Additional Sessions Judge Atta Rabbani sentences Zahir Zakir Jaffer to death for murder of Noor Mukadam
ISLAMABAD ( Web News )
Zahir Zakir Jaffer, prime accused in the Noor Mukadam murder case, was sentenced to death while his parents, Zakir Jaffer and Ismat Adamjee, were acquitted by a sessions courts in Islamabad on Thursday.
Other accused in the case, including Therapy Works employees, were also acquitted by the court, presided by Additional Sessions Islamabad Judge Atta Rabbani.
However, co-accused Jan Mohammed and Iftikhar, employed by Zahir Jaffer, were sentenced to 10 years in jail as they were found guilty of facilitating the murder of Noor by not informing the police and helping Zahir.
In its order, the trial court said Zahir can appeal against the verdict in the Islamabad High Court within seven days. “He is directed to pay Rs.500,000 as compensation to the legal heir of the deceased as required under section 544-A CrPC,” said the court in its order.
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 Rs.100,000 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.
Iftikhar and Mohammad Jan, meanwhile, 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 and they, too, were granted the benefit of Section 382(B) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
According to the judge, the death sentence awarded to the convict shall be subject to confirmation by the Islamabad High Court (IHC). “Reference under Section 374 of CrPC be immediately submitted” to the high court for confirmation of the awarded sentence.
The trial court also found him guilty of rape and sentenced him to 25-year in jail under Section 376(1) of the Pakistan Penal Code along with a fine of Rs200,000. “The sentences of imprisonment shall run concurrently and the accused is granted benefit of Section 382(B) of CrPC,” the order added.
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, 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.
Shortly after the verdict was out, Noor’s father Shaukat Mukadam said a favourable court decision was critical. He said he repeatedly said that this case was not only about his daughter, but was a question of all the daughters of Pakistan.
Shaukat said that he was expecting a favourable decision and that he is glad that the court took the right decision. However, he denied commenting on the suspects who have been acquitted.
Noor’s father said that he was not contacted by anybody regarding a patch-up and even if somebody contacts him now, he will not agree to it.
Replying to a question regarding media trials and support from society, he said that the world was standing with them and his family did not need to put in much effort to highlight Noor’s case.
Ahead of the verdict on Thursday, 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, complainant Shaukat and other co-accused who were out on bail, including Therapy Works employees and Zahir’s mother Asmat Adamjee, were also present in 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 four detained accused, including Zahir, were later sent back from the court once the judge was done with them.
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.
Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry and PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif also reacted to the court’s decision in the case.
Taking to Twitter, Fawad lauded the police and prosecution for leading the case to a fair conclusion. “This is the justice that the Pakistani people expect hope that the institutions affiliated with law and justice will meet their expectations and the rule of law will prevail,” he wrote.
“The wounds Noor Mukadam’s rape and murder inflicted on the collective conscience of humanity may never heal but it is reassuring that beasts in human disguise will realise that consequences can be grave,” Maryam wrote on Twitter.
She said that Zahir’s crimes were not only confined to rape and murder but also to the fact that he used his money and influence to assail the credibility of the victim. “This perhaps is the only crime where the victim becomes the accused,” she added.