Noor murder case: Zakir Jaffer withdraws plea against indictment

Published October 22, 2021
In this file photo, Zahir Jaffer and his father Zakir Jaffer are being taken to the Islamabad High Court to attend a hearing. — Photo via Twitter
In this file photo, Zahir Jaffer and his father Zakir Jaffer are being taken to the Islamabad High Court to attend a hearing. — Photo via Twitter

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday disposed of a petition by Zakir Jaffer, father of Zahir Jaffer – the principal accused in the Noor Mukadam murder case – against his October 14 indictment by a trial court after the petitioner withdrew his plea.

Zakir's counsel, Raja Rizwan Abbasi, appeared in court earlier today and requested a withdrawal of the petition. It is not clear why the petitioner withdrew his plea. Dawn.com is trying to reach his counsel for a comment.

Zakir had been indicted by a trial court along with 11 others including Zahir Zakir Jaffer, Zahir's mother Asmat Adamjee, their three household staff Iftikhar, Jan Mohammad and Jameel, Therapyworks CEO Tahir Zahoor and employees Amjad, Dilip Kumar, Abdul Haq, Wamiq and Samar Abbas.

Zakir, Asmat Adamjee and Zahoor had challenged their indictment in the IHC under separate petitions.

“The indictment gives an impression as if it was carried out on the longing of the prosecution,” Zakir's petition had said, adding that the order suggested that the court can frame charges against the accused while copying the police challan and making it a mechanical exercise.

He had requested the court to declare the indictment illegal.

Presiding over a hearing on Wednesday on petitions by Zakir and others, IHC Justice Aamer Farooq had sought a reply on the petitions by the authorities. The judge had also observed that the court would pass an order binding the prosecutor to provide all necessary evidence to the defendants.

In the indictment, the trial court had charged the 12 accused in the murder case for 15 offences.

While the four charges were specific to the principal accused, Zahir only, the fifth charge was against his parents for allegedly concealing facts from the police.

The charge sheet stated: “Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Zakir remained in touch with the accused Zahir Jaffer through telephone from Karachi and despite knowledge that the accused Zahir Zakir Jaffer had abducted Noor Mukadam, did not inform the police.”

The sixth charge was similar in nature as it stated that they did not disclose to the police that their son had planned to murder Noor.

The seventh charge accused Zakir and Zahoor (Therapyworks CEO) of “causing disappearance of evidence”.

The eighth charge was framed jointly against Zakir, Asmat, Iftikhar (watchman), Jan Mohammad (gardener) and Jameel (cook) that “they were well aware of illegal act and activities of Zahir” but they did not inform the police.

The ninth and 10th charges are also jointly framed against Iftikhar, Jan Mohammad and Jameel for concealing the abduction of Noor and Zahir’s murder plan from the police. They have also been accused in the 11th and 12th charge of not letting the deceased escape from the Zahir's illegal confinement.

The 13th, 14th and 15th charges were against Zakir and the owner and workers of Therapyworks for concealing the facts and causing disappearance of evidence.

Zahir's parents

Zahir’s parents were taken into custody on July 24 following their son's arrest for allegedly concealing material facts from the investigation team. Subsequently, they had approached a district and sessions court for bail.

The local court had on Aug 5 dismissed their post-arrest bail applications and observed that they had abetted Noor's murder and attempted to conceal material evidence.

Later, they approached the IHC for bail, which also rejected their plea and ordered authorities to keep them in detention until the completion of the trial.

However, the Supreme Court had on Oct 18 granted bail to Adamjee, Zahir's mother, remarking that her role in the case was "secondary".

Case background

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.

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