ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s media regulator on Sunday prohibited TV channels from broadcasting footage from the crime scene of July’s grisly murder of Noor Mukadam, after CCTV recordings were leaked and aired by several media outlets a day earlier.
Mukadam, 27, the daughter of Shaukat Mukadam, Pakistan’s former ambassador to South Korea and Kazakhstan, was found beheaded at a residence in Islamabad’s upscale F-7/4 neighborhood on July 20. The prime suspect, Zahir Jaffer, was arrested from the crime scene on the day of the murder and has been in custody since.
The murder trial that began last month is one of the most closely watched in Pakistan’s recent history, as the case has sparked public outrage and grabbed media attention unlike any other recent crime against women.
The transcript of the CCTV footage showing events that preceded Mukadam’s murder was submitted by the prosecution last week. It said the victim had jumped from the first floor of the chief accused’s house but was prevented by staff from leaving the premises.
The footage was leaked to the media and aired by several outlets on Saturday.
“Telecast of CCTV Footage of Ms. Noor Mukadam and Zahir Jaffer is PROHIBITED. All the satellite TV channels (News & Current Affairs / Regional Language) are therefore directed to stop airing aforementioned CCTV Footage immediately,” Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority said in a notification, as it warned of “strict action against the violators.”
Saturday’s broadcast of the footage by several channels resulted in outrage, especially from the victim’s family and friends, who said on Twitter account Justice for Noor that they were shocked.
“Absolutely shocked & shattered. Its only been a day since the CCTV footage was given to the defense legal team,” they said in a tweet. “The Judge told them that it shouldn’t be leaked at all. Now it’s out there. No regard of what this would be like for Noor’s loved ones.”
Absolutely shocked & shattered. Its only been a day since the CCTV footage was given to the defense legal team.The Judge told them that it shouldn't be leaked at all. Now it's out there. No regard of what this would be like for Noor's loved ones. Havent they been through enough.
— Justice for Noor (@justicefornoor) November 13, 2021
At his indictment hearing last month, Jaffer admitted he had committed the “crime” but appealed to the judge to release him from jail and put him under house arrest.
Others charged in the case include Jaffer’s parents, Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee, three of their household staff, Iftikhar, Jan Muhammad and Jameel, and six workers from Therapy Works, a counselling center from where Jaffer had received certification to become a therapist and where he had been receiving treatment in the weeks leading up to the murder.
Last week, Islamabad police registered a criminal case against Jaffer for using “abusive language” inside the courtroom and attempting suicide on the court premises.
“We have registered a criminal case against Zahir Jaffer and a separate charge-sheet for it will be presented in the court,” Assistant Sub-Inspector Waqas Ahmed told Arab News at the Margalla police station. “He has not only used abusive language in the courtroom, but also tried to commit suicide by smashing his head against the wall.”