The grieving family of murdered kidnap hero Malik Iqbal hope his body may be flown back for a Bradford funeral before the weekend, it emerged last night.
Mr Iqbal, 55, was shot by masked gunmen in Pakistan as he bravely waited to give evidence against a gang who allegedly kidnapped him a year ago.
His brother Mohammed flew to Rawalpindi on Saturday and has been helped by British Consulate staff and local authorities to complete the paperwork and bring Mr Iqbal home to his wife Rukhasana and four daughters.
Family friend and former Bradford Lib Dem Councillor Riaz Ahmed said the shock of Mr Iqbal’s murder had hit the Cutler Heights family very hard.
“When it happened they were keen for people to know the truth, but they are now coming to terms with the terrible reality,” Mr Ahmed said.
And he urged Bradford people who suffered any crime while in Pakistan to always report it on their return.
“I know of several kidnap cases where people simply haven’t bothered to tell police over there because they think nothing will be done. They’d rather just put it down to a bad holiday experience.
“They treat it as a bad dream, but the only way things will get better over there is if people use the infrastructure here in Britain,” Mr Ahmed said.
Kidnapping is so rife across Pakistan that the Foreign Office’s advice to travellers is to avoid most of the country.
On its website it states: “You should be alert to the threat of kidnapping throughout Pakistan. British nationals of Pakistani origin are at particular risk of kidnap for ransom.
“A British national kidnapped in Quetta on 5 January 2012 was murdered by his kidnappers in late April 2012.
“Other recent cases include an American citizen kidnapped in the city of Lahore in August 2011 who remains captive and two Swiss nationals kidnapped in south-western Baluchistan in July 2011 who were subsequently released.
“A British-Pakistani boy was kidnapped in Jhelum, Punjab, in March 2010 and also released as was a British-Pakistani journalist kidnapped in South Waziristan in April 2010.”
And it warns starkly not to to hope for cash help from the Consulate: “The long-standing policy of the British Government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers.
“The British Government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage taking.”
Some 270,000 Britons visited Pakistan between April 2011 and 2012 resulting in 19 deaths, six hospitalisations and 25 arrests.
Bradford East MP David Ward knew Mr Iqbal well and urged people to be aware of the high risks involved in making any trip to Pakistan.
He said: “Two of my constituents have been murdered there in the last 12 months. It is just so dangerous.
“I’d just urge people who have to go to be extremely careful.”
West Yorkshire Police are giving all the help they can to the widow of Mr Iqbal. A spokesman said: “A trained liaison officer has been appointed to help support the family during this difficult and upsetting time.
“We have consulted HM Coroner with regard to the death of Mr Iqbal, we are in contact with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and will provide support to them and to the Pakistani authorities if requested.”