‘Support didn’t show up’: Toronto woman’s death comes as support services slashed

The Shahdady family home in Scarborough, where Shaher Bano Shahdady lived in the basement with her husband, Abdul Malik Rustam, before moving out with the couple's two-year-old son. Barely a month later, friends gathered here to offer her parents their condolences on Ms. Shahdady's death.
(Photo by Anna Mehler Paperny, Globe and Mail)

Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2011 – Globe and Mail


After the ceremony, family and friends crowded into the Shahdady family’s Scarborough house, prayed and struggled to talk about anything – anything but the 21-year-old daughter they had just buried in a Pickering cemetery; or her son, the two-year-old who’d spent more than 15 hours in the apartment with her body; or the husband her father had chosen, now charged with killing her.

Abdul Malik Rustam, who she’d sponsored to join her in Canada just months earlier, faces a first-degree murder charge. He appeared briefly by via video feed in a Scarborough courtroom Monday, speaking with counsel through an Urdu translator. He was clean-shaven but for a small moustache and wearing a loose-fitting orange jumpsuit. He’s to appear again Tuesday.

Shaher Bano Shahdady’s death – in the apartment she’d moved into, having left her husband just weeks earlier – rocked the city’s close-knit Balochi community, an ethnic group from Pakistan’s largest province.

But the problem isn’t that cases like this are shockingly rare. It’s that they aren’t.

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