Friends of Sarah Inam say 'justice served' after husband sentenced to death in Pakistan

Court found Shahnawaz Amir guilty of her murder

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Friends of a UAE resident who was killed by her husband in Pakistan say “justice has been served” after he was sentenced to death by a court in Islamabad on Thursday.

Sarah Inam, 38, a Pakistani-Canadian who lived in the Emirates for 14 years, travelled last year to Islamabad to see her husband, who police named as Shahnawaz Amir.

She was murdered on September 23, with the police's first information report stating that officers were met by Amir's mother at the farmhouse in Shahzad Town.

She said he killed his wife “during a scuffle” while the report also noted that Amir's hands were stained with blood at the time of his arrest.

A trial court in Islamabad has now sentenced Amir to death and imposed a penalty of Rs1 million (Dh13,085) that will be paid to Ms Inam's family.

Ms Inam's friends say they feel relieved over the judge's decision.

“I’m relieved that, after a drawn-out trial, a guilty verdict has been brought against Shahnawaz and that he has been punished to the full extent of the law in Pakistan,” Steven Nash, who worked with Ms Inam at Deloitte in the UAE between 2011 and 2014, told The National.

“While it will not bring back Sarah, it provides a small comfort to know justice has been served and that Shahnawaz can bring no harm to anyone else.

“More than that, I hope it continues to bring greater awareness to the prevalence of spousal murder, not just in Pakistan but around the world.”

Ms Inam was born in Libya and went to school in Libya, Islamabad and Canada, before attending the University of Waterloo in Canada where she graduated with a master’s degree in economics.

She moved to Abu Dhabi shortly afterwards and worked for Deloitte as a public policy consultant for four years. She spent most of the past decade working for two Abu Dhabi government departments.

Friend Saima Ismail said she was glad the legal system in Pakistan served justice.

“Today's verdict brings a measure of justice for Sarah, whose life was tragically and unjustly taken last year,” said Ms Ismail.

“While no verdict can ever fill the void left by her absence for her family and friends, we are grateful that the legal system has recognised the severity of this crime.

“We continue to remember Sarah for the light she brought into our lives.”

About 28 per cent of women between the ages of 15 and 29 have experienced physical violence, the Pakistan's Ministry of Human Rights said.

According to the Aurat Foundation, a women’s rights organisation based in Islamabad, 2,297 cases of violence against women were registered across four provinces in 2021.

These violent incidents included murder, abduction, kidnapping, rape and gang rape, honour killings and domestic abuse.

Ms Inam, who was married to Amir for three months, is survived by her parents and two elder brothers.

Updated: December 14, 2023, 1:06 PM