Zahir Jaffer convicted as
killer of Noor Mukadam,
sentenced to death,
2 accused also jailed

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ISLAMABAD: A sessions court in Islamabad on Thursday sentenced Zahir Jaffer to death for the grisly July murder of Noor Mukadam, bringing to a close a saga that has gripped the nation and a trial that was one of the most-closely watched in recent Pakistani history.

Mukadam, the daughter of a former Pakistani diplomat, was found beheaded in Islamabad’s upscale F-7/4 neighborhood in July last year. The murder sparked public outrage and grabbed media attention unlike any other recent crime against women. The key suspect in the murder, Zahir Jaffer, was arrested from the crime scene, his residence, on the day of the murder. He was indicted last October.

ISLAMABAD: Zahir Jaffer, primary accused in the Noor Mukadam murder case, is being brought to a sessions court in Islamabad on Thursday.

Others charged in the case include Jaffer’s parents, Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee, their three household staff, Iftikhar, Jan Muhammad and Jameel, and six employees of Therapy Works, a counseling center from where Jaffer had received certification to become a therapist and where he had been receiving treatment in the weeks leading up to the murder. Police say a team from the counseling center was already at the crime scene when they arrived on July 20, having been summoned by Jaffer’s parents. The charges against Jaffer’s parents and the counselling team range from evidence tampering to abetment.

The trial for the case, which began in October, was conducted at Islamabad’s district court, and heard by additional sessions judge Atta Rabbani.

On Thursday, the judge announced the death sentence for Jaffer. Two members of his household staff were sentenced to 10 years in jail, while all others, including the parents and TherapyWorks employees, were acquitted.

ISLAMABAD: Zahir Jaffer, primary accused in the Noor Mukadam murder case, is being brought to sessions court in Islamabad on 20th October 2021,

Mukaddam’s father Shaukat Mukadam hailed the court’s verdict and thanked the media for keeping the matter “alive”.

“An exemplary punishment has been given to the primary accused,” he told media, calling the verdict a “victory” for the court and justice.

Zahir’s household staff Mohammad Iftikhar and Mohammad Jan — both co-accused in the case — were sentenced to 10 years in jail, while all others, including Zahir’s parents and TherapyWorks employees, were acquitted.

Additional Sessions Judge Ata Rabbani announced the verdict, which was reserved on Tuesday following months of hearings. Zahir, his father Zakir Jaffer, mother Asmat Adamjee and other suspects were present in the court when the verdict was announced.

Noor Mukadam

According to the court’s short order, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, Zahir has been sentenced to death under Section 302(b) (premeditated murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). The death sentence, however, is subject to confirmation by the Islamabad High Court.

He has also been ordered to pay Rs0.5 million to Noor’s legal heir. In case of non-payment, the amount would be realised as arrears of land revenue and in case of non-realisation, he would have to undergo six months simple imprisonment.

Additionally, he has been sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs100,000 for kidnapping in order to murder (Section 364) and one year of rigorous imprisonment for wrongful confinement (Section 342).

The imprisonment sentences would run concurrently with the benefit of Section 382(B) (period of detention to be considered while awarding sentence of imprisonment) of the Criminal Procedure Code granted to the convict.

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.

“Exemplary punishment”; says Noor’s father

Shaukat Ali Mukadam, father of the slain Noor Mukadam

Noor’s father Shaukat Mukadam hailed the court’s verdict and thanked the media for keeping the matter “alive”. “An exemplary punishment has been given to the primary accused,” he said while speaking to the media outside the court. He termed the verdict as a “victory” for the court and justice.

“Everyone was praying [for justice]. The whole nation and world were with us,” he added.

Ahead of the verdict today, Zahir was brought to the court along with the other co-accused — Zakir Jaffer (Zahir’s father), Iftikhar (watchman) and Jan Mohammad (gardener).

The lawyers, plaintiff Shaukat and other co-accused who are out on bail, including Therapy Works employees and Zahir’s mother Asmat Adamjee, also arrived at the court.

After the court marked the attendance of Therapy Works employees, the judge ordered for the courtroom to be emptied, saying he needed to speak to the defendants. The quartet of detained accused, including Zahir, were later sent back from the court once the judge was done with them.

Case history

After the FIR 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. The suspect 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.

Talking to the media after the last hearing, Noor’s father, Shaukat Mukadam, had said that he sought “maximum punishment” for the accused and reposed his confidence in Judge Ata Rabbani.