ISLAMABAD: The main suspect in the killing of the 27-year-old daughter of a former Pakistani diplomat has not confessed to the crime in police custody, said a lawyer involved in the case, adding that the victim’s family was waiting for a courtroom hearing.
Noor Mukadam, daughter of Ambassador Shaukat Mukadam, was brutally murdered and beheaded in an upscale neighborhood of Pakistan’s federal capital on July 20.
The police sprang into action and registered a criminal case on the same day against one of her acquaintances, Zahir Zakir Jaffer, after arresting him from the crime scene.
Jaffer has since been in police custody on a physical remand.
“The confession [of a crime] is done before a magistrate,” Shah Khawar, Mukadam’s lawyer, told Arab News while rebutting some recent news reports. “There is no such thing yet.”
Khawar added that the victim’s legal team was hoping for a quick police investigation into the case since they wanted the trial to begin soon.
“A majority of the evidence in the case has already been collected,” he continued. “Some forensic evidence is awaited, but we hope the police will present the challan in the court next week. We will plead the case in the court on the basis of the evidence and try to get maximum punishment for the accused.”
Local media also reported that officials of the United States embassy in Islamabad held a meeting with Jaffer, a dual Pakistani and US national, on Monday, causing some uproar on social media.
However, the American diplomatic mission in Pakistan clarified in a Twitter post on Tuesday that US citizens were subject to local laws while being in a foreign country, adding that the embassy could “check on their well-being and provide a list of lawyers” if they were arrested abroad.
In a foreign country, U.S. citizens are subject to that country’s laws. When Americans are arrested abroad, the Embassy can check on their well-being and provide a list of lawyers, but cannot provide legal advice, participate in court proceedings or effect their release.
— U.S. Embassy Islamabad (@usembislamabad) July 27, 2021
Meanwhile, Jaffer’s parents, who are treated as his accomplices, moved their bail petition in a district and sessions court in Islamabad against their detention on Tuesday, said their lawyer while claiming they were not involved in Mukadam’s gruesome murder.
The court accepted the petition and is scheduled to hear the application on July 30.
The Islamabad police last Saturday arrested the accused’s parents and their two domestic workers for “hiding evidence and being complicit in the crime.”
A sessions court in Islamabad earlier in the day sent Jaffer’s parents and their household staff on a 14-day judicial remand to jail.
“We have filed for the bail of Jaffer’s parents as they are not involved in the case. They are innocents,” Rizwan Abbasi, a lawyer who is representing them in the courts, told Arab News.
“Jaffer’s parents were in Karachi on the day of the unfortunate incident, and they have no enmity with the victim and her family,” he continued.
Abbasi added the police had arrested the domestic staff, thinking they had failed to alert the police at the time of the incident, though “they were not aware of the crime.”
“The police should prosecute the principal accused in the case,” he said while hoping that his clients would soon be released on bail.
While Mukadam’s lawyer hoped for an early conclusion of the investigation, the police said they would seek further physical remand of the accused since their probe was not complete yet.
“The accused will be completing seven days of his physical remand tomorrow [Wednesday], and under the law the police can seek his further remand for at least eight days before presenting a challan in the court,” Ziaul Qamar, a police spokesperson, told Arab News.
However, he declined to comment on Jaffer’s reported confession.
“We will present all the evidence in the case to the court and cannot reveal details to the media at this stage,” he added.