Sarah Inam’s family says won’t return to Canada without justice in alleged killing by husband

Sarah Inam’s father (second right) and her family address media in National Press Club in Islamabad, Pakistan, on October 5, 2022. (AN Photo)
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Updated 05 October 2022

Sarah Inam’s family says won’t return to Canada without justice in alleged killing by husband

  • Sarah Inam, 37, was allegedly murdered by husband Shahnawaz Amir last month
  • Family is based in Canada and arrived in Islamabad last week for last rites, to pursue legal case

ISLAMABAD: The father of Sarah Inam, a Pakistani-Canadian who was allegedly beaten to death by her husband last month, said on Wednesday the family would stay in Pakistan until the case was solved, calling on the government and judiciary to dispense speedy justice.

Inam, a 37-year-old economist who worked in Abu Dhabi, was murdered with dumbbells, according to police, by her husband Shahnawaz Amir at a suburban Islamabad home on September 23. Inam got married to Amir of her own choice on July 18 in his hometown of Chakwal. The parents of the couple were not present at the event.

Amir is currently under arrest and being investigated by police.

Inam’s parents and two brothers arrived from Canada and the United States respectively last week to perform Inam’s last rites and pursue the legal case.

“We are still traumatized and shocked, but strongly believe that we will get justice,” Inam Rahim, the victim’s father, told media in Islamabad.

“It was all planned. He [Amir] was a predator from the start, and my daughter was so naive to believe him,” he said, adding that the family would stay in Pakistan to pursue the case till its end.

Rahim said Amir seemed “sensible and convincing” when they had interacted over the phone after the marriage and the family never suspected he was a “beast and killer.”

“We had no negative information about Shahnawaz before the incident,” he said, adding that his daughter informed the family about the marriage over the phone after it was contracted.

“We were planning a formal wedding reception for our daughter in the first week of November,” Rahim said. “It never occurred to us that our daughter, who was a genius and accomplished professional, could be killed like this.”

The father expressed confidence in the police and the investigation process and said he hoped “justice will be served in the minimum possible time.”

The police have so far verified the couple’s nikah, seized a Mercedes car bought by the deceased, and investigated at least five people who attended the couple’s marriage in Chakwal. The police have yet to recover the deceased’s Canadian passport to get exact details of her travel history and have also sought court permission to access the victim and suspect’s bank accounts to investigate accusations of extortion against Amir.

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.

The Islamabad High Court on Wednesday took up appeals in the Mukadam case and regular hearing will start from October 26, which lawyers say would conclude within ten weeks.

Speaking on the occasion, Inam’s brother Farrukh Inam, an employee at a tech company in the US, said his sister had been killed in a “premeditated act,” calling for the culprit to be hanged at the earliest.

“Our lawyer says we have a strong case to plead against the culprit and we’ll take it to the logical conclusion,” he said. “We haven’t been able to sleep peacefully since her murder.”

Inam’s two uncles, aunts and several first cousins were also present at the press conference.

“She was a brilliant, intelligent and kind person,” one of her uncles, Col (retired) Ikram Rahim, said. “She has left a void in our family that can’t be filled.”


Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa set to hand over command of Pakistan Army to Gen Asim Munir

Updated 12 sec ago

Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa set to hand over command of Pakistan Army to Gen Asim Munir

  • Outgoing chief passes baton to successor at a change of command ceremony in Rawalpindi
  • Gen Bajwa on Monday held farewell meetings with PM Shehbaz Sharif and President Arif Alvi

ISLAMABAD: Outgoing Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa will shortly be handing over command of army to his successor, General Asim Munir, as he retires as head of Pakistan's all-powerful military branch, which has historically held a massive sway in governance and foreign policy matters of the nuclear-armed South Asian nation.

Gen Bajwa's tenure comes to an end after six years. The outgoing general will pass the baton to Gen Munir at a change-of-command ceremony at the army’s General Headquarters in Rawalpindi. Gen Munir will be the 17th army chief of Pakistan.

Gen Bajwa will be presented a Guard of Honour at the ceremony, which will have services chiefs, both serving and retired military officials, and other dignitaries in attendance.

Ahead of the handing over, Bajwa on Monday held farewell meetings with PM Shehbaz Sharif and President Arif Alvi, in which both leaders lauded the outgoing officer's services for Pakistan, particularly in the areas of defense, security, and geo-economics.

“Under the leadership of General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the army demonstrated exemplary services in effectively dealing with various challenges, including the country’s exclusion from the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) Grey List, COVID-19 pandemic, and the recent flashfloods,” the PM office said in a statement. 

“You had the honor of leading the best army in the world.”

In an interview published by an international media outlet on Sunday, Bajwa reiterated the army’s resolve to remain apolitical and, in an apparent reference to former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, said that a campaign had been launched against the armed forces because it refused to intervene in politics. 

“Despite some criticism and undue vilification of the armed forces through mass propaganda and meticulously crafted false narratives, the institutional resolve to remain apolitical will remain steadfast,” the outgoing army chief said in the interview.

“I am certain that this political quarantine of the armed forces will auger well for Pakistan in the long term by fostering political stability and strengthening the army-to-people bond.”

The army has ruled Pakistan for almost half of its 75-year history either through coups or as an invisible guiding hand in politics.

Munir's appointment coincides with a dispute between the military and former premier Imran Khan, who blames the army for playing a part in his ouster in a parliamentary no-trust vote earlier this year and who has since been leading anti-government protests.

Gen Munir assumes his three-year stint as army chief on Nov. 29, the 17th holder of the post since Pakistan won independence from Britain in 1947. That compares with about 30 prime ministers during the same period.


McCullum wants England to play aggressively in Pakistan

Updated 13 min 28 sec ago

McCullum wants England to play aggressively in Pakistan

  • Under McCullum, England showed plenty of aggression in Test cricket at home this summer
  • Visitors have plenty of flare in middle-order with the likes of Stokes, Livingstone and Brook

RAWALPINDI: England coach Brendon McCullum aims to continue playing an aggressive brand of test cricket when his team takes on Pakistan in a three-test series starting Thursday.

Under McCullum, England showed plenty of aggression in the longer format of the game at home this summer when it routed coach’s home country New Zealand 3-0 and beat South Africa 2-1.

“One of the things we try and do is respect the conditions but at the same time if we are given the opportunity to try and play aggressive and attacking cricket, we’ll try and take that option,” McCullum told reporters on Monday as England had its first training session at the Pindi Cricket Stadium — the venue for the first test.

“The guys who are in our squad, that’s how they play their cricket and that’s what gives them the most amount of freedom and the best opportunity to perform at the highest level.”

England has plenty of flare in its middle-order with the likes of captain Ben Stokes, Liam Livingstone and Harry Brook to score at a rapid pace with experienced Joe Root also showing glimpses of aggression at home in this summer.

McCullum was excited that his team will be taking up the challenge of playing in Pakistan for the first time since 2005. Only veteran James Anderson has experience of the conditions when he toured with the team 17 years ago.

“We understand the size of the challenge in front of us,” he said. “You don’t want easy challenges. You want to take on the best in their own conditions … I don’t know if we’re going to win the series. I can almost guarantee when the skipper comes in here in 48 hours’ time he’ll say there’ll be no draws in the series.

“To win away from home is the greatest accomplishment you can achieve as a test player and as a test side.”

The opener at Rawalpindi will be followed by matches at Multan (Dec. 9-13) and Karachi (Dec. 17-21), with big crowds expected for each. England drew large crowds for a seven-match series in Karachi and Lahore in September and October prior to the T20 World Cup in Australia, where it beat Pakistan in the final.

“That’s what we want from red-ball cricket all around the world, stadiums packed out and fans getting behind their local team,” McCullum said.

“We’re lucky that the crowd here is sold out and that’s kind of what we want. The skipper (Stokes) wants them to be rockstars and to be a rockstar you’ve got to play in front of the big houses. We’ve got that opportunity to do that.”

The home team will be without its key fast bowler Shaheen Afridi, who is ruled out of the series because of a knee injury, but McCullum said Pakistan still has plenty of talented players.

“He’s (Afridi) a big loss, no doubt,” McCullum said. “But one thing when you play against Pakistan, you look at their team sheet and you see talent. It’s a very good Pakistan squad, it’s well-rounded, it’s got some experience and some youth, with both batting and bowling, and they’ll be a tough challenge. We know we’ll have to play well if we’re going to be successful.”

Pakistan has plenty of surprises up in its sleeves, especially in the bowling department as it has named uncapped fast bowlers Haris Rauf, Mohammad Ali and mystery spinner Abrar Ahmed in its 18-man squad for the test series.


Pakistan, IMF begin talks on $7 billion loan review 

Updated 18 min 29 sec ago

Pakistan, IMF begin talks on $7 billion loan review 

  • Fiscal data shared with the IMF and a team of the agency is expected to visit Islamabad soon 
  • Pakistan reserves stood at $7.8 billion as of Nov. 18, barely enough to cover a month’s imports 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund have begun talks online on a ninth review of a $7 billion loan program, the Finance Ministry said on Monday, after a media outlet reported that the lender had asked the country to cut its expenses. 
The government has shared fiscal data, including for floods and related expenditures, with the IMF, and a team from the agency is expected to visit Islamabad soon, the ministry added. 
Under the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF), Pakistan secured a $6 billion bailout in 2019 that was topped up with another $1 billion earlier this year. 
“As part of the 9th review under the EFF, remote discussions continue between IMF staff and the Pakistani authorities over policies to re-prioritize and better target support toward humanitarian and rehabilitation needs,” the lender’s resident representative, Esther Pérez Ruiz, told Reuters in a statement. 
Pakistan has been reeling from floods this year that killed more than 1,700 people, destroyed farmland and infrastructure and exacerbated an economic crisis marked by decades-high inflation and dwindling foreign exchange reserves. 
“The IMF understands that the floods have changed the macroeconomic assumptions on which the program was designed,” the ministry told Reuters. 
“Detailed analysis is being conducted by their team using the data provided.” 
Pakistan reserves stood at $7.8 billion as of Nov. 18, barely enough to cover imports for a month. 
The Pakistan Stock Exchange fell around 2 percent on Monday, its first day of trading after the central bank unexpectedly hiked its key policy rate to 16 percent last week. 
ARY News reported on Monday that the IMF had asked Pakistan to reduce expenses before talks on the ninth review. 
The IMF’s board approved the seventh and eight reviews in August, allowing the release of more than $1.1 billion. 
The ninth review has been pending since September. The IMF told Reuters last week that finalization of a recovery plan from the floods was essential to support discussions, along with continued financial support from multilateral and bilateral partners.
 


After six-year tenure, General Bajwa retires as Pakistan army chief today

Updated 28 November 2022

After six-year tenure, General Bajwa retires as Pakistan army chief today

  • Outgoing chief holds farewell meetings with PM Shehbaz Sharif, President Arif Alvi
  • Will pass baton to successor General Asim Munir at change of command ceremony

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa will be retiring today, Tuesday after completing a six-year tenure as head of Pakistan's all-powerful military, which has an outsized role in the governance and foreign policy of the nuclear-armed nation.

A change of command ceremony will be held at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi on Tuesday morning during which Bajwa will pass the baton to his successor, General Asim Munir, who will become the 17th army chief of the country.

Ahead of the handing over, Bajwa on Monday held farewell meetings with PM Shehbaz Sharif and President Arif Alvi, in which both leaders lauded the outgoing officer's services for Pakistan, particularly in the areas of defense, security, and geo-economics.

“Under the leadership of General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the army demonstrated exemplary services in effectively dealing with various challenges, including the country’s exclusion from the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) Grey List, COVID-19 pandemic, and the recent flashfloods,” the PM office said in a statement. 

“You had the honor of leading the best army in the world.”

In an interview published in an international media outlet on Sunday, Bajwa reiterated the army’s resolve to remain apolitical and, in an apparent reference to former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, said that a campaign had been launched against the armed forces because it refused to intervene in politics. 

“Despite some criticism and undue vilification of the armed forces through mass propaganda and meticulously crafted false narratives, the institutional resolve to remain apolitical will remain steadfast,” the outgoing army chief said in the interview.

“I am certain that this political quarantine of the armed forces will auger well for Pakistan in the long term by fostering political stability and strengthening the army-to-people bond.”

The army has ruled Pakistan for almost half of its 75-year history either through coups or as an invisible guiding hand in politics.

Munir's appointment coincides with a dispute between the military and former premier Khan, who blames the army for playing a part in his ouster earlier this year and who has been leading anti-government protests since then.


Pakistan minister heads to Russia for oil and gas talks

Updated 28 November 2022

Pakistan minister heads to Russia for oil and gas talks

  • Trip comes as the South Asian nation struggles to meet domestic gas supply needs as winter approaches
  • Finance Minister Ishaq Dar last month said that Pakistan is considering buying discounted Russian oil

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's junior oil minister and the petroleum secretary have flown to Russia for talks on issues including oil and gas supplies, two people close to the matter told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The trip comes as the South Asian nation struggles to meet domestic gas supply needs as winter approaches while battling to contain a current account deficit swelled by energy payments, mostly for oil.

Junior oil minister Musadik Malik did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

The sources provided no further details, such as the exact agenda, who the Pakistani officials would meet in Russia or when the talks will take place.

Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar last month said that the country is considering buying discounted Russian oil, pointing out that neighbour India has been purchasing oil from Moscow and Islamabad also has a right to explore the possibility.

Pakistan has been unable to procure Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) from the international market because spot prices remain out of its range and shipments under long-term deals remain insufficient to match rising demand.

With dwindling local gas reserves, the country has begun to ration supplies to residential and commercial consumers. Local media has also reported that oil supplies remain tenuous owing to difficulties in paying for imports.