Defence counsel casts doubts on police probe in Noor Mukadam case during bail hearing

The defence counsel in the Noor Mukadam murder case during a hearing for the bail petition of the accused’s parents at the Islamabad High Court highlighted that there are “grey areas” within the police probe.

Justice Amer Farooq Kayani heard the case in which Khawaja Haris, representing Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee — parents of accused Zahir Jaffer — told the court that the police were solely relying on statements given by Zahir, adding that the police have not spoken to the parents since remand was granted.

Zahir’s parents were taken into custody on July 25 following the arrest of their son for allegedly concealing material facts from the investigation team. Subsequently, they had approached a district and sessions court for bail.

The sessions court had on Aug 5 dismissed the post-arrest bail applications of Zahir’s parents and observed that they had abetted the murder and had attempted to conceal material evidence.

In the case hearing today, the defence counsel pointed out that while it was admissible that suspect Zahir called his parents, “but it could not be said what was talked about during the conversation.”

He said it was also not clear whether Zahir had informed his parents about the murder. “Even if it is known, and Therapyworks employees went there to destroy the evidence, the case [against parents] is still not justified,” Haris told the court.

The counsel said police only sought a two-day physical remand of Zahir’s parents, adding that the investigators could have sought a longer remand had there been enough evidence against them.

“It is written in the police challan that Zahir Jaffer informed his parents after the murder and they sent Therapyworks employees to the spot,” he argued.

He said the murder couldn’t have been assisted if it had already taken place.

“The police also mentioned in its report that the gardener prevented Noor from leaving the house, however, it is another debate that the gardener was not present there,” Haris claimed.

The counsel insisted there were “grey areas” in the police probe.

Before adjourning the hearing till Friday, the court asked Haris whether the Therapyworks employees were nominated in the case as suspects to which the counsel replied in the affirmative.

He also told the court that he would try to wrap up arguments in the case by tomorrow.

In a challan submitted by the police to the trial court in the murder case on September 11, it was asserted that the father of prime suspect Zahir Jaffer, enabled the crime.

Noor was found beheaded at Zahir’s residence on July 20 in Islamabad’s F-7 area. Noor is the daughter of Shaukat Mukadam, who served as Pakistan’s ambassador to South Korea and Kazakhstan. The Islamabad police arrested suspect Zahir on the night of July 20 from his house where, according to Noor’s parents, he killed her with a sharp instrument and severed her head. The gruesome incident sparked a nationwide campaign seeking justice for her.

The interim challan was submitted to Additional District and Sessions Judge Atta Rabbani on September 9. Earlier, the challan was filed in the court of District and Sessions Judge Kamran Basharat Mufti. However, the court tried the case on September 9 and later transferred it.

In the challan, the police also stated in the challan that the crime could have been avoided had Zakir informed the police instead of helping his son.

The challan also stated that prime suspect Zahir had confessed to killing Noor and a DNA report confirmed she was raped. Zahir also gave a statement about beheaded Noor, the challan stated.

According to the police investigation report, Zahir said that when Noor refused to marry him, he forcibly locked her up in a room. He told his guard to not let anyone in and not let her out. He hid her mobile phone in another room, which was retrieved by the police from a closet in his house on his identification.

Zahir informed his father about Noor’s murder and the father told him there was no need to panic and that his “men were coming to dispose of the body”, the challan said.

The interim challan says if Zakir had informed the police in time, Noor’ murder could have been avoided. The father helped his son, it said.

According to the statement of the suspect, a quarrel with Amjad Mahmood, one of the employees of Therapy Works who was present at the crime scene, took place over a misunderstanding.

The employees of Therapy Works tried to hide the act of the suspect and destroy evidence, the challan said, adding that injured employee Amjad lied to the hospital administration and said he got injured in a road accident on his medical slip.

The interim challan states that the photographs and fingerprints stored in the DVR also belong to the prime suspect.

According to a DNA report from August 12, the suspect raped Noor. The interim challan also states that Zahir had booked a flight to the United States on July 19 but did not travel.

When she jumped from the washroom window to escape, the watchman did not facilitate her. The gardener, Jan Mohammad, also did not allow Noor to open the gate. If he had allowed Noor to open the gate, she could have escaped her death.

Reports said that no poison or drugs were found in the victim’s body.

Meanwhile, the results of the forensic analysis of the victim’s mobile phone and laptop are yet to come.

The challan also states that there is evidence against 12 suspects in the case.

 

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