Law officers examine loopholes in Noor Mukadam murder case

Published September 29, 2021
Noor Mukadam — Photo courtesy change.org/File
Noor Mukadam — Photo courtesy change.org/File

ISLAMABAD: The law officers of the state and the advocate general of Islamabad in a meeting on Tuesday examined the loopholes in the Noor Mukadam murder case in the light of the arguments made by the counsel before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) during the hearing of the post-arrest bail petitions of the parents of Zahir Jaffer, the main accused in the case.

Sources told Dawn that the participants of the meeting deliberated on various options to fix lacunas anticipating that they could find a way out in the judgment on the bail petitions of Zahir Jaffer’s parents which the IHC is expected to announce today (Wednesday).

According to the sources, the participants of the meeting admitted that the police had committed a mistake at the time of registration of the case as they could have filed it before a special court under the “Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Ordinance, 2020” for an expeditious trial, instead of the court of the ADSJ. They were of the view that though the ordinance had lapsed last month, it was effective when the crime was committed on July 20.

This issue, in fact, had been highlighted by the state counsel, Zohaib Gondal, during the hearing of the post-arrest bail petitions of Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee, the parents of the main accused. The sources said the law officers were now expecting that Justice Aamer Farooq of the IHC would shed some light on this issue in his judgment.

Experts say police committed mistake by not filing case before special court under Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Ordinance 2020

The legal experts are also of the view that the special court could have concluded the trial under the special law even after the lapse of the ordinance.

The ordinance had designated all courts of sessions judges throughout Pakistan as special courts for speedy justice with the help of the state-of-the-art infrastructure, audio and video recording and video link facilities. In addition, the ordinance provided more protection to the witnesses and permitted him/her to testify through video link.

According to a senior lawyer, Raja Inam Ameen Minhas, there were some legal precedents where the apex court had allowed conclusion of the trial under the same law in which the accused was charged.

In response to a question, Mr Minhas said there was a possibility that the police and the prosecution were not aware of the date on which the ordinance was to lapse and perhaps they were under the impression that the law had already lapsed as the government had not sought an extension of another 120 days in the constitutional life of the ordinance through a resolution in the parliament.

Another lacuna pointed out by the prosecution was the failure of the inspector general of Islamabad police to constitute a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the matter which he had assigned to an inspector.

The Kohsar police had initially registered the FIR under Section 302 (murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), but later added Section 376 [rape] after receiving medical and forensic reports of the suspect and victim.

During the meeting, the sources said, the prosecutors/law officers also discussed the possibilities of implicating the injured Therapyworks employee as accused in the case and some of them were of the view that he could have been the star prosecution witness.

According to former IGP Saleemullah Khan, the testimony of an injured witness is more effective than of an independent witness.

When contacted, the advocate general, Niazullah Khan Niazi, who is also incharge of the prosecution in the federal capital, said that he would talk to the IGP in order to streamline the issues related to the investigation and prosecution.

“I will suggest to him (IGP) that such heinous crimes must be investigated through the JITs and with the assistance of legal experts,” he added.

Couple harassment case

The IHC on Tuesday dismissed the bail petitions of three accused in the couple harassment case.

IHC Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani dismissed the post arrest bail petition of Qayyum Butt, Hafiz Ataur Rehman and Farhan Shaheen.

Justice Kayani also directed the trial court to conclude the trial within two months.

Meanwhile, the additional district and sessions judge Ata Rabbani indicted Usman Mirza Butt, Rehman, Shaheen, Rehan, Umar Bilal Marwat and Mohibullah Bangash in the same case.

The accused, however, pleaded not guilty.

The court has summoned the prosecution witnesses on next date of hearing on October 12.

Published in Dawn, September 29th, 2021

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