US embassy distances itself from Noor Mukaddam murder

Diplomatic mission says it can't participate in court proceedings or affect release when Americans are arrested abroad


Our Correpondent July 27, 2021
Zahir Jaffer is being taken to a court. SCREENGRAB

ISLAMABAD:

The United States diplomatic mission in Islamabad has distanced itself from the high-profile murder of Noor Mukaddam, main accused of which is a US citizen – Zahir Jaffer.

The murder and beheading of 27-year-old girl has sparked nationwide outrage with thousands of people calling on the authorities to take the case to its logical end. According to the post-mortem report, she was beheaded after being murdered in Islamabad on July 21.

Noor was the daughter of Shaukat Mukadam, a former Pakistan ambassador to South Korea and Kazakhstan.

Also read: Zahir confesses to Noor's murder: sources

“In a foreign country, US citizens are subject to that country’s laws. When Americans are arrested abroad, the Embassy can check on their well-being and provide a list of lawyers, but cannot provide legal advice, participate in court proceedings or effect [affect] their release,” the US Embassy said in a testament on Tuesday.

Zahir, said to be the son of a business tycoon, has reportedly confessed to committing the crime.

Sources said the prime suspect has repeatedly changed his reasoning for committing the brutal crime. Islamabad police have also found video evidence of him torturing Noor on his mobile phone, as well as CCTV footage of the incident.

“In the footage, the girl can be seen trying to escape from the house by jumping from the first floor and rushing towards the main gate,” the sources added.

The victim could then be seen running to a security guard's cabin and locking herself in the room. Zahir followed her and dragged her out of the cabin, while the security guard and others in the street witnessed the events. Neither the guards nor the onlookers stopped Zahir.

Also read: Zahir involved in torture of girls in past

The accused’s physical remand was also extended by two more days. During the proceedings, state prosecutor Sajid Cheema informed the court about the progress of the case and added that a pistol had been recovered from the accused and efforts were being made to recover more data from his phone.

The prosecutor further added new provisions to the case after the arrest of additional individuals linked to the case. The legal counsel of the accused, Ansar Nawaz Mirza, opposed the extension of the physical remand.

Earlier, the Islamabad police had also arrested the parents. Jaffer’s father Zakir Jaffer and mother Asmat Adamjee were taken into custody by the police in the federal capital late on Saturday night.

The police also arrested domestic helpers Iftikhar and Jamil for investigation. The arrests of Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee were made after a detailed statement by Noor’s father, Shaukat Mukaddam.

The police produced both parents before a duty magistrate on Sunday, who handed them and their two servants to police on physical remand for two days. The police, however, did not rule out more arrests linked to Noor’s murder. They said the police are trying to piece together all the direct or indirect evidence linked to this murder.

The police said Zakir Jaffer, Asmat Adamjee, servants Iftikhar and Jameel were arrested on charges of hiding facts and assistance in crime. Meanwhile, Islamabad Deputy Commissioner reportedly ordered the seal the Therapy Works Rehabilitation Centre where the accused spent some time.

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