Thursday, December 01, 2022

Noor Mukadam murder: IHC questions police's logic behind ignoring basics in case

Islamabad High Court hears appeals by lawyers of complainant Shaukat Ali Mukadam and accused Zahir Jaffer

Islamabad High Court. — IHC website
Islamabad High Court. — IHC website
  • IHC hears appeals by lawyers of complainant, accused.
  • Zahir's lawyer says his client did not plan to murder.
  • Court adjourns hearing till Tuesday.

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday heard the appeals of the Noor Mukadam murder case by lawyers of complainant former Pakistani ambassador Shaukat Ali Mukadam and accused Zahir Jaffer.

Earlier this year, convict Jaffar — the main accused in the case — was sentenced to death and fined to pay Rs500,000 as compensation to the heirs of the deceased as required under Section 544-A of the Pakistan Penal Code.

A day earlier, the IHC conducted a combined hearing of two appeals in the case. One hearing was against the death sentence handed out to convict Zahir Jaffar, while the other — filed by Noor’s father — was against the acquittal of convicts and accused, as well as an increase in their sentences.

Today's hearing was presided over by Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Ijazul Ahsan. During the hearing, the court questioned the logic behind police ignoring basic facts surrounding the case.

Accused Zahir Jaffer's lawyer Usman Khosa said that he has filed a petition for a medical examination on behalf of his client.

The judge said that he wants to read the first information report (FIR) which has contradictions in the prosecution's statement.

Were the mobile phones of complainant Shaukat Mukadam and Zahir Jaffer taken at the time of investigation, the court asked.

At this, the complainant's lawyer said that his mobile phone was not taken but only Zahir's phone was seized.

Khosa said that Shaukat told about receiving a WhatsApp call first time during the cross-examination.

The court inquired what will happen if the complainant has given a wrong statement.

Zahir's lawyer said the case was based on a connection made through a phone call between the complainant and the accused.

At this, the court said that Zahir called Shaukat and it was not Shaukat who called Zahir.

The court instructed the complainant's lawyer to tell whether Noor called her father on July 19 or not.

Khosa said that Shaukat informed about his daughter missing on July 18 and not on July 19. According to the call detail record (CDR), Noor was found in Lahore, not Islamabad.

"It is possible that the girl did not rightly inform her father," Justice Farooq remarked.

Zahir's lawyer said that his client had a flight on July 19, however, he came back as soon as he left the house because the girl might have asked him to stop for her.

At this, Justice Farooq told the lawyer that he is making things up.

"What are you trying to tell by saying that he came back one minute after he left in the taxi for his flight?" the court inquired.

"I am trying to say that Zahir Jaffer had no plans on killing," lawyer Khosa said.

The lawyer said that the victim called Zahir six times while travelling from Naval Anchorage to F-7 which he did not attend.

"The first call was made from Naval Anchorage, the others were made while she was on her way and the last one was made outside Zahir Jaffer's home," the lawyer remarked.

Khosa said that Zahir was arrested at 9:20 while the FIR states that the incident took place at 10:00.

At this, Shaukat's lawyer said that he was not arrested by the police at that time.

Justice Farooq inquired when did the police reach the site of the incident.

"The policeman informed that they reached at 9:30," informed Zahir's lawyer.

"How did the incident take place at 10 then?" asked Justice Farooq.

The court inquired whether the victim had torture marks on her body at the time of post-mortem.

At this, Khosa replied that she had marks on her body, however, she might have gotten them from jumping.

The court adjourned the hearing against Zahir's sentence till Tuesday.

The murder

Twenty-seven-year-old Noor was found dead at the residence of the prime suspect, Zahir Jaffer, in Islamabad's upscale Sector F-7/4 on July 20, 2021.

After an FIR was registered under Section 302 (premeditated murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) on behalf of Noor's father, Zahir was arrested with a murder weapon and bloodstained clothes from the crime scene on the day of the killing.

According to Noor's father, Zahir killed Noor with a sharp instrument and severed her head.

As the police went deeper into investigations, Zahir's parents were found involved in concealing evidence and assisting their son in the crime. Both Zahir's mother and father were arrested on July 25, 2021.

However, the couple was later granted bail on separate occasions as they reached out to higher courts for release on bail.

Moreover, six employees of Therapy Works, a leading therapy and drug rehabilitation centre in Islamabad, were also arrested.

The organisation came under scrutiny after it was revealed that Zahir Jaffer, had himself been associated with Therapy Works.

Moreover, Zahir was sent on judicial and physical remands multiple times for interrogations before the trial started.