ISLAMABAD: The trial in the Sarah Inam murder case kicked off on Monday after a district and sessions court in Islamabad indicted prime suspect Shahnawaz Amir and his mother Sameena Shah.
Sameena's son, Shahnawaz Amir, allegedly killed his wife Sarah at home after a row over a "family issue" on September 23. He 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.
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.
The indictment was issued by sessions court judge Atta Rabbani while dismissing Sameena’s plea requesting the court to discharge her from the case. The verdict on the plea was reserved earlier in the day after arguments.
Sameena had sought dismissal of the charges in the case, before her indictment.
At the outset of the hearing of her plea, Sameena appeared before the court along with her lawyer.
The 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 than she should be discharged from the case,” Asghar told the court. He added that the court will have to give its final opinion after looking at the challan report.
Sameena’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 for a break after the lawyer of the plaintiff could not reach the court.
The hearing was resumed after the lawyer reached the court. He 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 Sameena'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.
Meanwhile, both the accused pleaded not guilty to the crime, after which the court asked the prosecution to summon the witnesses on December 14.
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.
An FIR mentioned that the suspect's mother, Sameena, called the police on Friday (September 23) to inform them that her son, Shahnawaz, had killed his wife with a dumbbell.
According to the FIR, Sameena told the police that her son was in the house and had hidden the body of his wife. Following this, the police raided the house.
In the complaint, the police said that Shahnawaz had locked himself inside his room and when the personnel broke inside, there were blood spots on his hands and clothes.
Once the police got hold of Shahnawaz, he, according to the FIR, confessed to hitting his wife repeatedly with a dumbbell during an argument and then later hiding the Canadian national's body in the bathtub.
The "murder weapon", the FIR quoted Shahnawaz as saying, was hidden under his bed.
It may be noted that Shahnawaz's father was also discharged from the case