Islamabad police on Tuesday issued a detailed statement clarifying the progress in the Noor Mukadam murder case, stating that the shirt of the primary accused, Zahir Jaffer, was stained with the victim's blood at the time of his arrest.

The clarification comes a day after the investigation officer (IO), during his cross-examination by Zahir's lawyer, told an Islamabad court that the National Forensic Science Agency (NFSA) did not find Zahir's fingerprints on the knife, which was the weapon of offence, recovered from the crime scene.

He also told a court that there were no bloodstains on Zahir's pants when he was arrested and that he did not get the photo collected from the digital video recorder (DVR) vetted through a photogrammetry test.

According to a statement issued by the police today, Islamabad IG Mohammad Ahsan Younas held a meeting to review the progress of the case "in context of yesterday's proceedings and media reports" and also asked senior officers to "explain the proceedings".

The statement said that some media reports had "misinterpreted" the proceedings and the IO's responses to questions by the defence counsel. The police chief was told that during the IO's cross-examination, the officer answered briefly as he had been told to answer either "yes" or "no".

"The answers must corroborate with the facts of the case file. However, this whole proceeding got misinterpreted in some media reports," the statement said.

In its statement, police also reproduced some questions that were posed to the investigation officer by the defence counsel and then provided some context to those answers.

Explaining the lack of blood on Zahir's pants, the statement said that as per the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) report, the pants were not stained but "the shirt of the accused was stained with the blood of the victim".

It added that while there were no fingerprints found on the knife recovered from the crime scene, other forensic findings did point towards the involvement of the primary accused.

"The knife recovered from the crime scene was taken into custody, sealed by NFSA and sent to PFSA for fingerprints which could not be developed by the latter. But the report confirmed [the] blood of Noor on the knife," the statement said.

Regarding the photogrammetry test for identifying the victim, police said that it was not conducted as it is used to identify the accused only "so that he could not negate his presence at the crime scene".

"The detailed report of the PFSA is yet to be read on the next hearing which contains comprehensive forensic evidence, sufficient for the conviction of the accused. The crime scene was visited by senior most officers at the time of occurrence and [the] scene was completely preserved by forensic experts of NFSA to avoid any contamination," the statement added.

The statement also highlighted five facts that had been confirmed by the reports from the PFSA, including the fact that Noor was raped before being killed.

"(She) made every possible attempt to save her life before being killed," the police said, adding that Zahir's DNA, i.e. his skin, had been found under her nails.

The shirt worn by and recovered from Zahir was stained with Noor's blood and her DNA was also found on his shirt. Police also said that Noor was killed with the Swiss knife recovered from the crime scene as her blood had been found on the blade and handle.

Noor was also attacked with a knuckleduster recovered from the crime scene, the statement added.

"All these forensic pieces of evidence were collected from the crime scene in a professional manner and were sent to PFSA. These are very strong pieces of forensic evidence and the investigation team is committed to seek justice for Noor," the police statement said.

The IG also directed officials to follow the case "in the best possible manner", adding that he should be briefed regularly in this regard. The meeting was attended by the DIG Operations, the chief prosecutor, SSP Investigation, SP Investigation, DSP Legal and IO of the case.

Brutal murder

Noor, 27, was found murdered at the Jaffers' residence in Islamabad's upscale Sector F-7/4 on July 20, 2021. A first information report was registered the same day against Zahir — who was arrested from the site of the murder — under Section 302 (premeditated murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) on the complaint of the victim's father.

Zahir's parents and household staff were also arrested on July 24 over allegations of "hiding evidence and being complicit in the crime".

The IO in July had told the court of the duty magistrate that the alleged killer tortured Noor with a knuckleduster before beheading her.

A trial court on October 14 had indicted Zahir along with 11 others — 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 — in the case. The murder trial formally began on Oct 20.

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