Friends of University of Waterloo alumnus in mourning after husband arrested in Pakistan murder case

Friends of Canadian citizen Sarah Inam are in mourning as police in Pakistan investigate the killing of the 37-year-old alumnus of Ontario's University of Waterloo. Inam's husband of four months and his father, a columnist and TV political analyst in Pakistan, have been arrested.

Sarah Inam's killing is 'painful and unbelievable,' says Canadian citizen's ex-Ont. university classmate

Sarah Inam was a student at the University of Waterloo. The 37-year-old Canadian citizen's death Friday in Pakistan has led to a flood of online reaction from social media users around the world, speaking out against gender-based violence. (Submitted by El Hassan Khalifeh)

The friends of Canadian citizen Sarah Inam are in mourning after the alumnus of the University of Waterloo in Ontario was killed in Pakistan and her husband was arrested.

Inam, 37, had been married for four months to Shahnawaz Amir, the son of Ayaz Amir, a columnist and TV political analyst in Pakistan, The Associated Press reports.

Police in Pakistan said Shahnawaz was arrested after Inam was allegedly killed Friday at the couple's home following a row over a family issue. His father has also been arrested after the beating death. 

Sara Syeda attended the University of Waterloo with Inam in 2002. They were classmates and close friends.

"For her to be brutally killed like this is unbelievable," Syeda told CBC News. "She wasn't the type of person to get into fights or anything. Really, she wouldn't hurt a fly. To hear that she was beaten to death is painful and unbelievable."

Inam, bottom, attended the University of Waterloo in Ontario with her friend, Sara Syeda, top left, in 2002. Inam's husband has been arrested in her death. (Submitted by Sara Syeda)

Police officer Mohammad Faizan said Ayaz appeared in court in Pakistan's capital of Islamabad on Sunday, accused of aiding his son, the AP says.

According to police, Shahnawaz confessed to hitting his wife repeatedly with a dumbbell and then later trying to hide her body in a bathtub.

None of the allegations have been proven in court. It's not immediately known whether any charges have been laid.

Global Affairs Canada has confirmed that Inam was a Canadian citizen. The organization is currently working with authorities in Pakistan to obtain more information and provide the Inam family with consular assistance. Due to privacy considerations, no further information is being disclosed.

University chancellor 'deeply saddened'

Inam's death has led to a flood of online reaction from social media users around the world, speaking out against gender-based violence.

Vivek Goel, the University of Waterloo's president and vice-chancellor, was among those sharing his thoughts and condolences online.

"I was deeply saddened to wake up to news of the death in Pakistan of a former #UWaterloo student, Sara Inam," he said in a tweet. "Sara was killed as a result of intimate partner violence. The continued prevalence of gender-based violence here in Canada and around the world weighs heavily on us all."

Inam's first name is spelled different ways in various online sources. The Associated Press spells her first name as Sarah.

Syeda said she first met Inam through the Pakistani Students' Association at the University of Waterloo, where they would bond over planning fundraisers on campus.

"My memories of her are pleasant, beautiful memories. She was one of the sweetest girls I knew on campus," said Syeda, adding the news of Inam's death has hurt many in the alumni community.

"We're all traumatized and in pain. They're just as shocked as I am. Some of them met her just a few months ago when she was working in Dubai. She had gone to Pakistan, to Islamabad, to meet her husband — and then this happened. It's so hard to believe."

Another friend of Inam's, Stephen Nash, has confirmed to CBC News that her funeral will take place on Wednesday. Nash said the Inam family landed in Islamabad on Tuesday for funeral preparations. The family is not yet ready to speak with media.

Syeda said she's working with some friends and former classmates to organize a virtual vigil for Inam.


Aastha Shetty

CBC journalist

Aastha Shetty can be reached via email or by tweeting her at @aastha_shetty

With files from The Associated Press