The father of Sarah Inam, a Canadian national who was allegedly murdered by her husband in Islamabad a year ago, on Sunday complained about the delay in legal proceedings in his daughter’s murder case and called for a speedy trial.
The main accused in the case, Sara’s husband and son of renowned journalist Ayaz Amir, Shahnawaz Amir, is in police custody. He was arrested on September 23 last year for allegedly killing his wife at a farmhouse in Islamabad’s Shahzad Town, only a day after her arrival in the country from Dubai where she had been working.
He was initially remanded to police custody a day after his arrest and the period of his physical remand was extended several times. While his father was discharged from the case, Shahnawaz was later sent on a judicial remand.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad today flanked by Shaukat Mukadam, father of slain Noor Mukadam, Inamur Rahim said a year had passed to his daughter’s death.
“It was the most difficult year of my life.”
Talking about the case proceedings, Rahim thanked police personnel for their efforts and support.
However, he blamed the defence counsel for causing delays in proceedings which he said kept witnesses waiting. Rahim recalled that lawyers were often either late to case hearings or did not show up to court at all.
“Now we don’t know if this was a deliberate act or if he [the defence counsel] was so busy that he could not manage his time.”
Rahim reiterated that the defence counsel “always made up some excuse” and was found missing whenever the hearing date arrived, adding that several witnesses came to court to record their testimonies but left without being heard.
He lamented that an “open and shut case” was stretched for an entire year.
Sitting alongside Rahim, Shaukat Mukadam called on the chief justice of Pakistan to take notice of the Sarah Inam murder and other similar cases. He asserted that speedy trials should be conducted and culprits should be given “exemplary punishments”.
“This is a very serious case and such cases of gender-based violence need to be stopped. There is only way … until there is punishment, boys from influential families will think of themselves to be above the law so a message needs to be sent that no one is above the law,” he said.
Shaukat added that the message won’t be sent until “five to six depraved people are hanged”.
He requested that the family in the Sarah Inam murder case be provided justice by all levels of the judicial system.
During the press conference, Shaukat also mentioned the passage of the Noor Mukadam murder trial and broke down into tears while recalling the challenges he faced.
A first information report (FIR) was registered for the murder in September 2022 on the complaint of Shahzad Town Station House Officer (SHO) 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 the police, alleging that Shahnawaz had murdered Sarah in connivance with his parents.
According to the FIR, SHO 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.