ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Police said on Monday they had completed their investigation of Zahir Zakir Jaffer, the main suspect in the gruesome July 20 murder of Noor Mukadam, and would file a charge sheet (challan) in the court in the next few days asking for the trial in the case to commence.
Mukadam, the 27-year-old daughter of a former diplomat, was found beheaded at a residence in Islamabad’s upscale F-7/4 sector last month. Police have charged US national Jaffer for murder.
Jaffer was arrested on the day of the murder and has since been in police custody on physical remand. He has now been moved to Adiala Jail on 14-day judicial remand and will be presented again before a magistrate on August 16, an investigation officer said.
“We have completed the investigation of Zahir Jaffer, and did not need his further physical remand,” Inspector Abdul Sattar, who is investigating the case, told Arab News on Monday. “We have been waiting for a forensic report in the case, and will file the challan in the court as soon as we get it. We are hopeful to get this [forensics] report in the next couple of days.”
Salaar Khan, one of the lawyers representing the Mukadam family, said the police were bound by law to present a challan before the court within 14 days. “The police can file an interim challan in the court if they are still waiting for some reports or evidence to receive in the case,” he told Arab News.
Local media footage showed Jaffer arrive at the courtroom of West Judicial Magistrate Shaista Khan Kundi on Monday surrounded by dozens of policemen and guards.
“The courtroom was full of policemen, journalists, and lawyers, making it claustrophobic during the case proceedings,” Samaa Digital reported. “Judge Kundi asked the police to present the accused after which Zahir Jaffer walked toward the rostrum. She then requested him to take his mask off and he complied.”
Despite being repeatedly asked by the judge if he wanted to say something Jaffer remained silent and finally said his layer Mohammad Daniyal would speak on his behalf.
“The court interaction was held in English, which is quite uncommon in civil courts,” Samaa reported.
The judge then asked who was representing the Mukadam’s family in the case and her father, former diplomat Shaukat Mukadam, stepped up and said: “I am the father of this badqismat [unfortunate] woman.”
Mukadam’s grisly murder has sent shockwaves across the country, stirring outrage over femicides and demands for justice. Many activists and social media users have also raised concerns that Jaffer might get a lenient sentence because of his wealthy background and US nationality.
In a July 27 Twitter post, the US Embassy in Pakistan clarified that US citizens in a foreign country were subject to local laws and that the embassy could check on their well-being and provide a list of lawyers if they were arrested abroad but couldn’t provide legal advice, participate in court proceedings or effect their release.
On Sunday night, during a live a live Q&A session with the nation, Prime Minister Imran Khan assured the public: “If someone thinks he is a dual national and has US citizenship and will escape, let me tell you all that no one will be spared.”