An Islamabad district and sessions court on Wednesday granted post-arrest bail to Sameena Shah — mother of the main suspect in the Sarah Inam murder case.
Sameena was arrested by the police on October 20 after a judge dismissed her bail. She was initially granted bail on September 26, three days after police arrested Shahnawaz for allegedly killing his Canadian national wife.
The murder allegedly took place at a farmhouse located in the capital’s Shahzad Town area, where Shahnawaz lived along with Sameena.
Police had issued arrest warrants for Shahnawaz’s parents, Sameena and senior journalist Ayaz Amir, a day after his arrest. While Ayaz has been discharged from the case, Sameena had been in police custody until now.
During the hearing today, Sameena’s lawyer argued that she had informed the police about the murder and fully cooperated with the police in the investigation.
He said that his client “did not commit any crime” and the police did not find anything in her possession.
Meanwhile, Rao Abdul Rahim — the defence lawyer — contended that despite being present at the crime scene, Sameena did not inform the police about the murder.
Pakistan’s Constitution orders every citizen to inform the police about a crime, he said, highlighting that the case record showed Sameena knew Sarah was present inside the house at the time of the murder.
“It is known from the record that the victim was kept at the house against her will,” he added.
After listening to arguments from both sides, Additional Session Judge Sheikh Mohammad Sohail approved Sameena’s plea against surety bonds worth Rs1 million.
Sameena’s bail plea
In her petition, Sameena presented her version of the incident, stating that Shahnawaz had left her a WhatsApp message “before the heinous crime”, asking to set up Sarah’s rukhsati by speaking to her father.
“Everything was normal the night before the crime took place,” she said.
Sameena said she retired for the night after receiving the message and was informed about the incident by Shahnawaz, who had called her on her mobile phone at 9:12am the next day.
Thereafter, Sameena rushed to Shahnawaz’s room, the petition said, adding that by the time she reached the room, Sarah had already expired.
“The petitioner asked Shahnawaz to stay in her room and Ayaz (Amir) called the police, and within a few minutes, the police arrived and took custody of Shahnawaz,” the plea read.
Sameena termed the FIR “false and frivolous” and stated that she had no connection with the case or the murder. “But her name is being mentioned by the media that an application has been moved for her arrest,” the petition said.
Adding that Sameena “was not even an eyewitness to the incident”, the plea stated that “her reputable name is being added for no reason but to jeopardise her years [of] reputation, which clearly establishes the mala fide intent and ulterior motives”.
Moreover, the plea mentioned that Sameena was an elderly woman with health issues and said she was willing to furnish sureties against bail, as well as “comply with an investigation that may be conducted by law enforcement agencies”.
Police have become a complainant in the case, with a first information report (FIR) registered for the murder on the complaint of Shahzad Town Station House Officer Nawazish Ali Khan at the Chak Shahzad police station, initially under Section 302 (punishment for murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
Later, police added Section 109 (punishment for abetment if the act abetted is committed in consequence and where no express provision is made for its punishment) of the PPC to the FIR and initiated proceedings against Shahnawaz’s parents, Sameena and senior journalist Ayaz Amir.
The development came after Sarah’s uncle filed an application with police, alleging that Shahnawaz had murdered Sarah in connivance with his parents.
According to the FIR, Shahzad Town police station SHO Sub-Inspector Nawazish Ali Khan was present on Park Road near Chatha Bakhtawar when he got the information about the murder.
The FIR stated that when the police team reached the farmhouse where the murder had taken place, they were received by the mother of the main suspect who told them that her son had “murdered his wife during a scuffle”.
As per the FIR, she informed the police that her son was still present in the house. The police managed to enter the house and detained the suspect, it claimed, adding that the suspect’s hands were “soaked in blood” at the time of the arrest.
During the inquiry, the man identified himself as Shahnawaz Amir and told the police that he had murdered his wife with a dumbbell and hid her body in a bathtub in the bathroom, it claimed.
Police recovered the dead body on his information, the FIR said, adding that a wound was found on the head of the deceased. The police team also recovered the murder weapon from the house which was “hidden under a bed”, it added.
Subsequently, the body was moved to the Poly Clinic for autopsy and the murder weapon and Shahnawaz’s shirt were sent for a forensic audit.