Khawaja Haris, the lawyer of Zakir Jaffer and Ismat Adamjee, the parents of the prime suspect in the Noor Muqaddam murder case, argued before the Islamabad High Court on Friday that the confessional statement of the (suspect) before an investigation officer has no legal status.
Arguing on the post-arrest bail application of Zakir Jaffer and Ismat Adamjees before IHC judge Justice Amir Farooq, Khawaja Harris said that he wanted to apprise the court of the confessional statement of Zahir Jaffer and the call data record the police have.
Khawaja Haris while reading Zahir Jaffar’s initial confessional statement said that it said that when Noor Muqaddam refused to get married, she and the suspect had a bitter fight. He while quoting the confessional statement of Zahir Jaffer argued that Noor Muqaddam threatened she would file a police case and will humiliate him if he did not desist. He (Zahir Jaffer) called his father and said that he wanted to get rid of Noor by killing her. The co-accused lawyer said that this particular statement was not included in the initial statement of Zahir Jaffar.
According to the initial confessional statement, he said, Zahir Jafar informed his family members after the murder. He said that it will be determined during the trial whether the statement was correct. Khawaja Harris while quoting court decisions regarding the legality of the statement said that the statement of the accused recorded during the police custody has no legal status. The statement of the accused must be recorded before the magistrate, he said.
The defence lawyer said that the police have provided the call data record of Zahir Jaffer, who made the calls to his parents. “It is not on the record what did Zahir Jaffer say to his father on the phone after the incident? No transcript of the conversation on the phone has come to light yet,” he argued.
To this, Justice Amir Farooq said that the transcript of the conversation will only be available if the call is recorded, the world is changing and the country’s law also needs to be modernized.
The lawyer said that the prosecution or the defendant may present any evidence in this regard during the trial.
In the call data record, nothing is on the record what did Zahir Jaffar say to his father on the call? Khawaja Harris said that the call data provided by the police was of the calls made between Zahir and Zakir. The incident happened first and no record of messages has been presented in the court. The entire record of the messages is with the police, he said adding that it would also be seen who was the person who first received the call from Zahir Jaffer.
Justice Amir Farooq said that the trial is also televised in the United States. We have to make rules about televising yet. If a murder occurred a year ago, provisions of terrorism were added at a later stage but the Supreme Court has stopped this practice.
Khawaja Harris said that abetting in crime is always intentional and planned. Even if the father knew about the murder and could have stopped the murder by telling the police, this did not tantamount to abetting in a crime.
Upon completion of the arguments of the defendant’s counsel, the court inquired whether he would also like to give counter-arguments. To which Khawaja Harris said that he would like to give counter-arguments after arguments.
The court sought arguments from Shaukat Muqaddam’s lawyer Shah Khawar, who told the court he will little more than an hour to complete his arguments. The court adjourned the hearing till September 21. The investigating officer of the case will give arguments.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 18th, 2021.
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