The counsel for Tahir Zahoor — the owner of a counselling and psychotherapy service, Therapy Works, and an accused in the Noor Mukadam murder case — requested a sessions court in Islamabad on Wednesday to hold an in-camera hearing during which CCTV footage of the events leading to the murder is played.
Noor, 27, was found murdered at a residence in the capital's upscale Sector F-7/4 on July 20. A first information report was registered the same day against primary accused Zahir Zakir Jaffer — who worked at Therapy Works and 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.
During today's hearing, Zahoor's lawyer, Akram Qureshi, verbally requested the court to play CCTV footage of the incident, saying it would clarify many details.
He added that "the footage had gone viral earlier and the matter is in your knowledge."
Qureshi also requested the court that the cross-examination of the footage be conducted during an in-camera hearing.
At that, Additional Sessions Judge Atta Rabbani said the matter would be looked into.
The CCTV footage of the incident was leaked last month, following which the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority had prohibited all satellite television channels from airing it.
Earlier, the prosecution in the case had submitted the transcript of the CCTV footage to the court.
Arguments sought on medical board formation
At today's hearing, the court also sought arguments from the parties on December 15 on an application seeking the formation of a medical board to determine the mental state of Zahir.
The application, moved at the last hearing by Zahir's counsel, Advocate Sikandar Zulqarnain Saleem, contends that Zahir "is suffering from severe mental ailment which is necessary to be determined through an authorised medical board according to the commands of legislature and local and international law".
It says that the accused is a chronic patient of mental disorder or schizoaffective disorder due to drug psychosis and the same was his position at the time of his arrest on July 20, when 27-year-old Noor, the daughter of a former Pakistani diplomat, was murdered.
On these grounds, the counsel had requested the court to authorise the setting up of a medical board to determine Zahir Jaffer's mental state "in the interest of justice".
Witness' cross-examination and statements
Prosecutor Hassan Abbas and counsels for the petitioner and the accused were present at today's hearing. Eight of the accused, including Zahir's parents — Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee — and their domestic staff, also appeared before the court. Zahir was also produced before the judge by police.
However, Basharatullah, the counsel for Zahir's father did not attend the hearing.
At the outset of the hearing, the counsels began the cross-examination of the prosecution's witness, Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Zubair Mazhar, who had recorded the statement of Noor's father, the complainant in the case, and collected evidence from the crime scene. His testimony was recorded at the last hearing.
After ASI Mazhar's cross-examination was completed, the statement of Dr Sarah, who had performed the post-mortem examination on Noor's body, was recorded.
She told the court that the post-mortem was performed at 9:30am on July 21 — a day after Noor was found dead.
Later, Adamjee's counsel requested the court to allow his client to speak to Zahir and the court accepted the request.
Following that, the court adjourned the hearing until December 15, summoning Shaukat to record his statement and a witness, computer operator Mudassir, for cross-examination.
The application filed by Tahir Zahoor requesting the court to summon the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) doctor who had conducted the medical examination of Amjad, an employee of Therapy Works who was injured by Zahir, will also be taken up at the next hearing.