "We will continue to do all we can to ensure that the most important outcome of this case, that is justice for the family, justice for those that have been killed is eventually done."

Mr Stephenson had sought the debate to highlight the case of the Yousaf family who are demanding justice over the killings which took place days after they travelled to the Gujrat district of north-east Pakistan for the wedding of Tania's brother Asad.

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