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Noor Mukadam murder: Court rejects bail plea of Zahir Jaffer's parents

Noor Mukadam murder: Court rejects bail plea of Zahir Jaffer's parents

A sessions court in Islamabad on Thursday dismissed bail application filed by the parents of Zahir Zakir Jaffer — key suspect in Noor Mukadam's murder — and noted in its "tentative assessment" that the suspects "not only caused abetment but also made utmost efforts to wipe off evidence".

The decision was announced by Additional Sessions Judge Sheikh Muhammad Sohail, who had reserved the verdict yesterday (Wednesday) on the petition by Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee.

"The way the things have gone through leads me to observe that there is reasonable ground to believe that petitioners/accused have committed non-bailable offences. As such, I am not inclined to grant bail to the petitioners/accused and consequently, the instant post-arrest bail application is hereby dismissed," the detailed court judgement reads, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com.

Mentioning Noor's failed escape, the judgement noted that the parents had been in constant contact with Zahir and had "prompt information" of the incident. Despite that, they had sent personnel from a rehabilitation centre instead of immediately alerting the police, it added.

"As such, they not only caused abetment but also made utmost efforts to wipe off the evidence of the alleged murder committed by their son," the judgement reads.

The judgement further stated that the recovered call data record, when analysed in tandem with other evidence, "sufficiently connects" the parents with the commission of the alleged offences.

The alleged offences, it added, including abetment of murder were "quite serious in nature and fall within the prohibitory clause of Section 497 (when bail may be taken in cases of non-bailable offence) of CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code) wherein the relief of bail is to be extended only in exceptional circumstances".

The judgement noted, however, that only a "tentative assessment" of the available material was made at the time of deciding the bail petition and it did not warrant a "thrashing of [the] case in detail".

The public prosecutor in the case, Naseem Zia, had argued against the bail petition in Wednesday's hearing. "They tried to save their child on the basis of dishonesty. The bail application should be rejected at this stage," the prosecutor had said.

Shah Khawar, the counsel for Shaukat Mukadam, had told the court that CCTV footage tied up the parents with the case, adding that the suspect had called his father three times in the evening of July 20 and his mother at 3pm.

"This was the time when Noor Mukadam was with Zahir Jaffer. The police station is half a kilometre away [yet] the watchman was not asked to go there.

"Prima facie, Zakir Jaffer and Asmat's act connects with the suspect and that is enough," Khawar had said.

Noor's murder and arrest of Jaffer's parents

The brutal murder of Noor, 27, daughter of former Pakistani diplomat Shaukat Mukadam, came to light on July 20 when she was found dead at a residence in Islamabad's upscale Sector F-7/4.

A first information report (FIR) was registered later the same day against Zahir, who was arrested from the site of the murder, under Section 302 (premeditated murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code on the complaint of the victim's father.

Later on July 24, Islamabad police had also arrested the parents and household staff of Zahir for "hiding evidence and being complicit in the crime".

The parents were later sent to jail on judicial remand till Aug 9 and subsequently moved a bail petition against their detention.

Last week, the Jaffer family had issued a statement condemning the actions of the primary suspect in the case.

"The Jaffer family extends its deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Noor Mukadam. We pray her soul rests in eternal peace. We know that no amount of time will bring back the joy you have lost nor ease your pain.

"Our shock and grief at this horrific act has led to a prolonged silence that we very much regret. However, we categorically condemn this atrocity and forever denounce Zahir and his actions," it had said.

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