ISLAMABAD: Zahir Jaffer, the prime accused in the grisly murder of 27-year-old Noor Mukadam, on Monday submitted new evidence, including a USB storage device, an air ticket to the US and a police report against him for interrupting earlier court proceedings, in an Islamabad court to prove his innocence in the case.
Mukadam, a former Pakistani diplomat’s daughter, was found beheaded in Islamabad’s upscale F-7/4 neighborhood in July last year. The murder sparked public outrage and grabbed media attention unlike any other recent crime against women. Zahir Jaffer was arrested from the crime scene, his residence, on the day of the murder and has since been in custody.
Others charged in the case include Jaffer’s parents, Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee, their three household staff, Iftikhar, Jan Muhammad and Jameel, and six employees of Therapy Works, a counseling 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.
The trial for the case is now in the concluding stage at Islamabad’s district court, where additional sessions judge Atta Rabbani has been conducting the hearings.
In Monday’s hearing, Zahir’s lawyer submitted the USB storage device, air ticket and a copy of the police report against him for interrupting earlier court proceedings and attacking police officials on the court premises.
In the last hearing, his counsel, Usman Gill, informed the court that Mukadam had organized a “drug party” at Zahir’s house and invited her friends as well. He had pleaded the court to allow him to present evidence of it. The USB apparently contains footage from the party.
Zahir earlier claimed he was scheduled to fly to the US on July 19, but canceled his flight on Mukadam’s insistence. His lawyer has now presented a copy of his confirmed ticket in the court.
In November last year, the Islamabad police registered a case against Zahir for assaulting cops on the court’s premises. His lawyers are now presenting this case as evidence to prove that Zahir is not mentally fit to stand the trial. But a jail doctor report has already declared him mentally and physically fit after a thorough examination.
His counsel will explain all the material submitted in the court in the upcoming hearings in a bid to prove his client’s innocence.
A counsel for Zakir Jaffer, the co-accused in the case, completed his final arguments, pleading the court that his client was innocent and the prosecution had involved him in the case merely on the basis of a call data record (CDR) that showed he spoke with his son on the day of murder.
Advocate Basharatullah said that Zakir Jaffer and his wife were in Karachi and reached Islamabad via the first available flight on July 21 to join the police investigation.
“The police arrested him [Zakir Jaffer] illegally as he was on interim pre-arrest bail,” he said, raising questions over the authenticity of the CDR report as it didn’t have signature, stamp, issue date or any official number on it.
The counsel noted the police obtained the CDR report on July 27, but arrested Zakir on July 24 on the basis of the same report.
“It’s easy to edit and add data on modern devices,” he said. “The police have tampered with the CDR report, five pages of which are missing. The whole data is manufactured just to implicate Zakir in the case.”
Zakir Jaffer’s counsel also raised questions over the police failure to get the data from Zahir and Mukadam’s mobile phones. The prosecution had informed the court that the data couldn’t be retrieved as Zahir’s phone screen had been smashed and Mukadam’s phone locked.
“This is all suspicious and tells a lot as to how the prosecution has tried to manufacture evidence in the case,” the counsel said.
The court will resume hearing the case on February 16.