ISLAMABAD: Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee, parents of Zahir Jaffer, who is the prime suspect in the Noor Mukadam murder case, approached the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday to challenge the Sept 29 Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) rejection of their bail plea.
Moved through senior counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmed, a set of two petitions pleaded before the Supreme Court to order their release on bail after setting aside the IHC direction of keeping them confined in Rawalpindi Adiala Jail until the murder trial is over.
The petitions also held out assurances of appearing before the trial court on each date of hearing and undertook to furnish bail bonds to the entire satisfaction of the Supreme Court.
The petitions argued that their incarceration in the present case is likely to hamper seriously their free access to counsel for proper instructions and preparation of the defence.
IHC rejected bail plea on Sept 29, directed the two be kept in Adiala jail till murder trial is over; local court defers indictment of accused
The continual incarceration, under the given circumstances, the petitions pleaded, was in breach of the principle that an accused was to be presumed innocent unless proven guilty and that no one was to be punished without a trial.
Given the fact that the investigation is complete, no useful purpose will be served in keeping the petitioners incarcerated during the trial, the petitions argued, emphasising that the case against the petitioners was not based on tangible evidence rather the allegations against them were highly speculative.
The petitions also accused the police of conducting one-sided and biased investigations against them, adding that the impugned high court order of denying them bail was in effect arbitrary, capricious and based on unsubstantiated conjectures and surmises which should be set aside.
Moreover the direction of the high court for expeditious trial to be concluded within eight weeks from the date of framing of charge was premature since even complete challan or report under Section 173 CrPC has not been furnished in the case nor copies of all the documentary evidence referred to in the statements of witnesses recorded under Section 161 CrPC as noted in the interim challan have been provided to the petitioners.
In any case, direction given in the instant case is even otherwise without jurisdiction, being violative of the petitioner’s fundamental right to fair trial, especially since substantial defence of the petitioners which was available in the data contained in the mobile phones have been taken into possession by the investigation officer (IO) for forensic test.
But till today neither the forensic report was produced in the court nor the mobile phones have been retrieved or made part of the judicial record, the petitions contended.
Thus the defence of the petitioners will be seriously prejudiced if the trial is directed to be commenced in the absence of the data available in the mobile phones taken into possession during the investigation and the forensic reports, the petitions added.
They emphasised that while giving directions, the high court judge should have probed, whether this was a case which may have involved substantial evidence to be produced by the respective set of accused in their defence, what time frame may be required to summon and get such evidence in defence produced and recorded etc.
Noor Mukadam, 27, was found murdered at a residence in Islamabad’s upscale F-7/4 sector 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, Shaukat Ali Mukadam.
Later, police broadened the scope of the investigation by adding four more sections of the Pakistan Penal Code, mainly related to abetment and concealing evidence. They also arrested Zahir’s parents as well as the family guards. Zakir and Asmat were then remanded and sent to Adiala jail.
Indictment of accused deferred
A local court on Wednesday deferred the indictment of the principal accused, Zahir Jaffer, his parents and other accomplices in Noor Mukadam murder case.
Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Atta Rabbani resumed proceeding in the murder case.
The court deferred the indictment after the counsel for the accused filed applications seeking documents related to the evidence which would be produced before the court against the accused during the trial.
The police produced Zahir Jaffer, Zakir Jaffer, Asmat Adamjee, three domestic staff Iftikhar, Jan Mohammad and Jameel as well as six Therapyworks employees before the court.
Defence counsel Akram Qureshi argued that the accused were not aware of the evidence against them and cited numerous judgements of the superior courts that made it mandatory for provision of the documentation related to the evidence mentioned in the challan.
He said they had only been given statements of the prosecution witnesses recorded under Section 161 of the Criminal Code of Procedure.
The counsel argued that the documents collected during the investigation should be provided to the suspects and referred to previous cases where this had been allowed.
The court therefore adjourned further proceedings till Thursday (today). Additional reporting by Malik Asad
Published in Dawn, October 7th, 2021