Sessions Judge Nasir Javaid Rana also imposes a penalty of Rs1 million on the convict

  • Court acquits co-accused Sameena Shah on lack of evidence.
  • Also imposes penalty of Rs1 million on Shahnawaz Amir. 
  • Sarah Inam was murdered by her husband on Sept 2022.



ISLAMABAD: A district and sessions court in Islamabad on Thursday sentenced accused Shahnawaz Amir to death and imposed a penalty of Rs1 million in Sarah Inam’s murder case.

Sessions Judge Nasir Javaid Rana delivered the verdict which was reserved last week on December 9.

However, the court acquitted the Shahnawaz’s mother, Samina Shah, due to lack of evidence. She was indicted in December last year by the sessions court and was named co-accused in the case.

The proceedings of the case lasted for more than a year and three different judges conducted the hearings. Additional Sessions Judge Islamabad Muhammad Atta Rabbani and Azam Khan also heard the murder case.

Sarah, a 37-year-old economist, was allegedly murdered with dumbbells by her husband Shahnawaz Amir, who is the son of journalist Ayaz Amir, in Islamabad’s Chak Shahzad area on September 23, 2022.

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.

The 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 and his former wife for their daughter-in-law’s murder.

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

However, during a hearing on September 27, 2022, an Islamabad court discharged Ayaz Amir from the case citing “no evidence” against him in Sarah’s murder.

On February 6, 2023, Shahnawaz was indicted in the case involving the possession of a Kalashnikov firearm that was obtained illegally and he pleaded not guilty to the charge.

However, on November 27, 2023, the court granted the benefit of the doubt to Shahnawaz and acquitted him in the case. The court highlighted the prosecution’s failure to prove its charges against the accused, terming its evidence “doubtful”.

It should be noted that the police had registered a separate case related to the recovery of a Kalashnikov from the suspect.

Last month in October, the prime suspect rejected all evidence submitted by the prosecution against him, terming it “baseless”.

Who was Sarah Inam?

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

She had a master’s degree from the University of Waterloo and was currently employed in the government sector in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as per friends and family.

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

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