ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad police said on Friday a man had killed his wife in the Pakistani capital in a case that is reminiscent of the headline-grabbing murder last year of Noor Mukadam, which stirred national outrage over femicides in the South Asian nation.
Shahnawaz Amir, the son of prominent politician and columnist Ayaz Amir, is believed to have killed his wife Sara Inam with a dumbbell at a farmhouse in Chak Shahzad, a suburb of Islamabad that falls in the jurisdiction of Shahzad Town police station.
“A man named Shah Nawaz killed his wife Sara at home. Senior police officers and forensic teams are on the spot,” Islamabad police said on Twitter. “The investigation into the incident is ongoing and whatever facts emerge will be shared.”
Inam, who was a Canadian national, got married to Amir three months ago in Chakwal, the hometown of the suspected killer. It is believed the couple knew each other before marriage and the marriage was of their own choice, not arranged by their families, as is common in Pakistan.
The woman was employed in Abu Dhabi and returned to Pakistan on Wednesday.
“The police are trying to establish contact with her family in Canada,” Ziaul Qamar, an Islamabad police spokesperson, told Arab News.
“We don’t want to speculate about the incident at this stage. Let the police complete their investigation.”
The police said they received information about the incident from a neighbor of the family and immediately rushed to the spot. They said the victim’s body was found in a bathtub, apparently tortured and killed with dumbbells.
“We will keep the media posted as soon as the police complete their investigation in the case,” the spokesperson added.
The suspect’s father, Ayaz Amir, also reached the farmhouse, where the suspect was living with his mother, Samina Pirzada.
“No one should have to go through something like this,” Ayaz told reporters at the site. “No one should have to go through this grief.”
The police said the suspect had been arrested and was being investigated while the woman’s body had been moved to Islamabad’s Polyclinic hospital, where it was kept at the hospital’s mortuary for an autopsy.
Women rights activists have condemned the incident and urged the police to collect conclusive evidence in the case.
“This is extremely unfortunate that cases of violence against women have been increasing rapidly in Pakistan, but criminals often succeed in evading punishment,” Zohra Yusuf, a council member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), told Arab News.
She said numerous laws were enacted in the country to curb violence against women, but “their enforcement remains weak.”
“Ours is a patriarchal society where women are not recognized as equal citizens, and this discrimination leads to violence and killing of women,” she added.
As news of the murder spread in Pakistan and became headline news in the country, many remembered Mukadam, who was found beheaded in an upscale Islamabad neighborhood in July 2020.
In March this year, a Pakistani court sentenced to death Pakistani-American Zahir Jaffer, a childhood friend of Mukadam, for beheading her and to 25 years imprisonment with a fine of Rs200,000 for rape, ten years in jail with a Rs100,000 fine for abduction and a one-year jail term for keeping Mukadam in illegal confinement. Mukadam and Jaffer were widely believed to have been in a relationship, which they had broken off a few months before her murder.
Hundreds of women are killed in Pakistan every year, with thousands more suffering 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.