Court rejects plea seeking formation of medical board to ascertain Zahir's mental status

Additional sessions court had earlier reserved the judgement linked to Noor Mukadam’s murder case


Saqib Bashir January 05, 2022
A file photo of 30-year-old Zahir Jaffer talking to the media outside a courtroom in Islamabad. SCREENGRAB: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD:

An additional sessions court under Judge Ata Rabbani on Wednesday dismissed a plea seeking the formation of a medical board to determine Zahir Jaffer’s, the main accused, mental status in Noor Mukadam’s murder case.

Arguments were completed in the court earlier today regarding Zahir’s request and judge Rabbani reserved the judgement after arguments of the parties were heard.

Plaintiff's lawyer Shah Khawar, Public Prosecutor Hassan Abbas and the primary accused's lawyer Sikandar Zulqarnain Saleem put forth the arguments.

The counsel of plaintiff Shaukat Mukadam – the father of Noor – had requested the court to reject the request. Khawar also submitted the written arguments in court.

Read: FIA directed to probe 'leakage' of Noor Mukadam's footage

He maintained that Zahir Jaffer has been appearing in the court for remand and trials at various times, and reiterated that his petition claiming mental illness should be rejected.

Shaukat Mukadam’s statement was not heard in the court and he was summoned by the court on January 15 to record his statement.

Public prosecutor’s arguments

Public Prosecutor Hassan Abbas presented arguments and references before the court, maintaining that the accused’s signature on the petition is not power of attorney and hence, not even admissible.

“The lawyer who filed the case is a state councillor,” the prosecutor said.

He further stated that after reading the charge, Jaffer had questioned why Section 201 was imposed on him and then signed it.

Read: Court seeks more time to wrap up Noor case

The main accused had been counselling children at a local school, the prosecutor informed the court, reiterating his plea to reject Zahir’s request for the formation of a medical board.

He questioned why Zahir did not apply for the formation of a medical panel at the beginning of the trial.

Subsequently, the court reserved its verdict and adjourned the case till January 15.

Media expelled from the courtroom

Earlier, as the court resumed the hearing of the Noor Mukadam murder case and media personnel were asked to leave before the CCTV footage from the incident was played in the courtroom.

The media personnel were expelled from the courtroom at the Therapy Works lawyer Akram Qureshi’s request.

During the briefly held in-camera hearing, the interrogation on the statement of CCTV witness Mudassar was continued.

Petition launched in IHC against Zahir, investigator

Prior to the in-camera session, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) conducted a hearing on Therapy Works’ petition against the order for a trial court with regards to Noor Mukadam’s murder case.

One of the accused in the case, Amjad, an employee of Therapy Works, filed a petition against Zahir Jaffer – the main accused in the case – and against the investigating officer Abdul Sattar Khan.

Read: FIA directed to probe 'leakage' of Noor Mukadam's footage

Justice Amir Farooq of the IHC heard the case, however, when the counsel for the petitioner did not appear, the court adjourned the hearing without conducting any proceeding.

Therapy Works’ lawyer Akram Qureshi appeared late in court.

“The case was adjourned as you were not present in court," Justice Farooq stated.

The petitioner's counsel requested the court to fix the hearing for January 17, which was accepted.

Earlier, the trial court had rejected the plea of action against Zahir Jaffer.

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