• Noor’s father says no to out-of-court settlement
• Convict was also found guilty of rape, awarded 25 years in jail
ISLAMABAD: A sessions court on Thursday sentenced Zahir Jaffer to death for the murder of Noor Mukadam. The court also found Jaffer — the main accused in the gruesome murder of Ms Mukadam — guilty of rape and handed him 25 years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs200,000.
In a packed court room on Thursday morning, Additional District and Sessions Judge Ata Rabbani announced the verdict which was reserved on Feb 22.
The court sentenced two co-accused Mohammad Iftikhar and Jan Mohammad — both domestic servants at Jaffer’s house — to 10 years’ imprisonment. Iftikhar and Mohammad, who were working as watchman and gardener, respectively, were punished for aiding in the abetment of crime.
However, Jaffer’s parents — Zakir Jaffer and mother Asmat Adamji — as well as TherapyWorks personnel were acquitted by the sessions court. Jamil Ahmed, a chef at the Jaffer’s residence, was acquitted by the court.
On July 20, 2021, Ms Mukadam, 27, was found murdered at Jaffer’s house in Islamabad. Following the grisly discovery of her body, Jaffer was taken into custody. According to the FIR registered by her father, former diplomat Shaukat Mukadam, he discovered that his “daughter has been brutally murdered with a sharp-edged weapon and beheaded”. As gruesome details of the rape and murder emerged, the public rallied behind the demand of Mr Mukadam wherein he sought maximum punishment under the law against Jaffer for allegedly murdering his daughter.
Discussing the prosecution evidence, the court noted that Ms Mukadam went to Jaffer’s house on July 19, 2021 of her own will. Following a brawl, she attempted to save her life by leaving the house but the watchman did not allow her to leave. The principal accused overpowered her and forcibly took her to the room.
She then attempted to save her life on July 20 by jumping from a washroom window situated on the first floor of the house and rushed towards the main gate, clutching her mobile phone in her hand but the co-accused Iftikhar and Mohammad did not allow her to go outside the house. Once again, Jaffer forcibly took her back to the room and locked her.
The judge noted that the both the domestic servants witnessed Jaffer’s cruel treatment towards Ms Mukadam but did not bother to inform the police.
As per the verdict, through this evidence the prosecution has established the role of all the three convicts.
The court absolved the cook, noting that “there is no evidence against him regarding the commission of offence, he is not visible in the CCTV footage, even he was not performing his duty at main gate.”
The verdict further stated that the reports of Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) substantiated the allegation that Jaffer had raped and beheaded Ms Mukadam after forcibly detaining her into the room.
It said that in order to dodged the legal course, the counsel of Jaffer — the principal accused — made efforts to prove that he was mentally ill. However, the medical board declared Jaffer mentally fit, it added.
Noor’s case about ‘all daughters of Pakistan’
Shortly after the verdict was out, Noor’s father Shaukat Mukadam said a favourable court decision was critical. He repeatedly said that this case was not only about his daughter, but was a question of all the daughters of Pakistan.
Mr Mukadam said that he was expecting a favourable decision and that he is glad that the court took the right decision. He refrained from commenting on the suspects who have been acquitted.
Ms Mukadam’s father said that he was not contacted by anybody for an out of court settlement, adding that and even if somebody contacts him now, he will not agree to it.
Replying to a question regarding media trials and support from society, he said that the world was standing with him and his family and they did not need to put in much effort to highlight Noor’s case.
Noor Mukadam case has been called a test case repeatedly due to the influential background of the prime accused. The outpour of grief offline and online eventually led to the demand #JusticeForNoor, with a large section of the society demanding strictest punishment.
Following the verdict, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry and PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif and vice president Maryam Nawaz also reacted to the court’s decision in the case.
Taking to Twitter, Chaudhary lauded the police and the prosecution for leading the case to a fair conclusion.
“This is the justice that the Pakistani people expect [...] hope that the institutions affiliated with law and justice will meet their expectations and the rule of law will prevail,” he tweeted.
Shahbaz Sharif in a statement said that such decisions heal wounds of the aggrieved family.
“The wounds Noor Mukadam’s rape and murder inflicted on the collective conscience of humanity may never heal but it is reassuring that beasts in human disguise will realise that consequences can be grave,” Ms Nawaz tweeted.
She said that Zahir’s crimes were not only confined to rape and murder but also to the fact that he used his money and influence to assail the credibility of the victim.
“This perhaps is the only crime where the victim becomes the accused,” she added.
Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2022
Dear visitor, the comments section is undergoing an overhaul and will return soon.