As a district and sessions court in the federal capital of Islamabad indicted 12 individuals in the Noor Mukadam case, the main accused Zahir Jaffer’s statements took a turn for the unexpected, with a video of him speaking to reporters outside the courtroom also circulating on social media. The court has indicted main accused Zahir, his parents, three of their domestic staff and six employees of Therapy Works.
Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee, the parents of the main accused Zahir, had requested the court to not go ahead with their indictment, taking the position that the evidence against them had not been provided to them. The counsel for Noor’s father Shaukat Mukadam, however, argued that such evidence could be seen during the course of the trial, and that the indictment ought to proceed.
While the lawyers presented their arguments, accused Zahir constantly interjected: pointing at the Therapy Works employees and claiming that they had entered his house without permission on the day of the murder.
Addressing the judge, Zahir Jaffer said that he preferred to be either hanged or pardoned, but that he could not stay in jail. He asked the court to keep him under house arrest, claiming that he was tortured in jail.
When his father Zakir Jaffer’s lawyer Rizwan Abbasi presented his statement, Zahir claimed that that was not his lawyer, and that he ought to be be given a chance to speak.
The main accused Zahir Jaffar then proceeded to claim that what the lawyer was saying about him was baseless. He said that he and Noor Mukadam had a fight on the day of the murder and during that time she was angry and so was he. Referring to the beheading of Noor, the main accused said that “sacrifice is also permissible in Islam” and that the victim had “offered herself for sacrifice.”
While he was being escorted by police out of the courtroom, Zahir repeatedly claimed that the victim Noor had willingly “presented herself for the sacrifice.” A video of his comments to reporters has been circulating on social media, where Zahir says that the murder happened by his hand. He adds that his father had told him to “get rid of the body.” Furthermore, he added that he had been angry and had attacked the victim in such a state. The reporters ask him to elaborate on his claim about the victim Noor and the “sacrifice.” Near the end of the clip, a lawyer tells Zahir, “You are making more mess!” Zahir, however, continues speaking to the reporters, and says, “My parents had told me everything will be OK.”
In court, Zahir repeated earlier claims that his life was “in danger” and asked the father of his victim, “Have mercy on me.” He also requested the court repeatedly to be allowed to make a phone call, without making it clear who it was. The court did not grant permission for this call.
Iftikhar, one of the accused who is a domestic employee of Zahir, wept in court, claiming
“I had no idea that this (i.e. the murder) would happen,” he stated.
Once the court had indicted the accused, all of them pleaded not guilty to the charges. The court summoned the prosecution’s witnesses to begin the trial on the 20th of October.