ISLAMABAD: The focus of arguments advanced by the counsel of the convict in Noor Mukadam murder case before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday was on the loopholes in the prosecution case as he termed acquittal of nine out of the 12 accused a failure of the investigators.

When the IHC resumed hearing of the appeal filed by the convict, Usman Khosa, the counsel for Zahir Jaffer, contended before the division bench comprising Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan that the conviction of three meant that the prosecution had failed to prove 75pc of its case.

He informed the court that he would assist it to the extent of the right to a fair trial.

He added that Zahir Jaffer never signed the charge sheet; the trial court in the decision mentioned the medical report received from Adiala jail the contents of which were never stated in the verdict.

He claimed that the mental health of the convict was not ascertained as well.

The court asked if the counsel wanted to say that the medical examination of the convict was never carried out. The counsel replied that the Supreme Court’s judgements had made the check-up of an accused mandatory at any stage.

When the bench asked the counsel how the convict engaged him to file the appeal, Mr Khosa replied that his father went to the jail to get his son’s signatures on the Wakalatnama.

The court noted that only a mentally stable person can engage a lawyer and asked whether the convict had raised any objection on the medical examination conducted by the jail authorities.

Counsel of the deceased’s father, Shah Khawar Advocate, argued that the trial court had set aside the application seeking mental condition of the convict and the order was never challenged.

Advocate Khosa further argued that the registration of the First Information Report (FIR) of the murder was delayed as the complainant and his relatives deliberated upon the issue for hours.

He argued that the prosecution did not prove the case as the evidence contradicted the statements of the witnesses. He insisted that the convict was entitled for any benefit of doubt.

Chief Justice Farooq remarked that every judgement was written in a peculiar background.

Further hearing in the matter was adjourned till Thursday (today).

Noor, 27, was murdered and beheaded by Jaffer on July 20 last year. Following the gruesome incident, Jaffer was taken into the custody.

Later, the police widened the scope of the case and arrested Jaffer’s parents, domestic staff and therapy workers. The sessions court on Feb 24 sentenced Jaffer to death and also found the convict guilty of rape and handed him 25 years of rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs200,000.

The court sentenced co-accused Mohammad Iftikhar and Jan Mohammad - both domestic servants at Jaffer’s house - to 10 years’ imprisonment for abetment of the crime.

However, Jaffer’s parents - Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamji - as well as TherapyWorks personnel were acquitted. Jamil Ahmed, a chef at Jaffer’s residence, was also acquitted by the court.

Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2022

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