ISLAMABAD: A team of doctors at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi on Thursday declared Zahir Jaffer, a prime suspect in the murder of 27-year-old Noor Mukadam in July last year, mentally and physically fit to stand trial.
The key suspect was arrested from the crime scene on the day of the murder and has since been incarcerated.
The police on Thursday presented him before the trial court on a stretcher. Jaffer was also handcuffed and in a shabby condition.
“Zahir Jaffer is mentally and physically fit [to stand trial],” the doctors said in a report submitted to additional sessions judge Ata Rabbani who is hearing the case.
During the previous hearing on Monday, the police brought the accused to the court in a plastic chair, making his lawyer demand his client’s medical treatment.
“His mental health has deteriorated seriously,” Jaffer’s lawyer maintained.
The suspect was examined by a team of doctors at the prison facility in Rawalpindi following the judge’s instruction which later submitted its report in the court.
“The accused has undergone medical checkups numerous times,” the doctors said. “A psychiatrist has also declared him healthy after a complete checkup.”
The case is now said to be entering its final stage wherein defense counsels are cross-examining witnesses.
Last week, the court was informed that Jaffer was facing “some medical issues” in the prison and was not able to walk, stand and move for the last ten days.
“The accused Zahir is on wheelchair but prison authorities are not providing him proper medical treatment and playing with the life of a prisoner whose custody is under the control of this court,” said an application submitted by the father of the prime suspect on Saturday.
Earlier in January, the court rejected an application seeking the constitution of a medical board to determine Jaffer’s mental health after he was expelled from the courtroom twice for disrupting the trial hearings.
Islamabad police also registered a criminal case against Jaffer for using “abusive language” and attempting suicide on the court premises.
On Thursday, when Jaffer was presented in the court on a stretcher, advocate Sajjad Bhatti pleaded the court to send him back to the lockup, saying that the suspect was unwell.
The judge remarked that he did not want to summon the accused due to “humanitarian” reasons, but the prosecution insisted on his presence.
Jaffer was later sent back to the judicial lockup after a brief attendance in the court.
During the cross-examination by defense lawyers, the investigative officer of the case Inspector Abdul Sattar said the victim was in touch with her mother over the phone on the ill-fated day according to a call detail record.
“On July 20 at 1:53, the plaintiff [Noor’s father] and Zakir Jaffer spoke for 668 seconds over phone,” he continued, adding the plaintiff never revealed this information to him during the interrogation.
The police officer said the victim was continuously in touch with a specific number on July 19 and 20, but this person was not made part of the investigation.
He did not provide any further details.
The court will now resume the hearing on January 24.