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Noor's murder could have been honour killing, says Zahir Jaffer's lawyer

16 Feb, 2022
The prime accused lawyer said this could be a case of heat of the moment, adding this was an established fact that Zahir and Noor were in a consensual living relationship. Her family members might reached at Jaffer's home and became furious. File photo
The prime accused lawyer said this could be a case of heat of the moment, adding this was an established fact that Zahir and Noor were in a consensual living relationship. Her family members might reached at Jaffer's home and became furious. File photo

Advocate Sikandar Zulqarnain Saleem, who was presenting Zahir Jaffer — the prime accused in Noor murder case, on Wednesday said the victim could have been murdered as an honour killing.

In Wednesday's hearing of the case presided by Additional session judge Atta Rabbani in Islamabad session and judge court, Saleem tried to show that the complainant and victim's father Shaukat Mukadam was involved in the crime.

He said the murder may have been a result of heat of the moment, adding that it was established that Zahir and Noor were in a consensual relationship. Her family members might have reached at Jaffer's home and became furious.

Presenting his arguments, the prime accused's lawyer said the prosecution failed to present its case, while the media was playing with the facts of the case.

At this Judge Rabbani asked the lawyer not to digress to irrelevant discussions and get to the point.

The Islamabad police had padded the case to a great extent, said Zahir's lawyer. He noted that the prime accused could be seen without any weapon while he was taking the victim inside the house, saying it was possible that Zahir took Noor inside the house and closed the door as he wanted to save her from someone.

Advocate Saleem also talked about crime scene officer Muhammad Imran, saying his duty was to perform forensic of the material retrieved from the crime scene. However, he did not follow the guidelines issued for the forensic of the evidences.

He added that the crime scene officer did not take DVR as evidence in the case, while no shirts of Zahir were retrieved till then.

Talking about the medical check up of the prime accused, Advocate Saleen said Zahir was presented before the court on July 23, when a brief medical, sexual checkup of him was conducted.

Dr Anam Shehzadi took samples of blood and DNA from the accused in the case on August 15, while the victim's body was brought to the hospital at night and the post mortem was performed in the morning.

The delays in the said proceedings were enough to implicate the accused in the case, Advocate Saleem said.

Giving reference to multiple witnesses in the case produced before the court by the prosecution, the prime accused lawyer tried to established the case that multiple facts were presented in the case which contradicted each other.

"Dr Usman received the victim's body on July 21 in Poly Clinic which was then transferred to the emergency department of the hospital. Why it was not taken to the cold storage?," said the lawyer quoting witness no 10 in the case.

Talking about another witness' statement, the lawyer said according to police inspector Mazhar's statement some people were present on the first floor of the house when they reached there. Who were they and where they had gone? asked the prime accused lawyer.

Later he turned his arguments toward complainant and victim's father Shaukat Mukadam and tried to prove that he was involved in the crime. He said this could be the case of heat of the moment. This was an established fact that Zahir and Noor were in a concentual living relationship. Her family members might reached at Jaffer's home and became furious.

Zahir's shirt was presented as an evidence that he murdered Noor, while according to the facts of the case, if the prime accused slit victim's throat his clothes would be drenched in blood and the same would be spread every nook and corner of the room, the lawyer said.

However, there was no blood on Zahir's hands, he added.

Giving reference to the old henious tradition of Karo Kari, Advocate Saleem said some people murder others for their ego and the same happened in honour killings.

He further said the complainant was a learned man. Noor's father in the FIR mentioned that the victim was beheaded but he did not mention that her body was soaked in blood.

The police did not take custody of the victim's cell phone which was the prime evidence in the case, he said adding there was no evidence that Zahir called Noor and asked her to visit his house.

Talking about all the evidences presented in the court during the trial and establish the case, Advocate Saleem said this whole story was a cover up and made up story.

While blaming the complainant for Noor's absence from her home, the prime accused lawyer said, no one complained about Noor's whereabouts to the police despite her absence for one day.

A section of not fulfilling the duty was imposed on one of the accused, he said, adding this section should be imposed on the victim's father.

The forensic of the phone must be performed, he said.

During the hearing of the case, Lawyer Sajjad Ahmed Bhatti who presented three household workers of Zahir namely Jamil, Jan Muhammad and Iftikhar gave final arguments in the case.

He noted the three co-accused had no connection in the case.

The defendants' lawyer said as per the reports and complaint filed till July 23, 2021, the role of three co-accused was not identified in the case. On July 24, a new request was submitted adding names of Jamil and Iftikhar, he added.

Every person related to the house of Jaffers has been nominated in this case, lawyer Bhatti said.

During his arguments, the lawyer also talked about 19 witnesses produced before the court by the prosecution, saying their statements contradicted each others'.

Dr Sara who performed post mortem of the victim said female police constable Aqsa Rani's name added later in the case, said the lawyer, quoting the medico-legal officer.

He urged the court to release the gardener, cook and guard as they were innocent.

He also talked about the crime map of the place which was being drawn in the police station at the request of the investigation officer and the map did not specify the location of the three people.

In its argument, the lawyer said the allegations to remove evidences from the crime scene was fake as a witness who was present on the crime scene stated that the instrument used in the murder and other related stuff was being retrieved from the spot.

Talking about different witnesses during the trial of the case, the defendants' lawyer tried to established that witnesses' statements contradicted with each other. "One witness says the body was transferred to Pims. Another says it was sent to Poly Clinic. Medico-legal officer Dr Sara said the post mortem report did not have her signature."

Lawyer Bhatti asked why his clients were nominated later in the case when the complainant said he had watched the digital video record on July 20, when the incident occurred.

He noted the three men were falsely implicated in the case as they were merely household workers while the victim was there as a family member which could be assessed from the fact that a dog, whose presence was being mentioned by the IO, treated the victim in a friendly way without saying anything to her.

Hamza Ziauddin, who was a neighbour of Jaffer, called 15 to inform about the incident on the request of Iftikhar, he said, adding the three workers are illiterate and had no idea of criminal proceedings.

Lawyer Bhatti concluded his arguments, saying the statements of IO and the complainant also contradicted.

Later, the court adjourned hearing of the case till February 21.

Noor Mukadam, the 27-year-old victim, was brutally murdered in Jaffer's home in Islamabad on July 20, 2021. Zahir, his parents, their household staff and six members of Therapy Works, a counselling and psychotherapy centre, have been indicted in the case on October 14 last year.