Therapy Works, a counselling and psychotherapy service, on Tuesday issued a statement against the "baseless and false allegations" it said were being levelled against it following the gruesome killing of Noor Mukadam in Islamabad.
Therapy Works came under public scrutiny as the murder investigation unfolded and it was revealed that the primary suspect, Zahir Zakir Jaffer, was associated with it. Whether he was authorised to work as a therapist by the service has yet to be ascertained by investigators.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Investigation Attaur Rehman earlier told Dawn that staff of Therapy Works had reached Zahir Jaffer's house and after breaking into it, they found Noor's beheaded body on the first storey of the house.
They overpowered the accused and tied him up before the police arrived, Rehman had said.
The capital administration had also sealed the office of Therapy Works in Islamabad.
"We are being subjected to unfounded vitriol, and baseless and false allegations are being made against us in the media," Therapy Works said in the statement shared on its Facebook page. It said the allegations had caused "extreme distress" to its students, patients and staff members.
It clarified that no staff of Therapy Works had been detained or arrested as part of the investigation.
"Our international credentials/accreditations have already been submitted to concerned authorities and are available to our students for perusal," it added.
The statement Noor's murder had "shaken the whole nation to its very core", and expressed support for the victim's family.
"We will spare no effort to facilitate the investigation of this heinous crime so that the culprits are punished as per law," it said, adding, however, that Therapy Works deemed it "inappropriate" to comment on any aspect of the case till the investigation was completed.
"We have been made aware that any disclosure of facts prior to the conclusion of the investigation would only result in prejudicing the case. We will be issuing a detailed statement as soon as the situation permits," it said.
The service further said it had collected all "defamatory accusations made in the media against us" and vowed to take legal action against the persons who it said had falsely defamed it.
Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Hamza Shafqaat earlier told Dawn that an investigation was conducted against Therapy Works in connection with Noor's murder in view of reports about Zahir's affiliation with it.
“We have asked them under which law they gave the certificate to psychos after their treatment to conduct therapy and what is written in it,” he said.
A deadline of two days had been given to the Therapy Works administration to furnish documents and certificates, including their affiliation and registration, according to Shafqaat.
According to the FIR of the case lodged on July 19, the complainant, Noor's father Shaukat Ali Mukaddam, 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, 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 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 Noor's friends, the suspect belonged to a leading business family and was a chief brand strategist in the company. He also worked as a therapist with Therapy Works and conducted counselling sessions and delivered lectures in leading school systems, they added.
One of the victim's friends said Noor and Zahir 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 suspect 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.