Noor murder case: Court rejects Zahir Jaffer’s plea against Islamabad IGP


A district and sessions court in Islamabad dismissed on Monday three pleas — including one against the Islamabad Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammad Ahsan Younas — filed by the primary accused, Zahir Jaffer, in the Noor Mukadam murder case.

The petition against the police chief asked the court to direct the IGP and his officials to perform their duties and let the court proceed with the case in a legal manner. It said the IGP and senior police officers held a press conference on January 25 and “attempted to give an impression that the court proceedings are conducted wrong” and need clarification.

The petition was filed after a clarification issued by the capital police last month regarding the investigating officer’s (IO) cross examination.

In a press release, the police had said that media reports “misinterpreted” January 24 proceedings of the case, when the IO was cross-examined, and gave the impression that an attempt was being made to give benefit to the main murder accused.

The police statement had clarified the IO’s statements as reported in the media and gave more context to his answers given during his cross-examination by Zahir’s lawyer.

Moreover, the police statement said, “very strong pieces of forensic evidence” were available against Zahir, and that “the investigation is committed to seek justice for Noor.”

Presenting arguments in court today, prosecutor Rana Hasan Abbas said the IGP and other police officers did not hold a press conference but had issued a press release on Twitter.

He assured the judge that no further clarifications would be issued by the police and requested the court to dismiss Zahir’s plea.

While lawyer Shahryar Nawaz Khan, who represented Zahir at the hearing, was presenting his arguments on the matter, Additional Sessions Judge Ata Rabbani said police’s clarification was not issued over court proceedings but on erroneous reporting by the media.

At that, Khan raised the question whether the IGP could issue a clarification in case of wrong reporting by the media.

Presenting his arguments on another petition, pertaining to the map of the crime scene, Zahir’s lawyer said the map was incorrect.

“The crime scene map shows a residential area behind the place of the incident (murder) when actually a jungle is located there,” he contended.

In his arguments, the prosecutor, however, contested the claim, saying that “green area and jungle” were shown in the map and also mentioned in details included in the indictment.

But Zahir’s lawyer requested the court for an analysis of the crime scene.

With regards to the third petition, seeking the verification of a mobile phone number given by Noor’s father and complainant in the case, Shaukat Mukadam, the lawyer said the latter claimed that it belonged to his wife, Kausar Mukadam.

He claimed that the number was registered under someone else’s name and requested the court to seek its records.

The prosecutor, however, argued that the ownership of the number had been confirmed by the call detail records, which included data of the user’s location.

He said the only purpose of filing a complaint under section 540 (power to summon material witness or examine person present) of the Code of Criminal Procedure at this stage, in connection with the plea, would be to further delay the proceedings.

Saying there was no mention of the number in question in the case, he termed the plea “non-maintainable”.

Following the arguments, Judge Rabbani initially reserved his verdicts on all three pleas and later dismissed all of them.

The court has already rejected an application filed by Zahir, seeking the constitution of a medical board to determine his mental health.

In its written order on the plea, the court said it had been raised “just to get rid of criminal liability”.

Case background

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

After the FIR was registered in the murder case, Zahir’s parents and household staff were arrested 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.