ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) while hearing appeals against the convictions in the Noor Mukadam murder case asked the prosecutor to play the CCTV footage in the courtroom to determine the role of the security guard who had stopped Ms Mukadam from leaving the house.

On Feb 24, a sessions court sentenced Zahir Jaffer to death and security guard Mohammad Iftikhar and gardener Jan Mohammad to 10 years in jail for abetment. IHC division bench comprising Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan resumed hearing the appeals of convicts against the verdict.

Advocate Raja Shafat, counsel representing Iftikhar, argued that being a security guard his client had nothing to do with the something happening inside the house. He said that the prosecution did not prove the “ill intention” of Iftikhar in the said murder.

Being a “domestic servant”, he could not say anything to Zahir Jaffer, he said, adding that since Noor Mukadam was a friend of Zahir and was a “regular visitor”, he thought the “brawl as a routine matter”.

Counsel says prosecution did not prove ‘ill intention’ of security guard

Justice Farooq inquired about specific allegations against Iftikhar. The court was told that on July 19, 2021 Ms Mukadam came to Jaffer’s house of her own will. Following the “quarrel”, she attempted to save her life by trying to leave the house but the watchman did not allow her to exit the gate. Consequently, Zahir Jaffer 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 Iftikhar and Mohammad did not allow her to leave the house. Once again, Zahir Jaffer forcibly took her back to the room and locked her up.

The trial court’s judge noted in the verdict that both the domestic servants witnessed the cruel treatment meted out to Ms Mukadam but did not bother to inform the police. The counsel argued that Iftikhar distanced himself from the fight between Ms Mukadam and Zahir Jaffer and instead of physically stopping her from leaving the house, he went to the basement of the house instead.

Justice Farooq inquired from the counsel as to why Iftikhar did not make any effort to set her free when Zahir Jaffer had made her hostage inside the room. The counsel replied that both Ms Mukadam and Zahir Jaffer went outside the house late at night on July 19, therefore, Iftikhar was under the impression that “relations between the two had turned normal”.

The court then sought a timeline of the incident and observed that the friendly relations between both of them turned acrimonious with the passage of time and reached at worst when Ms Mukadam had to jump from the first floor to save her life but her attempt was foiled because of the security guard and the gardener.

The counsel of the convict on the other hand insisted that after this episode, ties between the two were “normal as they went outside the house together”. Upon this, Justice Farooq remarked that the court can determine the role of the security guard after watching the CCTV footage.

He directed the state’s counsel to make arrangements to play the footage of this incident when he will argue the case. Further hearing in this matter has been adjourned till Dec 13.

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2022

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