Wednesday Jul 28 2021

Noor Mukadam case: Zahir Jaffer's travel plans, one night prior to murder, come to light

Zahir Jaffer, the prime suspect in the murder of Noor Mukadam, while being brought to court, on July 26, 2021. — Twitter
Zahir Jaffer, the prime suspect in the murder of Noor Mukadam, while being brought to court, on July 26, 2021. — Twitter

The travel plans of Zahir Jaffer — the prime suspect in the murder of Noor Mukadam — one night prior to the gruesome incident, have come to light.

The ticket

According to the air ticket, a copy of which was obtained by Geo News on Wednesday, Zahir booked on July 7, a one-way flight to New York, scheduled for 3:50am, July 19, priced at Rs88,000.

The travel agency, located near Islamabad's Blue Area, was contacted on the night between 18 and 19, sources close to the investigation told Geo News.

A copy of Zahir Jaffers air ticket. — Photo by author
A copy of Zahir Jaffer's air ticket. — Photo by author

The sources quoted Zahir as asking the agent: "What will happen if I don't travel on the booking date?"

Zahir was told that his ticket will then be "wasted".

At this, Zahir said: "I am informing you three hours in advance. Why would it be wasted?"

The travel agent responded by saying that three hours ahead of the flight, "all control goes to the airport" but he will "try to get it cancelled".

Zahir then asked how his booking would be impacted if he were to travel 10 days later. "With your ticket cancelled, you would have to pay the difference in rates that are sure to occur by then," the agent replied by saying.

Upon hearing this, Zahir said he would get back to the agent in a while.

That night Zahir contacted the travel agent five times, the sources said, and later sent an SMS saying that he has decided to travel to the US.

A call was also made at 3:58am which was not received by the agent, the sources said.

The taxi

Zahir had also made arrangements at 12:59pm on July 18, for a taxi service to take him to the airport on the night of July 19, the night his flight was scheduled, the sources added. He was told he would be charged Rs2,000 for the trip.

The taxi arrived at 11pm, July 18, and the driver subsequently called Zahir at 11:15pm, upon which he was told to wait.

The driver called Zahir again at 11:36pm and he was once more told to wait a bit. Then, at 12:07am, Zahir told the driver to go away as he no longer plans on going to the airport. He also sent Rs1,000 with his gatekeeper to give to the taxi driver.

The driver called Zahir again at 1:40am saying that since he had been paid Rs1,000, he can come pick him up if he has changed in mind and wants to go to the airport.

Zahir told him he may come, the sources said.

They said that the taxi arrived at 2am on the night of July 19 to take Zahir to the airport. At 2:15am, Noor Mukadam accompanied him to the taxi, barefoot.

According to the sources, both got into the taxi and the vehicle departed at 2:20am. It was headed for the airport when all of a sudden, at the Kulsoom underpass, Zahir instructed the driver to head back home. When the driver asked what the matter was, Zahir said that they are "late" and "will not be able to reach on time".

The taxi driver turned the car around and dropped them both back home, at around 2:35am, the sources said.

The driver was witness to Zahir taking Noor inside the house, along with his luggage, the sources added.

During the entire trip Noor had remained silent whereas Zahir continued to speak to her, according to the sources.

The suspects

Zahir Jaffer, the main suspect in the murder, is under police custody, with the court granting a three-day extension in his remand earlier today. Zahir will now be produced before the court on July 31.

His parents, Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee are on a 14-day judicial remand and were ordered sent to Adiala Jail yesterday by a sessions court in Islamabad. They will be produced in court on August 10.

Besides the parents, two domestic workers, a cook and a guard, identified as Iftikhar and Jameel, are also on a 14-day judicial remand.

Following orders for a 14-day judicial remand, Zahir's parents turned in a request to the court for release on bail.

The court sent a notice to the police, informing them of the request, and also asking for a complete record of the case.

Additional District and Sessions Judge Muhammad Sohail will decide on the matter of bail on July 30.

The murder

Noor, 27, was murdered in the federal capital on July 20, in the city's F-7 area, according to police.

She is the daughter of Shaukat Mukadam, who served as Pakistan's ambassador to South Korea and Kazakhstan.

The Islamabad police arrested Zahir on the night of July 20 from his house where, according to Noor's parents, he killed her with a sharp instrument and severed her head.

The gruesome incident sparked a nationwide campaign seeking justice for her, with #JusticeforNoor becoming a top trend on Twitter.