The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday not only upheld the death sentence of Zahir Jaffer in the Noor Mukadam murder case, but also converted his 25-year jail term into another death penalty.

A two-member division bench comprising IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Sardar Ijaz Ishaq Khan announced the verdict today which was earlier reserved on Dec 21.

In its judgement today, the IHC rejected Zahir’s plea while also dismissing the pleas of his household staff Mohammad Iftikhar and Mohammad Jan — both co-accused in the case — who had challenged the trial court’s verdict.

Noor, 27, was found murdered at Jaffar’s residence in the capital’s upscale Sector F-7/4 on July 20 last year. A first information report (FIR) was registered the same day against Zahir Jaffer — the primary accused 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, Shaukat Mukadam, who is a retired diplomat.

On Feb 24, 2022, an Islamabad sessions court sentenced Zahir to death and awarded 10-year imprisonment to two co-accused Mohammad Iftikhar and Jan Mohammad.

Zahir’s parents — father Zakir Jaffer and mother Asmat Adamji — as well as TherapyWorks personnel, had been indicted by an Islamabad district and sessions court in October 2021 but were later acquitted by the sessions court when Jaffer was sentenced.

Following the verdict, Zahir had approached the IHC in March 2022 challenging his death sentence.

Case history

After a first information report was registered in the case and Zahir was arrested, his parents and household staff were also taken into custody by police on July 24 over allegations of “hiding evidence and being complicit in the crime”. They were made a part of the investigation based on Noor’s father’s statement.

In his complaint, Shaukat had stated that he had gone to Rawalpindi on July 19 to buy a goat for Eidul Azha, while his wife had gone out to pick up clothes from her tailor. When he had returned home in the evening, the couple found their daughter Noor absent from their house in Islamabad.

They had found her cellphone number switched off and started a search for her. Sometime later, Noor had called her parents to inform them that she was travelling to Lahore with some friends and would return in a day or two, according to the FIR.

The complainant said he had later received a call from Zahir, whose family were their acquaintances. Zahir had informed Shaukat that Noor was not with him, the FIR said.

At around 10pm on July 20, the victim’s father had received a call from Kohsar police station, informing him that Noor had been murdered.

Police had subsequently taken the complainant to Zahir’s house in Sector F-7/4 where he discovered that his “daughter has been brutally murdered with a sharp-edged weapon and beheaded”, according to the FIR.

Shaukat, who identified his daughter’s body, has sought the maximum punishment under the law against Zahir for allegedly murdering his daughter.

Police later said that Zahir had confessed to killing Noor while his DNA test and fingerprints also showed his involvement in the murder.

Six officials of Therapy Works, whose employees had visited the site of the murder before police, were also nominated in the case and were indicted with six others, including Zahir Jaffer’s parents, in October.

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