Principal accused, mother indicted in Sarah murder case

Zubair Qureshi

District and Sessions Court of Islamabad on Monday indicted Shahnawaz Amir the main suspect in the Sarah Inam murder case and his mother Sameena Shah and formally started trial proceedings. The court also dismissed co-accused Sameena Shah’s plea seeking to be discharged from the case. Shahnawaz was arrested on September 23 for allegedly killing his Canadian national wife at a farmhouse in Islamabad Shahzad Town, where he lived along with his mother.

His mother was arrested by the police on October 20 after a judge dismissed her bail. Sameena was initially granted bail on September 26, three days after the arrest of her son.

However, later in November, an Islamabad district and sessions court had granted post-arrest bail to Sameena. After the arrest, Shahnawaz was remanded to police custody and the period of his physical remand was extended several times. He was later sent on a judicial remand. Shahnawaz and Sameena were presented in court on Monday amid tight security.

As the proceeding started, Judge Atta Rabbani announced the verdict of dismissing Sameena Shah’s plea which was reserved earlier and summoned the prosecution’s witnesses on December 14. During the hearing on Monday, Sameena’s counsel Nisar Asghar contended that according to the police statement in the challan, Sameena was found present at the crime scene but there was no interference from her.

“If the prosecutor’s case is not against her, she should be discharged from the case,” he argued. “The court has to take the final decision after looking at the challan report.” He also told the court that her client Sameena was the one to hand over her son to the police when they arrived. “This is the only reason stated by the plaintiff,” Asghar said, adding that the police had found no other evidence against Sameena. In September, the police had 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 (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 police, alleging that Shahnawaz had murdered Sarah in connivance with his parents.