The son of a man who lost eight members of his family in Huddersfield’s worst mass murder case 15 years ago has paid his own moving tribute following his death on Thursday.
Abdul Aziz Chishti, a grandfather and religious teacher who lost eight members of his family in a Birkby house fire, won praise from all sides of the community for his dignified approach to the tragedy following the arson attack.
The 74-year-old, who died in Huddersfield Royal Infirmary on Thursday morning, survived a firebomb attack on Osborne Road in Birkby, which took the lives of his wife, son, daughter and five grand-daughters in May 2002.
His body will be buried in Pakistan alongside family members who died in the fire.
Muhammad Shafique said: “In a world which is sadly sometimes filled with hate, my father inspired many people with hope - firstly as a teacher at school for many years in Pakistan and later as a teacher in various educational institutions and as an imam in a mosque here in the UK.
“In the dark years since the fatal arson attack he provided us and the local community with the strength to cope and a model way to behave which has been in stark contrast to the hate of those who perpetrated evil against us.
“All children are of course terribly sad at the passing of their parents. Ours is compounded by the fact that our beloved dad won’t be around to see the completion of our ongoing campaign for all the perpetrators of the arson attack against our family to be brought to justice.
“But in their memory, we will continue our efforts to bring whatever justice this world can provide.”
Three Huddersfield men were sentenced in 2003 for the fatal house fire. After a trial at Leeds Crown Court, Shaied Iqbal was found guilty of eight murders while Shakiel Shazad and Nazar Hussain were both convicted of eight counts of manslaughter.
However, one of the alleged perpetrators of the attack, Shahid Mohammed skipped bail after being arrested and has still to be brought back to this country to face justice.
In February 2015 West Yorkshire Police confirmed that one of Britain’s most wanted men, Mr Mohammed, had been caught and revealed plans to bring him back to the UK.
He is being held in custody in Pakistan but despite the best efforts of the authorities including persistent lobbying by Barry Sheerman, Huddersfield MP and Labour candidate in next month’s general election, nothing has happened.