ISLAMABAD: The father of Sarah Inam, a Pakistani-Canadian who was beaten to death by her husband last week, said on Wednesday before the funeral his daughter had been “trapped” into marriage by Shahnawaz Amir to fleece her out of money.
Inam, a 37-year-old economist who worked in Abu Dhabi, was murdered with dumbbells, according to police, by her husband at a suburban Islamabad home last week. Amir is currently under arrest and being investigated by police.
Inam’s parents and two brothers arrived from Canada and the United States respectively on Monday night to perform Inam’s last rites and pursue the legal case.
Inam got married to Amir of her own choice on July 18 in his hometown of Chakwal. Parents of the couple were not present at the event.
“She was trapped,” Rahim, who arrived from Canada on Monday night, told Arab News before Inam’s funeral prayers at Chak Shahzad in Islamabad. “She thought he [Shahnawaz] was a good man but he trapped her into the marriage to fleece money from her.”
“We will stay here [in Pakistan], pursue the case and not let these criminals go,” he said. “Shahnawaz was a predator from the start and we hope to get justice.”
Rahim said his daughter had met Amir only thrice before the marriage and had told the parents about the relationship and the marriage, which took place on July 18 at Amir’s hometown of Chakwal.
“She was grown up and we believed they would have a happy life,” he said. “Shahnawaz and her mother spoke to me on the phone before the marriage … His mother assured me she would treat Sarah as her own daughter.”
He added: “We never thought this was coming.”
The family, Rahim said, had planned to arrange a formal wedding reception for the couple in Islamabad in October.
The family had so far not been questioned by police but would present their version in the new few days, he added.
According to the first information report filed with police, Amir’s mother had called the police on September 23 and informed them that her son had murdered his wife “with a dumbbell.”
For the funeral, Inam’s body was brought to her home from a morgue in an ambulance just 15 minutes before the burial. Her body was taken inside the house where her parents and immediate family members were present.
Police and other security officials lined the street outside the house, guiding mourners to Inam’s house and the graveyard. Around fifty people, including her father and two brothers, attended the funeral and laid her to rest in a graveyard located some 100 meters from their residence.
The mother, standing to a side with other female relatives, appeared to be in a state of shock.
Nobody from Amir’s family attended the funeral.
Inam’s murder is reminiscent of last year’s headline-grabbing murder of Noor Mukadam, 27, which drew an outpouring of anger over femicides in the South Asian nation.
In March this year, a Pakistani court sentenced to death Pakistani-American Zahir Jaffer, a childhood friend of Mukadam, for beheading her. Mukadam and Jaffer were widely believed to have been in a romantic relationship, which they had broken off a few months before her murder.
Hundreds of women are killed in Pakistan every year, while thousands more suffer brutal violence. But few cases receive sustained media attention, and only a small fraction of perpetrators are ever punished or convicted by courts.
But Mukadam’s shocking murder, involving members of the privileged elite of Pakistani society, triggered an explosive reaction from women’s rights activists reckoning with pervasive violence.
It also increased pressure for a swift conclusion of the trial in a country known to have a sluggish justice system and where cases typically drag on for years.
Talking to media after the burial, Inam’s father called the killing a “pre-planned act of murder and extortion,” saying the suspect should be tried and convicted at the earliest: “Justice delayed is justice denied.”
“He [Shahnawaz] should be given the maximum punishment, should be hanged,” Rahim said. “Even in my wildest imagination could I have thought my daughter will face this … She was my sweetest child … I contacted her daily through texts or calls.”
Amir is expected to be presented before an Islamabad district court tomorrow, Thursday, after his three-day police remand expires. Inam’s parents will also be attending the hearing along with their legal team.
Inam’s uncle Ikram Rahim, a retired army colonel, said his niece was a “bright child and made her name through hard work.”
“She was a caring and loving girl, but unfortunately was lured by a beast into the marriage,” he told Arab News. “We will fight till the end to get justice.”