Primary accused confesses to crime during proceedings, pleads for mercy to family of victim
A District and Sessions Court in Islamabad on Thursday indicted Zahir Jaffer, the primary accused in the Noor Mukadam murder case, and announced Oct. 20 for the commencement of the trial.
In addition to Jaffer, the court also indicted 11 others, including his parents Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee; three household staff Iftikhar, Jan Muhammad and Jameel; and six Therapy Works employees—Tahir Zahoor, Amjad, Dilip Kumar, Abdul Haq, Wamiq, and Samar Abbas—for their alleged involvement in the murder. The Therapy Works employees are currently out on bail; while the rest of the accused are incarcerated at Adiala Jail.
During Thursday’s proceedings, Zahir’s father filed a request seeking to halt his indictment, contending that no evidence had been provided to establish his guilt in the crime. To this, the counsel for Noor’s father argued that the evidence would be brought forward during the trial, adding the indictment stage was not akin to any sentencing.
Throughout the proceedings, accused Zahir repeatedly raised his voice and tried to interject while lawyers presented their arguments. Claiming that his life was in danger, he said details of his “property” should not be discussed in court. He urged the court to let him make a phone call—but refused to say who he wanted to call. He also claimed that Noor had “willingly sacrificed her life,” but did not clarify what that meant. “Sacrifice is acceptable in Islam,” he said.
At one point during the proceedings, Zahir asked Noor’s father for forgiveness, pleading for mercy. While confessing to the crime, he alleged that the firearm he had used belonged to his father. He also alleged that his father had been “fully aware” of the murder.
“I do not want to die behind bars. I should be married; I should have kids,” he said and accused his lawyer of not representing his interests.
One of Zahir’s household staff also addressed the court, saying Noor had been visiting Zahir’s residence for the past two years. “I had no idea that this [murder] would happen,” he added.
Noor Mukadam, the 27-year-old daughter of former Pakistani diplomat Shaukat Ali Mukadam, was murdered in Islamabad’s F-7/4 area on July 20. A bloodied Zahir, wielding a knife, was arrested at the crime scene. The incident sparked public outrage, with Pakistanis demanding action and questioning women’s safety in the country. According to the First Information Report filed by the victim’s father, she was found “brutally murdered with a sharp-edged weapon and beheaded.”