Monday Dec 05 2022

Islamabad court indicts Shahnawaz Amir, Sameena Shah in Sarah Inam murder case

Shahnawaz Amir (L) and Sarah Inam (R). Photo: Twitter/file
Shahnawaz Amir (L) and Sarah Inam (R). Photo: Twitter/file

  • Shahnawaz Amir and Sameena Shah have pleaded not guilty to crime. 
  • Court asks prosecution to summon witnesses on Dec 14.
  • Indictment issued after Sameena Shah's plea seeking dismissal from case was rejected.

ISLAMABAD: A district and sessions court in Islamabad Monday indicted Shahnawaz Amir, the main accused, and his mother Sameena Shah in the Sarah Inam Murder case.

The indictment order was issued by judge Atta Rabbani after he dismissed Sameena’s application seeking to be discharged from the case. The judge had earlier today reserved the verdict on her plea.

Both the accused have pleaded not guilty to the crime, while the court has asked the prosecution to summon the witnesses on December 14.

Shahnawaz’s mother files plea to get discharged from case

When the court took up the case today, it heard Shah’s application requesting it to discharge her from the murder case.

Sameena Shah’s lawyer, Nasir Asghar, told the court that the police wrote in its challan that his client was found at the crime scene but did not mention her involvement.

“When the prosecution’s case is not against her then she should be discharged from the case,” Asghar told the court. He added that the court will have to make its final opinion after looking at the challan.

Shah’s lawyer also told the court that when the police arrived at the crime scene she handed her son to the law enforcement agency.

“The only reason given is that the plaintiff is insisting [on adding her name],” said the lawyer. He added that apart from this there was nothing against his client.

At this point, the court adjourned the hearing after the lawyer of Inam ur Rehman, Sarah’s father, could not reach the court.

Once the lawyer arrived, the hearing was resumed.

The lawyer told the court that they agree that when Sarah came to the farmhouse the three of them — the victim and both accused — had dinner together in the evening. He added that it was also mentioned in the police record that Sarah came there after the divorce.

“What happened when these three people sat together that evening?” asked the lawyer. He added that the divorce between the couple happened two days before the murder and the CCTV cameras also stopped working the same day.

The lawyer also told the court that Shah’s counsel had said that the murder happened at 9:00am but the postmortem was suggesting something else.

“According to their information, even if the incident happened at 9:00am, the post-mortem is telling something else,” the lawyer contended.

The DVR has been seized by the police and sent for forensics, the lawyer said. He added that in the investigation it was found that Ayaz Amir, who was discharged, reported the crime to the police.

Who was Sarah Inam?

Sarah Inam, 37, was a Canadian national and a successful economist who worked with Deloitte and USAID at different points of her career. She was married to Shahnawaz for just three months before being murdered.

She had a masters degree from the University of Waterloo and was currently employed in the government sector in the United Arab Emirates, as per friends and family.

Sarah is survived by her father, mother and two elder brothers.

The case

After the incident on September 23, Shahnawaz was detained by the police from a farmhouse in Islamabad's Chak Shahzad area for being a suspect in his wife's murder and later confessed to killing her, saying he "thought" his spouse was having an affair. The couple was married for just three months.

Next day, a trial court approved the arrest warrants of Ayaz Amir and his former wife Sameena Shah, as the two were nominated as suspects by Sarah's family. Amir was arrested while his former wife later acquired pre-arrest bail.

In the police report registered following the murder, an additional clause of Section 109 (punishment for abetment) of the Pakistan Penal Code was added at the request of Sarah's uncles — Colonel (retd) Ikram and Zia-ur-Rahim — who have blamed Ayaz Amir and his former wife for their niece's murder.

The petitioners maintained that Sameena was living at the farmhouse where Sarah was murdered.

However, during a hearing on September 27, an Islamabad court discharged Ayaz Amir from the case citing "no evidence" against him in Sarah's murder.