A lawyer for one of the accused in the Noor Mukadam murder case on Wednesday urged the judge to make the clarifications issued by Islamabad police regarding an earlier cross-examination of the investigating officer a part of the case record.

Additional Sessions Judge Ata Rabbani presided over today's proceedings.

Advocate Asad Jamal, who was representing Asmat Adamjee, mother of the primary accused Zahir Jaffer, questioned whether the clarifications given by the Islamabad police regarding Monday's hearing should be made part of the case.

When the judge asked which clarifications he was referring to, Prosecutor Rana Hassan Abbas interjected and stated that reports in the media should be left to the media.

"The Islamabad police inspector general has interfered in the justice system," Jamal said. The judge inquired whether this was done "officially", adding that if so, this was not good.

The prosecutor told the judge he would inform him if that was the case and the judge vowed to take action in this regard. The hearing was adjourned till February 2 (Wednesday).

The development comes a day after Islamabad police said media reports had "misinterpreted" Monday's proceedings. The police, in a press release, clarified that stories appearing in print and social media gave the impression that the police were trying to give benefit to the main murder accused and gave more context to the IO's answers during his cross-examination by Zahir's lawyer.

In this regard, a meeting chaired by Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammad Ahsan Younas was held to review the progress on the trial of the case in the context of Monday’s proceedings and media reports.

Cross-examination of IO

During today's hearing, Akram Qureshi and Shehzad Qureshi represented Therapyworks employees while Sajjad Ahmed Bhatti appeared as the legal counsel of the household staff of Jaffer's house and conducted the cross-examination of investigating officer (IO) Abdul Sattar.

During the cross-examination, the IO was asked about details concerning Amjad, an employee of Therapyworks, who was injured by Zahir when they tried to intervene on the day the incident took place.

The IO, who primarily replied either "yes" or "no" to the questions posed by the lawyers, said that Amjad's statement was not initially recorded as he was in critical condition. He added that Amjad was arrested on August 14 and was included in the investigation.

When one of the lawyers asked him whether Section 324 (attempted murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code was added to the FIR against Zahir after recording Amjad's statement, the IO answered that it was not.

He also said that Amjad's medical examination was not conducted and his bloodied clothes were also not seized by police.

The lawyer also questioned whether Amjad's blood was collected from the crime scene, to which the IO replied in the negative.

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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