• Ministry asked to place suspect’s name on ECL
• Call data records to be analysed
• Autopsy shows stab wounds on right temple, chest; torture marks on body
• PM’s aide says govt stands with victim’s family
ISLAMABAD: Investigators probing the murder of former ambassador Shaukat Ali Mukadam’s daughter are seeking criminal record, if any, of the alleged killer from the United States and the United Kingdom.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Investigation Attaur Rehman told Dawn that they had written to the relevant authorities to approach the US and UK for obtaining criminal record of the accused, Zahir Jaffer.
“The reason for seeking the criminal record is to verify information about his involvement in sexual harassment and rape cases in the UK, which led to his deportation from the country,” Mr Rehman said.
Besides, the interior ministry is being requested to place the name of the alleged killer on the Exit Control List (ECL), the SSP said, adding that the accused was a dual national of the US and Pakistan and was denying he murdered the girl.
“The police have recovered a pistol and a knife from the crime scene,” he added.
Giving details about the incident, the SSP said the girl, Noor Mukadam, had called her parents on Tuesday and informed them that she was travelling to Lahore.
“However, she was in Islamabad all the time and was in the house of the accused,” he said.
SSP Rehman further said her friends reached the house of the accused, but he refused to let them enter, adding that he remained on the balcony, brandishing weapons and hurling abuses at them.
Sensing the seriousness of the situation, one of the friends informed the girl’s father while another brought the matter to the notice of Kohsar police station, he said.
In the meantime, staff of Therapyworks reached the scene and broke into the house where they found the beheaded body of the girl on the first storey of the house.
They overpowered the accused and tied him up before the police arrived, Mr Rehman said.
According to the police officer, call data records (CDRs) of the accused as well as the victim will be analysed to determine where they had been staying during the last couple of days. “Investigations reveal the girl remained in Islamabad and never travelled to Lahore,” he added.
Earlier, at a press conference on Thursday, SSP Rehman had said the accused was in police custody on physical remand.
“There is no eyewitness to the incident, however, the police are interrogating the two security guards present in the house,” he said, adding that at the time of the murder and arrest, Zahir Jaffer was fully in his senses.
The senior police official said there was no firearm injury on the victim’s body. “However, the police are yet to receive the final report,” he added.
The SSP investigation further said the police would submit the case challan in the court after investigation is completed and evidence collected.
Meanwhile, talking to Dawn on condition of anonymity, the victim’s friends and police officers said Noor’s friends started searching for her after the family lost contact with her.
“However, when Noor sent a message to one of her friends that she had been detained in (Zahir’s) house, five of them reached there in the evening,” they said, adding that the house was found locked while the accused was standing on the balcony holding weapons.
“He waved weapons at them and used foul language, after which one of the friends left for a nearby police station to seek their help in rescuing the girl,” the officers and the friends said.
“Fathers of both the girl and the accused were also informed about the dire situation,” they said, adding that before the police’s arrival, some workers of Therapyworks reached the scene and broke into the house after hearing gunshots.
“They reached a bedroom on the first storey where they found the beheaded body of the girl lying in a pool of blood,” the police officers said.
On seeing Therapyworks staffers, Zahir Jaffer attacked them with a sharp object, severely injuring one of them, however, he was overpowered, tied with ropes and handed over to the police, Noor’s friends and police officials narrated.
The body was shifted to the hospital while the accused was taken to the police station.
“It seems to be a planned murder as the accused was scheduled to leave for the US on Wednesday,” the friends of the girl said, adding that his parents and brothers resided in the same house.
A case was registered with Kohsar police station on the charge of murder (PPC 302) on the complaint of the deceased girl’s father, Shaukat Ali Mukadam.
According to the FIR lodged on July 19, the complainant and his wife had been away separately for errands.
He said when they returned home, their daughter was not there, adding that his wife tried to contact her on her mobile phone but it was switched off.
Later, Noor called herself and told them that she was going to Lahore with her friends and would return in a day or two and that they should not worry, Mr Mukadam said in the FIR.
On July 20, he received a call in the afternoon from the accused who told him that Noor was not with him, the FIR said, adding that at around 10pm he was informed by Kohsar police that his daughter had been murdered and asked him to come to the police station.
“The police took him to the house where he found the beheaded body of his daughter,” the FIR added.
According to the police officials, they had received the autopsy report, which said the girl died after oxygen supply to her brain was disconnected.
She had been stabbed on her right temple and chest while the headless body bore torture marks, the officials said.
When contacted, a staff member of Therapyworks told Dawn: “We are not allowed to say anything as investigation is in progress.”
When asked about the condition of their injured colleague, the staff member said he was out of danger, but remained in hospital under observation.
According to Noor’s friends, the accused belonged to a leading business family and was a chief brand strategist in the company. He also worked as a therapist with Therapyworks and conducted counselling sessions and delivered lectures in leading school systems, they added.
One of the victim’s friends said Noor Mukadam and Zahir Jaffer had known each other since childhood and moved in the same circle.
Noor practiced her religion and was kindhearted, but due to religious issues that emerged between them, they broke up some two years ago, the friend said.
After that they only met at gatherings and events, she said, adding that after the breakup, the accused started sending abusive and threatening messages to her friends.
Revenge is the motive behind the murder, the victim’s friends said, which was also confirmed by SSP Investigation Rehman.
Meanwhile, talking to media at the house of the girl on Friday, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Shahbaz Gill said the incident was a test case.
“No one should be spared and all proceedings be conducted as per law,” Mr Gill said.
The victim’s family has expressed its reservations over some issues, including the short duration of the physical remand of the accused as well as the court proceedings, in which wrong date was mentioned, the PM’s aide said, requesting the courts not to treat it as a routine case.
Mr Gill said the girl’s mother had yet not been able to come to terms with the tragedy.
“She was forcibly detained and subjected to torture and if the police had been informed in time, her life might have been saved,” the special assistant said, adding that the government stood with Noor’s family.
The girl’s father, Shaukat Mukadam, said the accused was arrested right before the body with weapons in his hands. “There is no doubt he did it,” he added.
The accused also tried to open fire at the Therapyworks team which reached the spot but fortunately the bullet got stuck in the chamber, Mr Mukadam said, adding that the alleged killer even stabbed one of the team members.
It is a murder and attempted murder case, he said, adding that the accused was a criminal-minded man and was in his senses when he committed the crime.
He is a registered therapist at his mother’s clinic, the former ambassador said, adding that “my daughter was innocent and loved animals; I have served the nation, and I want justice”.
Mr Mukadam further said that he was hopeful to get justice, adding that “I am a father and will not spare anyone if justice is denied to us”.
Published in Dawn, July 24th, 2021