Noor Mukadam murder: Counsel of Zahir Jaffer's parents points out 'grey areas' in police probe

Published September 16, 2021
Zahir Zakir Jaffer's parents are brought to the court for hearing of Noor Mukadam murder case. — DawnNewsTV/File
Zahir Zakir Jaffer's parents are brought to the court for hearing of Noor Mukadam murder case. — DawnNewsTV/File

The Islamabad High Court on Thursday conducted a hearing on the bail petition of parents of Zahir Jaffer — the prime suspect in Noor Mukadam's killing — with the defence counsel casting doubts on the police probe, saying it had “grey areas”.

Justice Amer Farooq Kayani heard the case in which Khawaja Haris, representing Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee, told the court that the police were solely relying on statements given by Zahir.

“Police didn’t speak to my clients ever since their remand was granted by the court,” he said.

Zahir’s parents were taken into custody on July 25 following the arrest of their son for allegedly concealing material facts from the investigation team. Subsequently, they had approached a district and sessions court for bail.

The sessions court had on Aug 5 dismissed the post-arrest bail applications of Zahir’s parents and observed that they had abetted the murder and had attempted to conceal material evidence.

The investigators, in a challan submitted to the sessions court on Sep 9, said Zahir had contacted his father, who was in Karachi, on the phone four times on the day of the incident on July 20 and the latter knew about Noor’s illegal detention and the situation at their home.

The challan said his parents never informed the police, and even after their son beheaded the girl, his father Zakir Jaffer tried to relax the murderer and told him: “You need not worry, I can handle this, I am sending people to rescue you and to dispose of the dead body."

According to the investigation report of Islamabad police, later, Zakir had sent five Therapyworks employees to his residence, where they tried to conceal the crime and attempted to destroy the evidence.

In the case hearing today, the defence counsel pointed out that while it was admissible that suspect Zahir called his parents, “but it could not be said what was talked about during the conversation.”

He said it was also not clear whether Zahir had informed his parents about the murder. “Even if it is known, and Therapyworks employees went there to destroy the evidence, the case [against parents] is still not justified,” Haris told the court.

The counsel said police only sought a two-day physical remand of Zahir’s parents, adding that the investigators could have sought a longer remand had there been enough evidence against them.

“It is written in the police challan that Zahir Jaffer informed his parents after the murder and they sent Therapyworks employees to the spot,” he argued.

He said the murder couldn’t have been assisted if it had already taken place.

“The police also mentioned in its report that the gardener prevented Noor from leaving the house, however, it is another debate that the gardener was not present there,” Haris claimed.

The counsel insisted there were “grey areas” in the police probe.

Before adjourning the hearing till Friday, the court asked Haris whether the Therapyworks employees were nominated in the case as suspects to which the counsel replied in the affirmative.

He also told the court that he would try to wrap up arguments in the case by tomorrow.

Case background

Noor, 27, daughter of former Pakistani diplomat Shaukat Mukadam, 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 Jaffer, 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.

In his complaint, Shaukat Mukadam 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 to be 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, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com.

The complainant said he had later received a call from the suspect, son of Zakir Jaffer, 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.

Mukadam, who identified his daughter's body, has sought the maximum punishment under the law against Zahir for allegedly murdering his daughter.

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