Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Aamir Farooq on Thursday raised serious questions about the police investigation into the Noor Muqqadam murder case and the way the post-mortem of the victim was carried out by ‘ignoring basics’.
IHC Chief Justice Aamir Farooq and Justice Sardar Ijaz Ishaq Khan took up separate appeals filed by the counsel for Noor's father, Shaukat Muqqadam and the convict, Zahir Jaffer, who is in prison on death row after he was found guilty of murdering Noor Muqqadam.
Usman Khosa, the counsel for Zahir Jafar, continued his arguments on Thursday.
He said that he has filed a petition for a medical examination on behalf of his client. He said that in the FIR, the statements of the prosecution were rife with contradictions.
The court asked, “were the mobile phones of complainant Shaukat Muqqadam and Zahir Jaffer taken at the time of investigation”. At this, the complainant's lawyer said that his client’s mobile phone was not taken but only Zahir's phone was seized.
Usman Khosa said that Shaukat told the trial court about receiving a WhatsApp call first time during the cross-examination. The court inquired what will happen if the complainant had given a wrong statement.
Zahir's lawyer said the case was based on a connection made through a phone call between the complainant (Shaukat Muqqadam) and the convict (Zahir).
At this, the court said that Zahir called Shaukat Muqqadam and not the latter called the former. During the hearing, the court instructed the complainant's lawyer to tell (at a later stage) whether or not Noor called her father on July 19.
Khosa said that Shaukat reported the missing of his daughter on July 18 and not on July 19. According to the call detail record (CDR), he said, Noor was found in Lahore, not Islamabad.
At this, the IHC chief justice said “It is possible that the girl (Noor) did not rightly inform her father.”
Zahir's counsel said that his client had a flight on July 19, however, he came back as soon as he left the house because the girl might have asked him to stop for her. At this, Chief Justice Aamir Farooq told the lawyer that he was making things up.
"What are you trying to tell by saying that he came back one minute after he left in the taxi for his flight?" the court inquired. At this, the counsel said: "I am trying to say that Zahir Jaffer had no plans to kill her (Noor).”
The lawyer said that the victim called Zahir six times while travelling from Naval Anchorage to Sector F-7, which he did not attend the call. He said that the first call was made from Naval Anchorage, the others were made while she was on her way and the last one was made outside Zahir Jaffer's home.
Khosa said that Zahir was arrested at 9:20 while the FIR states that the incident took place at 10:00. At this, Shaukat's lawyer said that he was not arrested by the police at that time. Justice Farooq inquired when did the police reach the site of the incident. To this, Zahir's counsel said that the policeman said that they reached at 9:30. How did the incident take place at 10 then?" asked Chief Justice Aamir Farooq.
The court inquired whether the victim had torture marks on her body at the time of post-mortem. At this, Khosa replied that she had marks on her body, however, she might have gotten them after she jumped (from the floor of the house). The IHC chief justice said that “it is not known why and how the police can ignore the basic things. “We have to say that this is the height of incompetence.”
The court adjourned the hearing till Tuesday.
Noor Muqqdam, 27, was found dead at the residence of convict Zahir Jaffer, in Islamabad's upscale Sector F-7/4 on July 20, 2021.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd, 2022.
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