ISLAMABAD: Friends and relatives of a Pakistani woman, who was brutally murdered last year, held a public vigil in the federal capital on Wednesday while demanding swift justice in the case and calling for the implementation of death sentence for her killer at the earliest.
Noor Mukadam, the 27-year-old daughter of a former Pakistani diplomat, was found beheaded in Islamabad’s upscale F-7/4 neighborhood in July last year in a murder that sparked public outrage and grabbed media attention unlike any other recent crime against women.
The key suspect in the case, Zahir Jaffer, a childhood friend of the victim and a US national of Pakistan origin, was arrested from the crime scene, his residence, on the day of the murder and was sentenced to death by a trial court in February this year.
The court also sentenced Jaffer to 35-year imprisonment for abducting and raping Mukadam while keeping her in illegal confinement. The judgment included over 10-year jail term for the household staff present at the crime scene on the day of the murder, though other people involved in the case, including Jaffer’s parents and employees of a therapy center, were acquitted.
“Justice delayed is justice denied,” Kausar Mukadam, the victim’s mother, told Arab News at the gathering. “We want Jaffer to be hanged at the earliest. It will help save hundreds of other girls from such brutality.”
She maintained that all the people who were acquitted in the case should also be punished since they were also involved in her daughter’s murder.
“There has not been a single day in the last one year when I have not cried,” she continued. “Noor’s clothes, room and other belongings remind me of her all the time.”
Mukadam’s mother expressed satisfaction with the government response in the case, saying a public prosecutor had also demanded severe punishment for the killer and spoken against the acquittal of the co-accused.
Shaukat Mukadam, the victim’s father, urged the Islamabad High Court to decide the case as soon as possible.
“The case is in the high court now, and we appeal to the honorable court to give its verdict at the earliest since it is an extraordinary case and the whole nation is waiting for its outcome,” he told Arab News.
“One year has passed, and the killer is still alive,” he said, adding that the punishment for the murderer and his accomplices should be “exemplary.”
Sara Mukadam, the victim’s sister who was also one of the organizers of the vigil, said the brutal murder had destroyed her whole family.
“We have forgotten how to smile or spend a normal life after this trauma,” she said. “Every passing day is difficult for our family without justice.”
She added the reason for Wednesday’s gathering was to remind everyone that the victim’s family was still waiting for justice.
Mukadam’s lawyer, Shah Khawar, hoped the high court would decide the case by the end of the year.
“The case hearing is on September 14,” he said while speaking to Arab News. “We will request the court to decide all the appeals collectively. We are hopeful that the court will grant our request and the case will be decided by the end of the year.”
Speaking to Arab News, human rights activist, Farzana Bari, stressed that such cases should be decided in the minimum possible duration.
“There is no reason to further delay the case since video and forensic evidence are there,” she said. “This should be made a test case by our judiciary.”