ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's human rights minister on Wednesday recommended to the parliament that the parents of Zahir Zakir Jaffer, the main suspect in the gruesome murder of Noor Mukadam, be prevented from leaving the country.
Mukadam, 27, was found beheaded at a residence in Islamabad's upscale F-7/4 sector on July 20. She was the daughter of Pakistan’s former ambassador to South Korea and Kazakhstan, Shaukat Mukadam.
Jaffer, the son of businessman Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee, was arrested from the crime scene on the same day and has since been in police custody on a physical remand.
During a briefing at the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Human Rights, Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari said the Jaffer's parents should be added to the Provincial Identification List (PNIL) to bar them from flying abroad.
"The parents of the suspect are American citizens. They should also be included in the PNIL," Mazari said.
The name of their son, also a US citizen, has already been on the list.
Jaffer's parents were arrested by Islamabad police last Saturday, along with their two domestic workers for “hiding evidence and being complicit in the crime.”
Both of them are on judicial remand.
The case has sent shockwaves across Pakistan, with officials, journalists, activists and members of the public expressing horror over the gruesome murder, which has sparked fresh debate about the safety of women in the country. The hashtag #JusticeForNoor has since garnered millions of tweets.
“I cannot express strongly enough my absolute condemnation of the recent violence and brutality against women,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Twitter on Friday. “This has no place in our society, lives, religion or culture. We must work harder and do more for prevention & for justice.”
Author Fatima Bhutto called Mukadam’s murder “a test for a system that too easily bends to power and influence.”
“But it must also be a test for us — imagine the number of men who inflict such brutality on women every day without being seen, without being noticed, because the victims are poor & unknown,” Bhutto said.
Actor, writer and director Osman Khalid Butt wrote down the names of a number of recent victims of femicide, including Mukadam, and said: “Remember these names. Keep asking for accountability, for justice. We must not let our outrage fade. These criminals must be convicted and made to pay for their crimes.”