Bradford inquest opens into Pakistan kidnap ordeal hero

Asian Image: Malik Iqbal Malik Iqbal

Relatives of kidnap hero Malik Iqbal yesterday attended the opening of an inquest into his brutal murder in Pakistan.

Bradford dad-of-four Mr Iqbal was killed in Rawalpindi, as he waited to testify against alleged abductors who held him to ransom for 19 days last year.

Coroner Peter Straker heard that pathologists’ reports concluded Mr Iqbal, of Cutler Heights, died from a gunshot wound to the head and that there were no objections to his body being released by the court.

Detective inspector Timothy Hunt, of West Yorkshire Police, said 55-year-old Mr Iqbal’s death on September 28 was being investigated by the Pakistani authorities and details were “sparse to say the least” at this stage.

Rawalpindi police are thought to be hunting the men accused of the kidnapping, who were free on bail at the time of the shooting.

Mr Straker adjourned the inquest until a full picture of events surrounding Mr Iqbal’s death could be obtained.

And he offered some words of sympathy to family members in the court.

“I would like you to know I too feel grief over this,” Mr Straker said.

Mr Iqbal’s funeral was held at the Madni Mosque on Thornbury Street yesterday evening followed by a burial at Scholemoor Cemetery.

His tragic death happened after he bravely defied death threats to return three times to Pakistan in pursuit of justice.

Mr Iqbal was threatened with murder on two previous visits to the court – when proceedings were postponed because lawyers were on strike – but he still made the final fateful trip which cost him his life.

The father of four school-age daughters was gunned down by masked assassins before he could testify against a gang accused of chaining him blindfolded to a bed and only freeing him in return for a £15,000 ransom.

Three men in balaclavas forced their way into a house where he was staying and shot him in the head in front of female relatives.

Bradford East MP David Ward met Mr Iqbal when he came to him for help after his kidnap ordeal in 2011 and paid tribute to his courage.

“This is a truly dreadful thing to have happened to a uniquely brave man,” said Mr Ward, after visiting Mr Iqbal’s widow Rukhasana following the murder. “It was a huge risk and it is testimony to his incredible bravery that he returned again.”

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