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Pakistan arrests man accused of murdering daughter in Italy

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LAHORE, Pakistan — A Pakistani man suspected of killing his 18-year-old daughter in Italy after she allegedly refused an arranged marriage has been arrested and is being questioned by investigators in the capital, Islamabad, a senior police official said Friday.

Shabbir Abbas was arrested in his village in the eastern province of Punjab after a tip-off from Italian authorities and local police, official Anwar Saeed Kingra told The Associated Press.

His daughter, Saman Abbas, was last seen by neighbors in late April near her family’s home in the farming village of Novellara, near the city of Reggio Emilia. A few days later, a video at Milan airport showed her parents, who allegedly pressured her to marry a man she had never met, taking a flight to Pakistan.

Amir Shaheen, another senior Pakistani police detective, said the woman’s father is wanted by Italian police on charges of murdering his daughter.

He declined to share further details and said the suspect was in the custody of the country’s Federal Investigation Agency, which had been approached by Interpol to request the man’s arrest and extradition to Italy in connection with the woman’s murder.

Officials from the agency or Pakistan’s foreign ministry were not immediately available for comment, and it is unclear whether the country has an extradition treaty with Italy. Authorities say Italian police were looking for the man after he fled to Pakistan with his wife, who has yet to be arrested.

Authorities in Italy discovered a body in a shallow grave in an abandoned building near the family home last week. Italian media reported that it could take up to two months to confirm the identity of the remains.

Before her disappearance, the woman told her boyfriend in Italy, who is also of Pakistani descent, that her parents wanted to marry her off to an older man in their home country, but she refused. After going to authorities, the woman was allowed to stay in a shelter but later returned home, reportedly after her family sent her text messages begging her to come back, Italian news reports at the time said.

Italy has already arrested the woman’s uncle following his extradition from France.

Arranged marriages are the norm among many conservative Pakistanis, and hundreds of women are killed each year in so-called honor killings by husbands or relatives as punishment for alleged adultery or other illicit sexual conduct.

Associated Press Writer Barry reported from Milan, Italy.

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