ISLAMABAD: Shaukat Mukadam, the father of Noor Mukadam who was murdered in a grisly July beheading in Islamabad, appealed to the Pakistani judiciary on Wednesday, a day before the murder trial commences, to quickly complete the case and punish his daughter's killer.
Mukadam, 27, was found beheaded at a residence in Islamabad’s upscale F-7/4 neighborhood on July 20 in a case that has sparked public outrage and grabbed media attention unlike any other recent crime against women. Police arrested the prime accused, Zahir Jaffer, from the crime scene on the day of the murder. His parents and three members of household staff are also under arrest for a range of charges, including abetment and hiding evidence.
Mukadam's father, former ambassador to South Korea and Kazakhstan, spoke at a demonstration organized by the victim's family and friends outside the Islamabad Press Club in Pakistan's federal capital.
"I appeal to the chief justice of Pakistan and the chief justice of the Islamabad High Court and the additional sessions judge hearing the case to dispose of the case quickly and award exemplary punishment to the murderer," he said.
"My mission in life is for justice for Noor and for Pakistan’s women to feel safe in their homes, their offices and on the streets. May they never go through things like this, nor their parents."
Sara Mukadam who co-organized the vigil, recited a poem in tribute to her sister: "If I had known the last time we laughed together would be the last time, I would have never stopped laughing."
"Thank you for giving women in Pakistan and around the world a voice against violence, your sacrifice will not be in vain."
Actor Osman Khalid Butt appealed for change in Pakistani society and accountability in countless cases of violence against women.
"We see injustice every day," he said. "It is so easy to become desensitized."
"Noor was a living breathing human being with hopes, aspirations, with dreams that were all brutally snuffed out. We must refuse to let Noor become just another number or yet another statistic in the ever-growing cases of intolerance and injustice towards women in our society."
Christine Afridi, the family's friend who had known Mukadam since her birth, expressed hope that justice would be done, despite the prime suspect family's being a part of the country's elite.
"Being someone’s son is not a reason to get away with murder," Afridi said. "Remember he murdered someone’s daughter."
Jaffer, who is a US national and belongs to an upper-class family, was initially on police remand but was moved to Adiala Jail in the city of Rawalpindi on judicial remand in early August.
According to a detailed charge sheet filed by police investigators and seen by Arab News, Jaffer was in touch with his parents before and after the crime. The charge sheet says the Jaffers had "abetted in the murder" and tried to cover it up.