In a landmark verdict, Judge Azam Khan of the Islamabad Session Court handed down a 25-year prison sentence to Muhammad Shahzad, also known as Shani, for the murder of Sonia Allah Rakha, a 24-year-old Christian woman. The tragic incident occurred in 2020 when Shani, a Muslim man, fatally shot Sonia after her family declined his marriage proposal due to religious differences.

Judge Khan, in his ruling, commended the thorough police investigation that left no room for doubt regarding the case’s clarity. Consequently, he sentenced Shani, the primary perpetrator, to 25 years of imprisonment while acquitting the other three individuals accused in the case.

The heart-wrenching incident took place on November 30, 2020, at 9:30 am at Fazaia Chowk in Islamabad, where Sonia Allah Rakha was en route to work. She fell victim to the actions of Shani, who managed to flee the scene initially but was later apprehended by the police.

Before the tragic event, Sonia had confided in her mother about a marriage proposal from a Muslim young man named Muhammad Shahzad, alias Shani. She had declined his proposal due to the religious disparity between them. In a misguided attempt to pursue the marriage, Shani sent his mother to Sonia’s family with a formal proposal, which Sonia’s mother respectfully declined. She explained that their differing religious backgrounds would not be acceptable to their relatives and the community. This rejection angered Shani, leading him to take the extreme step of violence.

Speaking to our team, Allah Rakha, Sonia’s father, expressed his relief at winning the case after three challenging years. However, he highlighted the emotional and financial toll it had taken on the family. The loss of Sonia, who had been a pillar of support for the family, left their dreams shattered. She had been killed not for any wrongdoing but simply for refusing to marry a Muslim man.

Allah Rakha further revealed the hardships faced by the family, as his wife Teresa recently suffered an electrical shock injury that left one of her hands damaged. She had also been working as a domestic worker but was now bedridden. As he himself was getting older and struggling with health issues, Allah Rakha found it increasingly difficult to earn a living, especially since he had five daughters, two of whom were married, two unmarried daughters living with them, and his youngest son, Khurram, and daughter, Ruth, were attending school in classes 2nd and 6th, respectively. Additionally, one of his daughters, Ammara
, was undergoing training at a beauty parlour.

The family was residing in a rented house, facing numerous hardships. In light of their challenging circumstances, Allah Rakha appealed for financial support from the community.

This verdict marks a step towards justice for Sonia Allah Rakha and her grieving family, although it cannot erase the pain of their loss.