Sunday, April 16, 2023

Noor Mukadam murder: Zahir Jaffer moves Supreme court against IHC verdict

Convict urges top court to annul Islamabad High Court's death penalty order against him

Pakistani-American Zahir Jaffer (C), convicted to murder Noor Mukadam, arrives in a court before case verdict in Islamabad on February 24, 2022. — AFP
Pakistani-American Zahir Jaffer (C), convicted to murder Noor Mukadam, arrives in a court before case verdict in Islamabad on February 24, 2022. — AFP

  • Convict asks Supreme Court to declare death penalty null and void.
  • Zahir Jaffer pleads apex court to order his acquittal in the case.
  • IHC upheld trial court's verdict against Zahir Jaffer last month.

Zahir Jaffar, the main convict sentenced in the Noor Mukadam murder case, Sunday approached the Supreme Court of Pakistan against the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) verdict which upheld the trial court’s decision awarding him with a death penalty for the crime.

The convict filed a plea against the IHC asking the country’s top court to declare the death sentence null and void. He has also asked the top court to order his acquittal in the case.

The IHC, on March 13, upheld the death sentence awarded to Jaffer issued by the trial court turning his life imprisonment into capital punishment. The verdict was reserved on December 21 following appeals filed against the punishment awarded to the convicts and the acquittal of co-accused for the brutal murder of the 27-year-old woman.

The court’s decision for the double death sentence came following Jaffer’s crime for Noor’s rape and murder. He earlier received a 25-year imprisonment sentence with rigorous labour and a fine of Rs0.2 million after the rape was proven.

In his petition, Jaffer stated that the trial court and high court did not evaluate the evidence properly. The plea also mentioned that it is against the principles of justice to award punishment based on a flawed first information report.

"Purely, on the basis of ‘suspicion’, the Petitioner was named in the First Information Report without revealing the basis or source of information. All the narration in the FIR for all practical purposes can clearly be termed as ‘Hearsay’ evidence and information coming from undisclosed sources," the petition stated.

The evidence admitted is not admissible under the law of evidence, the petition read, terming it "vague, sketchy and scanty".

Jaffer, in his plea, mentioned that complainant and Noor's father Shaukat Ali Mukadam provided insufficient evidence and exercised his influence as a former ambassador to create hype around the case in the media.

"His credibility and trustworthiness stand significantly affected with the large-scale Acquittal in the case. The Complainant, through FIR at best only expressed ‘suspicion’ which subsequently was never replaced with tangible and concrete evidence," stated the petition.

The plea also raised questions over the execution of Noor's post-mortem.

"To sum up, the Medical Evidence is doubtful and does not support the Prosecution’s Case in any way. This enormous doubt and lack of ownership for conducting autopsy has also quite unjustifiably been resolved in favour of the prosecution," Jaffer's plea read.

The petition also stated that the "post-mortem report shows no apparent signs of sexual abuse".

It further mentioned that the trial court, on several hearings, proceeded with the recording of evidence in the absence of the petitioner due to disturbance created by the psychological disorder of the appellant.

Jaffer has been sentenced to a total of 11 years of imprisonment with Rs0.5 million fine.