The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on Sunday prohibited all satellite TV channels from airing a leaked CCTV footage showing Noor Mukadam's unsuccessful attempt to escape the premises of the house where she was eventually murdered.
Noor, 27, was found brutally murdered at a residence in Islamabad's upscale Sector F-7/4 on July 20. A first information report (FIR) was registered the same day against Zahir Jaffer — the main accused, 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.
A trial court on October 14 had indicted Zahir along with 11 others in the case — his parents, their three household staff including Iftikhar (watchman), Jan Muhammad (gardener) and Jameel (cook), Therapyworks CEO Tahir Zahoor and employees Amjad, Dilip Kumar, Abdul Haq, Wamiq and Samar Abbas. The murder trial formally began on Oct 20.
According to the notification issued by Pemra, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, telecast of CCTV footage of Noor and Zahir has been prohibited under Section 27 of the Pemra Ordinance, 2002.
"All satellite TV channels (news and current affairs/regional language) are, therefore, directed to stop airing aforementioned CCTV footage immediately," the notification said.
The regulator warned that strict action will be taken against violators under Section 29, 30 and 33 of the Pemra Ordinance, 2002.
On November 9, the prosecution in the Noor case had submitted the transcript of the CCTV footage to an Islamabad sessions court. Subsequently, the court had directed the public prosecutor to provide the footage to the defence counsel.
Meanwhile, a Twitter account run by Noor's friends denounced the fact that TV channels were airing the CCTV footage despite explicit instructions from the court stating otherwise.
"Absolutely shocked and shattered. Its only been a day since the CCTV footage was given to the defence legal team," a tweet published through the account said. "The Judge told them that it shouldn't be leaked at all. Now it's out there. No regard of what this would be like for Noor's loved ones. Haven't they been through enough?"
PML-N's Marriyum Aurangzeb said she was "disappointed" to see the CCTV footage being aired.
"[I] can’t begin to imagine how distressing and difficult this must be for Noor’s family and loved ones who are being forced to relive the barbarism she was subjected too," the PML-N leader said on Twitter.
"This horrible, tragic crime tore through our social fabric and deeply affected all Pakistanis. Airing and sharing the video of Noor’s final moments only further damages that social fabric and causes anguish to her family. I’d request everyone to please not share the video," she appealed.
According to the transcript, submitted in the court of Islamabad Additional Sessions Judge Ata Rabbani, the time of the digital video recorder was 35 minutes ahead of Pakistan Standard Time.
The description of the footage said that on July 18 at 10:18pm, Noor could be seen entering Zahir's home while attending a phone call. At 2:39am on July 19, the two could be seen coming out of the house with bags, which they placed in a taxi and then went back inside.
A couple of minutes later, at 2:41am, Noor comes running barefooted towards the gate in fear and panic upon which Iftikhar (watchman) could be seen closing the gate to prevent her from leaving. The transcript added that Zahir came out of the house and grabbed Noor, proceeding to forcibly drag her back inside despite her pleading with her hands joined together.
Sometime later at 2:46am, according to the transcript, the pair could once again be seen exiting the house and approaching the gate. This time, they sit in the taxi across the street with their baggage and depart in the car.
They return just minutes later at 2:52am and go back inside the house with their bags while Iftikhar and a black dog could also be seen in the yard.
On July 20 at 7:12pm, Noor could be seen jumping from the first floor of the house, a cell phone in her hand — onto the grill beside the ground floor gallery. She then staggered towards the main gate and wanted to go out but Iftikhar and the gardener could be seen closing the door to stop her.
According to the transcript, Zahir jumped from the first floor as well, ran towards Noor and then trapped her in a cabin beside the gate. He snatched Noor's mobile phone from her and dragged her back inside the house.
At 8:06pm, Therapyworks' employees could be seen entering through the main gate and trying to enter the house at 8:42pm. Later at 8:55pm, the employees could be seen bringing out an injured person and taking them towards the gate.
After the FIR was registered in the murder case, Zahir's parents and household staff were 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 Noor's father's statement.
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 returned home in the evening, the couple found their daughter Noor absent from their house in Islamabad.
They found her cellphone number switched off and started a search for her. Sometime later, Noor 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 Zahir, whose family were the ex-diplomat's acquaintances. The suspect informed Shaukat that Noor was not with him.
At around 10pm on July 20, the victim's father received a call from Kohsar police station, informing him that Noor had been murdered.
Police subsequently took 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 Noor's body, has sought the maximum punishment under the law against Zahir for allegedly murdering his daughter.
Police later said Zahir had confessed to killing Noor, while his DNA test and fingerprints also showed his involvement in the murder.