After all parties delivered their final arguments, a sessions court in Islamabad reserved its judgement in the Noor Mukadam murder case on Tuesday.
Session Extensions Today’s court sessions were presided over by Judge Ata Rabbani, who later confirmed that the verdict would be announced on Thursday (Feb 24).
On July 20, last year, Noor, a 27-year-old woman, was found slain at a home in the capital’s affluent Sector F-7/4. On the complaint of the victim’s father, retired diplomat Shaukat Ali Mukadam, a first information report (FIR) was filed the same day under Section 302 (premeditated murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) against principal accused Zahir Jaffer, who was arrested from the crime scene.
Zahir’s parents and domestic employees were arrested on July 24 after the FIR in the murder case was filed, allegedly for “hiding evidence and being involved in the crime.” Based on Noor’s father’s account, they were included in the inquiry.
The court hearings began today with Nisar Asghar, Shaukat’s lawyer, presenting his case.
During cross-examination, he accused the defence of not even sparing the court’s sanctity. “It was stated that Shaukat had gotten the accused detained because of his power,” Asghar remarked, claiming that if he had exerted pressure, the house where the event occurred would have been sealed shut instead of people walking back and forth.
“According to reports, the police station was used to plan the case. If that were the case, there would have been consistency [in the police reports], and the writing would have been consistent as well “He was adamant.
The defense’s assertion that Noor and Zahir were in a “living relationship” was a fabrication, according to Asghar.
He stated some alleged differences in the probe might be attributed to “incompetence but not bad intent.”
Meanwhile, Shah Khawar, another lawyer for Noor’s father, said the case had substantial evidence, citing the digital video recorder, call data record (CDR), forensic analysis, and DNA results.
“All evidence in this instance was gathered scientifically,” he said, adding that the prosecution had proven the case against the accused and urging the court to impose a harsh penalty.
Meanwhile, prosecutor Rana Hassan Abbas slammed the defense’s attempt to blame Shaukat for not giving a statement regarding the dead body, adding “the biggest evidence is that Zahir Jafar was arrested at the site.”
“The DVR was declared legitimate and taken as the final piece of evidence,” he added, adding that Zahir was apprehended with the murder weapon and blood on his clothes at the crime site.
“There is no doubt [that he is guilty] after that,” Abbas remarked.
He said that the forensic findings supported the case because Zahir’s DNA matched samples taken from under Noor’s fingernails. He went on to say that Noor’s blood matched samples taken from several locations and objects, including a knuckle duster, a Swiss knife, a toothpick, and others.
Zahir’s photogrammetry test had also matched, according to the prosecution, which he added “cannot be ignored.”
“Drugs and poison were not identified in Noor Mukadam’s lungs according to the medical report,” he said, dismissing the primary accused’s assertions that Noor was under the influence of drugs.
Zahir’s mother should be given the benefit of the doubt: in his counter-arguments, lawyer Asad Jamal, counsel for Zahir’s mother Asmat Adamjee, criticised the way the CDR was handled in the case. He said that the prosecution’s case hinged on all of the defendants communicating with one another, and he encouraged the prosecution to prove that the parents were aware of the murder.
Jamal claimed that the CDR was generated by a third party and that it should have been received through the proper channels, pleading with the court to give his client the benefit of the doubt.
Shahryar Nawaz, the lawyer for primary accused Zahir Jaffer, then made his counter-arguments, saying: “According to the prosecution, Zahir Jaffer’s fingerprints can be found on everything. The prosecution has yet to explain why Zahir Jaffer’s fingerprints were not found on the murder weapon.”
He was also perplexed as to why Noor’s mother was not included in the probe.
Last to speak was Sajjad Bhatti, who represented the domestic employees — Iftikhar (watchman), Jan Mohammad (gardener), and Jameel (chef).
He said that his clients had merely done their jobs and had no knowledge of what was going on between Noor and Zahir, and that keeping the children of the co-accused in the case was “financially murdering” them.
The investigation has left Noor’s father ‘totally satisfied.’
Shaukat Mukadam, Noor’s father, told the media after the hearing that he wanted “highest punishment” for the guilty and that he trusted Judge Ata Rabbani.
“He has conducted a fair and transparent trial,” Shaukat said of the judge’s handling of the case, adding that despite “some ups and downs,” he was “totally satisfied” with the investigation and praised the police for working “under pressure.”
“It was a trying moment for me, but I had complete faith in my daughter. Noor Mukadam was a good girl who had not been involved in any wrongdoings “Shaukat said.
Shaukat claimed in his complaint that on July 19, he went to Rawalpindi to buy a goat for Eidul Azha, while his wife went out to pick up garments from the tailor. When he returned home in the evening, the couple discovered that their daughter Noor was missing from their Islamabad home.
They discovered her mobile number was switched off and began looking for her. According to the FIR, Noor called her parents later to notify them that she was going to Lahore with some friends and would be back in a day or two.
According to the complaint, he afterwards received a call from Zahir, whose family they knew. According to the FIR, the suspect informed Shaukat that Noor was not with him.
The victim’s father received a call from Kohsar police station about 10 p.m. on July 20 alerting him that Noor had been murdered.
According to the FIR, the complainant was taken to Zahir’s home in Sector F-7/4, where he learned that his “daughter had been brutally murdered with a sharp-edged instrument and beheaded.”
Shaukat, who discovered his daughter’s body, has demanded that Zahir be punished to the full extent of the law for allegedly murdering his daughter.
Zahir admitted to killing Noor, according to police, and his DNA test and fingerprints also proved his involvement in the murder.
Six Therapy Works officials, whose personnel had visited the murder scene before police arrived, were also nominated in the case and indicted in October, along with six others, including Zahir Jaffer’s parents.