Pakistan police arrest ex-minister in suspected murder of Canadian woman

Authorities arrested a former Cabinet minister Friday in connection with the suspected murder of a Canadian woman at their shared home in the Pakistani capital.

Detectives have been investigating Shahid Jamil Qureshi since he took the body of Kafila Siddiqui, a Canadian citizen of Pakistani origin, to an Islamabad hospital on June 9.

Qureshi, who resigned as minister of state for communications three days later, has denied any wrongdoing and had remained free on bail.

However, a judge on Friday granted a police request for his official arrest after detectives told a court they believed Siddiqui was murdered, said Ghulam Mohammed Baqir, a senior police official involved in the case.

Qureshi was led away in handcuffs for further questioning, Baqir said.

Pakistani newspapers have reported that relatives of Sidiqqui, a resident of the Toronto area, have accused Qureshi of holding her against her will at the house and said they feared he was responsible for her death.

Canadian authorities had earlier asked Pakistani officials about the family's concern for her well-being.

Qureshi has said he believes the woman died of natural causes and that her family's allegations were "baseless."

Officials said an initial examination of the body found no suspicious marks. Investigators are awaiting the results of other forensic tests.