Thursday, October 14, 2021
Web Desk

Court indicts Zahir Jaffer, 11 others in Noor Mukadam's murder case

Web Desk
Zahir Jaffer (wearing a grey shirt), his father Zakir Jaffer (centre) arrive to attend an IHC hearing in Islamabad on September 23, 2021. — Online/File
Zahir Jaffer (wearing a grey shirt), his father Zakir Jaffer (centre) arrive to attend an IHC hearing in Islamabad on September 23, 2021. — Online/File
  • IHC indicts Zahir Jaffar and 11 others in Noor Mukadam's murder case.
  • Family employees of Zahir — Jamil and Jan Mohammad — as well as the CEO of Therapy Works, Tahir Zahoor, also indicted.
  • Court summons the prosecution witnesses on October 20.

The prime suspect in the murder of Noor Mukadam, Zahir Jaffer, was formally charged for the crime by an Islamabad court on Thursday.

Besides Jaffer, two of the family's employees — Jamil and Jan Mohammad — were also indicted, along with the Chief Executive Officer of Therapy Works, Tahir Zahoor. 

Additional sessions judge Atta Rabbani indicted a total of twelve individuals in the case, of which six were brought to the court from Rawalpindi's Adiala Jail. The remaining six were previously granted bail. All those indicted pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Meanwhile, the court has summoned the prosecution witnesses on October 20 and directed that the trial be commenced immediately and completed within two months.  

During the hearing, the lawyer of Zahir's parents, Advocate Rizwan Abbasi, said that the evidence produced in the court had nothing to do with Zakir Jaffer, therefore, he could not be indicted for the murder.

In response, the counsel for Shaukat Mukadam, Noor Mukadam's father, said the evidence can be reviewed during the trial. 

"The accused is being charged, but has not been sentenced yet," Mukadam's lawyer said.

During the court proceedings, Zahir continued to interject remarks and said that the employees of Therapy Works had forced their way into the house.

Zahir also apologised to Shaukat Mukadam in the courtroom and begged him for forgiveness. 

"My life is in danger, please have mercy on me," Zahir said.

The murder

Noor Mukadam, a 27-year-old woman, was raped and murdered with a sharp instrument on July 20 within the limits of the ​Kohsar police station in Islamabad. A case of murder was later registered at the same police station by Noor's father, former Pakistani ambassador Shaukat Ali Mukadam.

Zahir is the prime suspect in Noor Mukadam's murder case. The grisly murder, in which Mukadam was beheaded, took place on July 20 in Islamabad's F-7 area.

The Islamabad police had arrested suspect 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.

Islamabad court rejects bail pleas of Zahir Jaffer's parents

Earlier, the IHC rejected the bail pleas of Zahir's parents — Zakir Jaffer and Ismat Adamjee — in the case.

The IHC also ordered the trial court to complete the trial within eight weeks. IHC's Justice Aamer Farooq initially delivered a brief verdict. A detailed verdict was released later.

Zakir and Ismat had filed bail petitions in the case stating that they had nothing to do with Noor's murder, while the police challan presented in court said that if Zahir's parents had informed the police in time, Noor could have been saved.

What did the Islamabad High Court's detailed verdict say?

In its detailed verdict, the IHC ruled that Zahir Jaffer's parents committed the crime of aiding and abetting Noor's murder.

The court said that Zahir's parents knew their son had taken Noor hostage and despite having this information, they did not share it with the police. The watchman had clearly stated that he had informed Zakir Jaffer, the court added.

The detailed judgment also refers to the decisions of the SC.

The SC said that aiding and abetting murder is as serious a crime as murder, the IHC said, adding that aiding and abetting a crime can also be direct, for which there is sufficient factual evidence.

According to the Black's Law Dictionary, not doing one's duty is also aiding and abetting, the IHC verdict said.

Zahir, the court said, had said in his confessional statement that he had informed his father about Noor. Whether Zahir's statement is acceptable or not is to be decided by the trial court, the IHC said.

Zahir's parents challenge IHC bail rejection in SC

The parents of Zahir then approached the SC for bail.

The petition, filed in the apex court by Advocate Khawaja Harris on behalf of Zahir's parents, asks whether not reporting the "incident" counts as aiding the crime.

The text of the petition stated that the IHC wrongly reviewed Section 107 of the Pakistan Penal Code.

The petition further stated that there is no evidence to suggest that Zahir's parents knew the intentions of their son and that their bail application cannot be dismissed on the basis of the statement of a co-accused.

The petition said that a complete challan of the case has not yet been presented in the trial court, while the high court went beyond its jurisdiction by directing to complete the trial in two months.

The petition filed in the SC further said that delivering a verdict in two months goes against the rights of the suspects and the principles of a transparent trial.

The police investigation in the Noor's murder case was one-sided and not impartial, the petition stated further. The defendants will not be able to defend themselves properly in prison, it argued, adding that it is very difficult for them to communicate with their lawyers in prison.