The grisly murder of Noor Mukadam in the heart of Islamabad involving families from the privileged elite of Pakistani society has sparked public outrage, grabbed media attention and dominated headlines for over two months now.
Twenty-seven-year-old Noor Mukadam, daughter of former Pakistani diplomat Shaukat Mukadam, was murdered and beheaded in a posh neighbourhood of Islamabad in July. The police charged Zahir Jaffer, a US national and the heir to Jaffer Group of Companies - one of Pakistan’s wealthiest families - with murder.
July 20: Noor’s beheaded body found at Zahir Jaffer’s residence
Noor’s father, Shaukat Mukadam receives a call in the afternoon from the accused who tells him that Noor is not with him. Later, around 10 pm, he receives a call from the Kohsar Police Station, informing him that his daughter has been murdered.
Noor’s body is found at Zahir Jaffer’s residence in Sector F-7/4, Islamabad. Initial police reports claim that Noor was first shot and then beheaded. Zahir Jaffer - the prime suspect - is arrested from the scene and an FIR is registered against him at the Kohsar Police Station.
According to police reports, Zahir had blood all over his clothes. Investigators say the two were friends and that Zahir had held Noor hostage for two days before brutally murdering her.
July 21: #JusticeForNoor trends on social media
A day after Noor’s shocking murder, Islamabad Police releases photos of the horrific crime scene and #JusticeForNoor starts trending on Twitter.
آئی جی اسلام آباد نے تھانہ کوہسار کے علاقے ایف سیون فور میں خاتون کےقتل پر سینئیر افسران کے ہمراہ جائے وقوعہ کا معائنہ کیا, اب تک کی جانے والی تحقیقات کی پیشرفت کا جائزہ لیا اورخصوصی تفتیشی ٹیم تشکیل دی.تفتیشی ٹیم میں ایس ایس پی انوسٹیگیشن,ایس پی سٹی اور اےایس پی کوہسار شامل ہیں pic.twitter.com/O5jVMqXIbs— Islamabad Police (@ICT_Police) July 21, 2021
Following this, social media is replete with narratives from Noor’s friends, claiming Zahir Jaffer had a history of violent outbursts and was also deported from the UK on charges of rape.
July 22: FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi condemns violence against women; SSP Investigation Islamabad briefs media
Two days after the brutal murder, Noor Mukadam is laid to rest at the Naval Anchorage graveyard in Islamabad. Following this, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi condemns the atrocities reported in the country against women.
In reference to the horrific crimes committed against Noor and two other women, Saima Ali and Quratulain, the foreign minister states that he could not express his ‘absolute condemnation of the recent violence and brutality against women’.
I cannot express strongly enough my absolute condemnation of the recent violence and brutality against women. This has no place in our society, lives, religion or culture. We must work harder and do more for prevention & for justice.— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) July 23, 2021
For Saima, for Quratulain, for Noor.
Islamabad Investigations SSP Ata-ur-Rehman addresses a press conference on the circumstances under which Zahir Jaffer was arrested. He says the murder weapon and a pistol were seized from the suspect and refutes the earlier report that said Zahir had shot Noor before beheading her. SSP says no firearms were used.
July 23: PM Imran Khan takes notice
Prime Minister Imran Khan takes notice of the gruesome murder and asks the IG to ensure no concessions are made in the investigation. Following which, Zahir’s name is recommended for the Exit Control List and the investigation team is asked to acquire the suspect’s criminal records from the United Kingdom and the United States.
Zahir’s father, Zakir Jaffer records his statement and tells the police he was visiting Karachi for a business meeting at the time of the murder. The police also record statements of two security guards at the house.
The suspect’s DNA samples are sent for forensic examination.
July 24: Shahbaz Gill says Noor Mukadam’s murder case is a test case for the government; Therapy Works issues a statement
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill says that Prime Minister Imran Khan was personally tracking the Noor Mukadam murder case and he was constantly in touch with the Islamabad Police Inspector-General.
Talking to the media after visiting the victim’s family in Islamabad, Gill says that the premier had directed the Islamabad police chief to exhibit no leniency towards anyone involved in the murder.
Earlier, Zahir Jaffer had said he was a therapist with Therapy Works – a counselling and training service - in Islamabad. However, Therapy Works contradicts his statement and says it never authorised clinical practice for Zahir Jaffer.
According to an interim challan, Therapy Works employees tried to cover up the crime and destroy the evidence. A Therapy Works employee, who was injured by Jaffer, did not even register the incident and it was mentioned as a road accident in his medical slip, the interim challan said.
July 25: Zahir Jaffer’s parents are arrested; Court sends Zahir on remand
The Islamabad Police arrest Zahir Jaffer’s parents Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee and their household staff, Iftikhar and Jameel on the charges of hiding evidence and being complicit in the crime.
Zahir Jaffer appears in court after three days in custody and Duty Magistrate Shoaib Bilal Ranjha hears the case. During the hearing, Investigating Officer Abdul Sattar informs the court that the alleged killer, Zahir, tortured Noor with a knuckleduster before beheading her.
The police ask the court to extend Zahir’s physical remand, say that they have yet to find his mobile phone. They say they had recovered a pistol, a knife and a knuckleduster from the accused.
Zahir’s name is also added to the movement blacklist.
Meanwhile, sealing orders are issued for Therapy Works where Zahir reportedly worked as a therapist, said Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat.
Sealing orders of Therapyworks issued. Parents of Murderer Zahir Jaffar also arrested— Muhammed Hamza Shafqaat (@hamzashafqaat) July 24, 2021
July 27: Official Instagram page for Noor created; US embassy distances itself from Zahir Jaffer
Justice for Noor’s official Instagram page goes live and a fundraiser created by Noor’s friends as a litigation fund for the family is launched.
The United States diplomatic mission in Islamabad distances itself from Zahir Jaffer, who happens to be a US citizen.
In a foreign country, U.S. 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 their release.— U.S. Embassy Islamabad (@usembislamabad) July 27, 2021
Zahir’s physical remand is extended as authorities recover multiple torture videos of women from his phone.
July 30: Zahir’s parents apply for bail; Noor’s father told to get a lawyer; Zahir taken to Lahore for polygraph test
While Zahir Jaffer’s parents apply for bail, the court asks Noor’s father to acquire a legal representative.
The Islamabad police take suspect Zahir Jaffer to the Punjab Forensic Science Agency in Lahore for a polygraph test along with forensic analysis of CCTV footage.
Meanwhile, protests and vigils against femicides erupt in major cities.
August 1: Court extends Zahir’s physical remand, moves him to Adiala Jail
Zahir Jaffer is brought to the court under tight security after the completion of his physical remand, however, the prosecutor clarifies that the suspect’s polygraph tests were not done.
Following this, Zahir is moved to the Adiala Jail on a 14-day judicial remand.
August 4: Zahir’s call log shared in court
Shaukat Mukadam's lawyer, Shah Khawar says that Zahir, his parents, Iftikhar, Jamil and Shaukat, and Noor Mukadam's telephone calls were recorded and they are with the police.
He says the suspect made two-minute-long calls to his father in the evening after 6 pm on the day of the murder, while a third call was made less than 10 minutes later that was 45 seconds long.
Zahir’s parents’ counsel Raja Rizwan Abbasi, however, argues that his clients publicly condemned the murder. He states the parents were made a part of the investigation based on Zahir's statement in the first information report (FIR) and read it out.
On the other hand, the suspect confesses that his father said they would handle the matter and the Therapy Works employees would dispose of the corpse.
August 5: Zahir is taken to PIMS; Nation is furious with the preferential treatment in jail
According to media reports, Zahir is taken to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) after complaints of a headache. Punjab’s Jail Minister Fayyaz ul Hassan Chohan says he ordered prison authorities to stop giving preferential treatment to Zahir Jaffer with ‘immediate effect’. Chohan says that Zahir was being kept in solitary confinement in a high-security cell in Adiala Jail, where he was reportedly being granted home cooked food daily, as well as visits.
Following this, Fatima Bhutto took to Twitter to comment on the skewed justice system of the country.
Innocent men and women who are poor languish behind bars with no protections, no legal help, no hope. But rich men who murder, abuse, rob and steal get whatever they want, no matter what they've done. Zahir Jaffer's privilege exposed like this stains all pretences of law +justice https://t.co/x3gVzqgwLJ— fatima bhutto (@fbhutto) August 4, 2021
August 10: All suspects in Noor Mukadam’s murder case are placed on ECL
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid says the government has placed all suspects – including the parents of prime accused Zahir Jaffer – linked to the murder of Noor Mukadam on the no-fly list to bar them from leaving Pakistan.
August 15: NA body seeks report on Noor’s case; Therapy Works CEO, staff arrested
National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights seeks a complete report in Noor Mukadam's murder case and directs for an in-camera meeting.
The Islamabad police arrest six people, including the owner of the therapy centre, Dr Tahir, in the Noor Mukadam murder case. The others include Dr Zahoor, Dr Wamiq, Dr Dilip Kumar and Amjad, who was stabbed by prime suspect Zahir Jaffer.
August 19: Mukadam family’s legal counsel comments on the case
As the nation grows impatient with delayed justice in the Noor Mukadam case and narratives of Zahir Jaffer’s violent behaviour are shared on social media, a video of the Mukadam family’s legal counsel sheds light on the reasons behind the delay.
Advocate Salaar Khan, a member of the Mukadam family’s legal team, talks to Soch about the case against Zahir Jaffer and the legal regime governing murder in Pakistan.
(Credits: Team Soch)
August 23: Therapy Works’ CEO, staffers granted bail
Additional Sessions Judge Ata Rabbani approves the bails of Therapy Works CEO Dr Tahir Zahoor Ahmed and six other employees in the Noor Mukadam murder case against bail bonds worth Rs0.5 million each.
The workers include Wamik Riaz, Dilip Kumar, Samar Abbas, Abdul Haq and Amjad Mehmood.
August 25: Court says Therapy Works CEO, staff not accomplices
An Islamabad court maintains that the owner and employees of Therapy Works were not involved in the murder of Noor Mukadam. In a three-page written verdict, the court states the reasons for granting bail to the workers of Therapy Works.
The order stated that the owners or employees of the centre were not present at the time of the murder while one of the employees, Amjad, also sustained serious injuries at the hands of the prime suspect, Zahir Jaffer.
August 27: IHC seeks comments over bail cancellation in Noor Mukadam case
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday seeks comments from respondents in the case seeking cancellation of bail of Therapy Works' employees in the Noor Mukadam murder case.
Justice Aamer Farooq of IHC hears the case filed by Shaukat Mukadam, the father of the victim. Petitioner's lawyer Barrister Qasim Nawaz Abbasi says the accused had hidden facts from the lower court. He maintains that the plaintiff had also named Therapy Works' Chief Executive Officer Dr Tahir Zahoor Ahmed and other employees as co-accused in his supplementary statement.
September 2: Dr Tahir seeks action against the Jaffers:
The owner of Therapy Works, Dr Tahir Zahoor Ahmed submits an application to a district and sessions court in Islamabad for the registration of a criminal case against Zahir Jaffer and his parents.
During the hearing, a police officer appears in the court owing to the absence of Investigation Officer (IO) Abdul Sattar Khan. He informs the court that the IO was in Lahore and requests the court to fix the hearing on another date.
September 5: Therapy Works CEO questions police neutrality
Therapy Works Chief Executive Officer Tahir Zahoor questions the impartiality and fairness of the Islamabad police in probing the murder case.
He says that he and his team members were arrested by the police and kept in jail for 25 days, although they were fully cooperating in the murder case.
“We were witnesses to the case, but suddenly the police arrested us and accused us of hiding the evidence. We told the police everything but our arrest is beyond comprehension,” he says, adding that when Zahir Jaffer’s father Zakir Jaffer called us, our team reached the spot.
Zahoor says that when team Therapy Works reached the scene and called Zakir Jaffer to tell him about the murder, his reaction was weird - as if nothing had happened.
He further said that Zahir Jaffer is not a lunatic but addicted to alcohol.
September 9: Zakir Jaffer to seek in-camera session
The lawyer of Zahir Jaffer’s father tells the court that he would seek a plea requesting an in-camera hearing in the Noor Mukadam murder case.
September 11: Zahir Jaffer ‘confesses’ to killing Noor Mukadam
The police submit an interim challan in the Noor Mukadam murder case to the court, according to which the prime suspect, Zahir Jaffer, has 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.
The supplementary challan regarding the laptop and mobile phone reports are yet to be submitted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Cyber Crime Wing.
According to the interim police challan, the suspect made a statement to killing the victim and beheading her.
September 19: Police says Zahir’s father was complicit in the murder
The police state that Zakir Jaffer, father of prime suspect Zahir Jaffer, is complicit in the murder and had knowledge of the brutal act.
According to an interim charge sheet submitted in court on September 9, police state that Zahir's father informed his son that he would send help to dispose of the body.
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