Zahir Jaffer's parents urge IHC to quash indictment

Accused file separate petition in high court over non-provision of complete case record


Saqib Bashir October 20, 2021
Parents of prime accused in Noor Mukadam murder case, Zahir Jaffer, are being brought to the court for a hearing. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD:

The parents of the prime suspect in the Noor Mukadam murder case on Wednesday challenged the trial court's indictment in the Islamabad High Court (IHC), saying the court "abused its authority".

The petition against the trial court came days after it indicted 12 people, including Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee, in Islamabad on Oct 14. All of the accused had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The petitioners stated that the court could not frame the charges as per the desire of the investigation officer. They requested the high court to declare the trial court order void as the lower court abused its authority and violated the law.

Justice Amir Farooq issued notices to the authorities concerned and adjourned the hearing till Oct 25.

'Incomplete case record'

In a separate plea, Asmat and Zakir along with Therapy Works CEO Tahir Zahoor moved the IHC against the non-provision of the complete case record to the defence team.

Read Noor Mukadam murder case: A timeline

IHC Justice Amir Farooq, while hearing the plea, asked if the petitioners moved the court against the same order. Their lawyer representing the accused said that his clients were provided with only the copies of witness statements along with the challan.

According to the law, copies of all statements recorded before the police and the magistrate must be given to the accused, the lawyer said, adding, "We were only given copies of witnesses' statements."

The lawyer said the case diary contained some items that were not provided to the accused.

Justice Farooq asked if the lawyer wanted to say that the statements of some people were recorded but they were not made witnesses in the case. "Did the accused not get the copies of statements recorded by the non-witnesses in the case," the judge further asked.

The IHC judge added whatever material is on the record must be provided to the accused.

Police informed the bench that they have provided all the statements to the accused along with the challan.

At this, lawyer Shah Khawar chimed in, saying this exercise has also taken place in the trial court.

However, Justice Farooq said that a fair trial required that all records be provided to the accused and asked the defence and prosecution to sit down and have a look at the record to check if some documents were missing from the record provided to the accused.

Justice Farooq then adjourned the court for 30 minutes.

After the break, the counsel said after examination of the record, it was revealed that the statement of a witness recorded before the police was not provided to the accused.

Chief Constable Muhammad Jaber is a CDR witness whose statement was recorded on October 14, the public prosecutor said, adding that the challan was submitted before this statement.

According to the public prosecutor, a copy of the statement will be affixed to the supplementary challan at the time of its submission. As far as this statement is concerned, the supplementary challan has not been submitted in the court as of yet, the public prosecutor said.

The prosecutor said Noor’s father Shaukat Ali Muqaddam's supplementary statement was also being sought.

At this court, the IHC justice asked the prosecutor to explain whether any statement recorded by the police under section 161 has been missing from the record provided to the accused.

“It is certain that the statement of the witness that was recorded after the interim challan will be submitted along with the final challan,” Justice Amir Farooq said, adding that there was also an eight-week deadline to conclude the trial. He said the Supreme Court has not commented on the directive that means it has been upheld.

Read NA body seeks report on Noor’s case

Alluding to the bail pleas filed by Khawaja Haris, Justice Farooq said the counsel representing the Jaffers had all the records available.

Asad Jamal, who represents Asmat Adamjee, said that the police did not provide CCTV footage. At this, the prosecutor said that they were providing a transcript of the DVR.

We should also be provided with a record of CCTV footage, the petitioner’s lawyer retorted.

Justice Farooq said it seemed that these attempts were being made to delay the trial, adding that the petitioner should not try to do that.

“If they want these things, we can give them right away,” the public prosecutor said.

“We will pass the order after which you have to give these documents to the lawyers of the accused in the trial court,” Justice Amir Farooq said, adding that this will also be mentioned in the order sheet of the trial court.

 

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