Tuesday April 16, 2024

Zahir Jaffer gets double death sentence in Noor Mukadam murder case

Court converts Jaffer's 25-year imprisonment sentence with hard labour and Rs0.2 million fine also into death sentence for rape

By Awais Yousafzai
March 13, 2023
Police escort Zahir Jaffer, the convicted murderer of Noor Mukadam,a 27-year-old woman, to a court. — AFP/File
Police escort Zahir Jaffer, the convicted murderer of Noor Mukadam,a 27-year-old woman, to a court. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday not only upheld the capital punishment awarded to Zahir Jaffer by a trial court but also turned his life imprisonment into a death sentence in a case relating to the rape and brutal murder of Noor Mukadam.

The verdict, issued by a two-member divisional bench comprising Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan, was reserved on appeals filed against the punishment awarded to the convicts and acquittal of co-accused for the killing of the 27-year-old woman.

In its judgement today, the IHC dismissed not only Zahir’s but also the pleas of his domestic help Mohammad Iftikhar and Mohammad Jan — both co-accused in the case — who had challenged the verdict of the trial court.

He earlier received a 25-year imprisonment sentence with hard labour and a fine of Rs0.2 million after the rape was proven.

The IHC reserved a verdict on December 21 last year in the high-profile murder case in which the prime accused, Jaffer, was sentenced to death after a long-drawn-out trial of over four months.

The trial court awarded a death sentence to Jaffer last February, while the two suspects Jan Muhammad and Muhammad Iftikhar — the gardener and security guard at Jaffer's house — were awarded 10 years of imprisonment each.

Other suspects in the case including Jaffer's parents Zakir Jaffer and Ismat Adamjee along with all employees of Therapy Works were acquitted by the court.

The convict also received a 25-year imprisonment sentence with hard labour and a fine of Rs0.2 million. Jaffer was also awarded a 10-year imprisonment sentence for the abduction and an additional one-year for keeping the victim in illegal confinement.

Before reserving its judgement in the case, the court remarked the lawyers of the parties were allowed to submit their additional arguments on the pleas within seven days.

The verdict was reserved after hearing the arguments from parties in separate pleas against the death sentence handed out to Jaffer, and the acquittal of convicts and accused — filed by Noor’s father.

Noor Mukadam murder case

Twenty-seven-year-old Noor was found dead at the residence of the prime suspect, Jaffer, in Islamabad's upscale Sector F-7/4 on July 20, 2021.

The gruesome murder sent shockwaves across the country and sparked nationwide outrage and calls for justice for Noor which resulted in the successful trial and eventual conviction of her murderer.

After a first information report (FIR) was registered under Section 302 (premeditated murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) on behalf of Noor's father — former Pakistani ambassador Shaukat Ali Mukadam — Zahir was arrested with a murder weapon and bloodstained clothes from the crime scene on the day of the killing.

According to Noor's father, Zahir killed Noor with a sharp instrument and severed her head.

As the police went deeper into investigations, Zahir's parents were found involved in concealing evidence and assisting their son in the crime. Both Zahir's mother and father were arrested on July 25, 2021.

However, the couple was later granted bail on separate occasions as they reached out to higher courts for release on bail.

Moreover, six employees of Therapy Works, a leading therapy and drug rehabilitation centre in Islamabad, were also arrested.

The organisation came under scrutiny after it was revealed that Zahir Jaffer, had himself been associated with Therapy Works.

Moreover, Zahir was sent on judicial and physical remands multiple times for interrogations before the trial started.

The trial of the gruesome murder continued for four months and eight days. The trial court finally reached a decision in the high-profile case after multiple twists and deferrals on February 24.