Initial police investigations into Sarah Inam’s grisly murder have made clear the circumstances of her troubled three-month marriage to Shahnawaz Amir as well as how the suspect lured the victim into a trap in order to extort money from her and kill her with the help of his pals.
Successful Canadian-born economist Sarah, 37, has worked for USAID and Deloitte at various stages in her career. She had only been Shahnawaz’s wife for three months when she was killed.
The accused Shahnawaz and Sarah’s nikkah was held this year on July 18 at the Madni Masjid in the Rehmannia neighbourhood of Chakwal, according to sources with knowledge of the inquiry who talked about the couple’s brief but tumultuous marriage. Mutabir Shah, a close friend of the suspect Shahnawaz and a guest at the wedding, organised the nikkah.
Sarah left Pakistan on July 26 and returned to Dubai on July 21 after being married. Shahnawaz persuaded the victim to make a real estate investment after she left. Sarah went to Murree with the accused, the property dealer, and the investment in question.
During her visit to the city, Sarah gave Usman, the real estate agent, Rs. 50,000 as a sign of her intent to fulfil Shahnawaz’s request for her to buy an apartment in Murree. According to sources, Usman and other individuals went to the accused’s farm that evening at Shahnawaz’s request and requested additional money for the apartment.
The following morning, out of anxiety, Sarah called veteran journalist Ayaz Amir, the father of the accused, and told him about the incident. Two days later, she left for Dubai as well.
When the victim visited Pakistan again in August, Shahnawaz demanded that Sarah buy a car this time. When Haroon Tarar and Sarah met to buy the car, Shahnawaz also introduced them. During the discussion, the victim agreed to pay Rs2.8 million for the car.
But according to insiders, the transaction was abandoned when Sarah told Tarar that she could only pay in dirhams and had no Pakistani rupees. Tarar requested payment in Pakistani rupees and wouldn’t give up the automobile. After not receiving the cash in local currency, he also snatched the car.
Sarah gave Shahnawaz 70,000 dirhams to purchase the car, then departed for Dubai. According to sources, Shahnawaz offered his uncle Alamgir the dirhams in exchange for Pakistani cash. The accused subsequently gave Tarar Rs2.8 million in exchange for the car and pocketed the extra cash with him.
According to police investigations, the accused used to beg Sarah for money to give to various organisations, mosques, madrassahs, and the needy. The investigation also showed that Shahnawaz would buy himself things with the money rather than donate it.
According to sources, when Sarah told her parents about the marriage, they originally expressed dissatisfaction but subsequently came around after speaking with Shahnawaz’s relatives. The investigations also reveal that Shahnawaz had a combative phone call with Sarah’s mother. It also demonstrated that Sarah received a complaint from the victim’s mother about her husband’s impolite behaviour.
According to the mobile data, Sarah spoke about the situation with Shahnawaz, who then verbally insulted her. These exchanges persisted for a few days.
On September 22, Sarah flew into Pakistan and travelled by herself in a car to her home. When she arrived, she ran into Shahnawaz’s mother and told her what had happened. The night before the murder, Sarah reportedly met with Shahnawaz to attempt and resolve her marital issues. But the next morning, in a fit of rage, Shahnawaz murdered his wife in a farmhouse in Islamabad’s Chak Shahzad neighbourhood.