Zahir Jaffer has been sentenced to death for the sexual assault and murder of Noor Mukadam. According to court reports Zahir Jaffer became angered after Noor Mukadam turned down his marriage proposal so he would attack the woman with a pair of brass knuckles before sexually assaulting her and chopping off her head with a sharp object. Noor Mukadam has made a number of attempts to escape Zahir Jaffer mansion however she was stopped by members of his household staff. Zahir Jaffer parents Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee were found not guilty in covering up their son’s criminal acts.
Zahir Jaffer More News
A Pakistan man has been found guilty of murdering the daughter of a distinguished diplomat in a brutal beheading case that sparked renewed calls for better protection of domestic violence victims.
An Islamabad judge sentenced Zahir Jaffer to death Thursday for killing Noor Mukadam, 27, last July at Jaffer’s family home in an affluent neighborhood in the country’s capital.
Jaffer, the 30-year-old son of an influential family and a dual Pakistan-US national, was arrested at the scene of the attack and later charged with premeditated murder, rape, abduction and confinement. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Mukadam’s father, Shaukat Mukadam, welcomed the verdict.
“This case is for all the daughters of Pakistan,” he told reporters. “The society and media came to our side, the entire nation and the world was on our side.”
Pakistan has a poor record when it comes to protecting women and girls, but Noor Mukadam’s death sent shockwaves through the country because of Jaffer’s family background and the brutal nature of the crime.
Pakistan does not have a nationwide law criminalizing domestic violence, leaving many women and girls vulnerable to assault.
Often, violence occurs within marriage and goes unreported, because it is considered a cultural norm in Pakistan’s patriarchal society, according to a World Health Organization review of literature on domestic violence in Pakistan from 2008 to 2018.
Around 28% of women between the ages of 15 and 49 have experienced physical violence since the age of 15, Pakistan’s Ministry of Human Rights said, citing the country’s Demographic and Health Survey from 2017-2018.
Activists used Mukadam’s death to renew calls for the country’s Parliament to pass legislation that would fine or imprison offenders for abusing women, children or vulnerable people.
The Pakistan Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill was proposed in 2020. If passed, it would only apply to the Islamabad Capital Territory, but activists believe it would encourage other provinces to pass similar legislation as the capital is controlled by the country’s ruling party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
The bill was passed in the lower house of the country’s Parliament in April last year, but was subsequently held up by the Senate, Parliament’s upper house, after opposition members succeeded by one vote to refer the bill to the Senate Committee on Human Rights for further review.
It was ultimately passed by the Senate last June and progressed to the next step, presidential assent, for final approval.
However, in early July, the adviser to the prime minister on parliamentary affairs, Babar Awan, wrote a letter to the speaker of Parliament, seeking a review of the bill by the all-male member Council of Islamic Ideology – the constitutional body that advises the legislature on whether or not a certain law is repugnant to Islam.
But the council has been criticized for holding archaic views rooted in patriarchy. In 2016, it proposed its own bill to allow men to “lightly beat” their wives.
Activists fear the conservative council will use its influence on the legislation to kill the bill, sending a message that violence against women in their own homes is allowed, or even condoned.
The Islamic Council told CNN on Tuesday that they still waiting on the government to work with them and move the process forward.
Zahir Jaffer Other News
A sessions court in Islamabad on Thursday handed down the death penalty to Zahir Jaffer for the murder of Noor Mukadam while his employees, watchman Muhammad Iftikhar and gardener Muhammad Jan, were sentenced to 10 years in prison for abetting in the act.
However, Additional Sessions Judge Atta Rabbani acquitted his parents, Zakir Jaffer and Ismat Adamjee, as well as other suspects in the case including Therapy Works employees, from the charge of abetment.
The judge issued a short order according to which Zahir had been sentenced to death under Section 302(b) (premeditated murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
However, the death sentence awarded to the convict shall be subject to confirmation by the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
The court also found Zahir guilty of rape and sentenced to him to 25 years of rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of Rs200,000 under Section 376 (punishment for rape) of the PPC.
“He is directed to pay Rs500,000 as compensation to the legal heir of the deceased as required under Section 544-A of the CrPC [Criminal Procedure Code],” the order read.
“In case of non-payment of [the] compensation amount, it shall be realised as arrears of land revenue. In case of non-realisation, the convict shall have to undergo six months [in jail].”
Zahir has also been sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs100,000 under Section 364 (kidnapping in order to murder) and one year of rigorous imprisonment under Section 342 (wrongful confinement).
“The sentences of imprisonment shall run concurrently and the accused is granted benefit of Section 382(B) [period of detention to be considered while awarding sentence of imprisonment] of the CrPC Criminal Procedure Code].”
The judge wrote in the order that Zahir could appeal against the verdict in the Islamabad High Court within seven days.
Iftikhar and Mohammad Jan were each sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs100,000 for abetting (Section 109), 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs100,000 for confining a kidnapped person (Section 368), one month of simple imprisonment for omitting information from a public servant (Section 176) and seven years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs100,000 for concealing a plan to commit an offence punishable with death or life imprisonment (Section 118).
Their sentences will also run concurrently as they too were granted the benefit of Section 382(B) of the CrPC.
The court noted that the prosecution had failed to establish its case against the convict’s parents, Tahir Zahoor, Dileep Kumar, Wamiq Riaz, Abdul Haq, Samar Abbas, Jamil Ahmad (the cook) and Amjad Mahmood. “Therefore, they are acquitted of the charges levelled against them.”
The order further read that the medical evidence also supported the prosecution version as the cause of death was the lack of blood supply to the brain due to separation from head from the body.
It added that the prosecution evidence had made it clear that Zahir was found in the room of “occurrence” along with Noor’s body.
The judge noted that Zahir had committed the murder of in his room situated in upper portion of the house with a Swiss knife by separating her head from the body.
The court also said the evidence had further revealed that Zahir kept Noor in his room from July 18, 2021 to July 20, 2021. During this period, she attempted to save her life by making attempts to escape, but she was overpowered by Zahir and subjected to rape.
According to Punjab Forensic Science Agency’s report, seminal material was identified on a vaginal swab from the body of Noor. The DNA profile obtained from sperm fraction matched with that of Zahir.
The court also noted that during the trial proceedings, the state counsel made efforts to have Zahir declared a “mentally disordered” person to save him from legal punishment.
Zahir was medically examined in jail hospital and the medical report was sent to the court. As per medical report, the medical officer of the jail hospital had found the health condition of Zahir as satisfactory.
Victory for justice
Shaukat Mukadam, Noor’s father, said the court’s ruling was a victory for justice.
He added that the entire nation was praying for justice in the case and thanked the media for keeping the case alive. Mukadam, a retired diplomat, said Zahir was given an “exemplary punishment” by the judge.
On July 20, 2021, Noor was brutally beheaded and murdered in Islamabad, sparking outrage across the country. Days later, #JusticeForNoor trended on social media with Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and others condemning the incident.
On July 25, the Islamabad police arrested Zahir’s parents and their household staff, Iftikhar and Jameel on the charges of hiding evidence and being complicit in the crime.
On August 15, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said that the government placed all suspects – including Zahir’s parents – linked to the murder of Noor on the no-fly list to bar them from leaving Pakistan.
On September 11, the police submitted an interim challan in the Noor murder case to the court, according to which the prime suspect, Zahir, had confessed to killing Noor after she refused to marry him.
According to reports, the DNA test also showed the victim was raped before being killed.
Zahir later meandered from his confession, claiming mental disability — which was dismissed by the additional sessions court — and then alleged that Noor was indulging in drugs at his house prior to her death.