Police on Thursday submitted the challan in the Noor Mukadam murder case to a sessions court in Islamabad.
Additional Sessions Judge Atta Rabbani, presiding over the case after it was transferred to him from Sessions Judge Kamran Basharat Mufti, said copies of the challan would be distributed in the next hearing on September 23 once all suspects were present.
Meanwhile, the court extended the judicial remand of Zahir Jaffer — the prime suspect in the murder case, his parents and three of their household staff, identified as Iftikhar, Jan Muhammad and Jameel, till the next hearing.
The judge also summoned six Therapyworks employees who are suspects in the case, on Sept 23. Therapyworks, a counselling and psychotherapy service, had come under public scrutiny as the murder investigation unfolded and it was revealed that the primary suspect was associated with it.
During the hearing on Thursday, the counsel for Zahir's parents, Raja Rizwan Abbasi, said that the six Therapyworks employees were given bail and the court should issue a summons notice to them.
He also said a request for an in-camera hearing would be submitted to which the judge responded: "The application will be looked at in accordance with the law once it is submitted."
Zahir, his parents — Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee — and the three other suspects were present in today's hearing.
Delays in challan submission
Thursday's challan submission came after a considerable delay, with the deadline having already expired in mid-August.
Police officers involved in the investigation had told Dawn on condition of anonymity that under the law, the challan of a case should be submitted to the court within 14 days after the suspect is sent on judicial remand.
The main suspect in the murder case, Zahir, was sent on judicial remand on Aug 2.
When contacted, investigating officer of the case, Inspector Abdul Sattar, had confirmed to Dawn that neither a complete nor an incomplete challan had been submitted to the court. He said some reports were awaited which had resulted in the delay.
“Not submitting the challan to the court within the legal deadline is a violation of the law,” another officer had said, adding the investigators should have followed the rules.
Noor, 27, was found murdered at a residence in Islamabad's upscale Sector F-7/4 on July 20.
A first information report (FIR) was registered later the same day against Zahir, who was arrested from the site of the murder, under Section 302 (premeditated murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code on the complaint of the victim's father, Shaukat Ali Mukadam.
Zahir's parents and household staff were also arrested on July 24 over allegations of "hiding evidence and being complicit in the crime". They were made a part of the investigation based on Shaukat's statement, according to a police spokesperson.
In his complaint, Shaukat had stated that he had gone to Rawalpindi on July 19 to buy a goat for Eidul Azha, while his wife had gone out to pick up clothes from her tailor. When he had returned home in the evening, the couple found their daughter Noor absent from their house in Islamabad.
They had found her cellphone number switched off, and started a search for her. Sometime later, Noor had called her parents to inform them that she was travelling to Lahore with some friends and would return in a day or two, according to the FIR.
The complainant said he had later received a call from the suspect, whose family were the ex-diplomat's acquaintances. The suspect had informed Shaukat that Noor was not with him, the FIR said.
At around 10pm on July 20, the victim's father had received a call from Kohsar police station, informing him that Noor had been murdered.
Police had subsequently taken the complainant to Zahir's house in Sector F-7/4 where he discovered that his "daughter has been brutally murdered with a sharp-edged weapon and beheaded", according to the FIR.
Shaukat, who identified his daughter's body, has sought the maximum punishment under the law against Zahir for allegedly murdering his daughter.
Police later said that Zahir had confessed to killing Noor while his DNA test and fingerprints also showed his involvement in the murder.