Murder of Noor Mukadam

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Noor Mukadam
Born(1993-10-23)October 23, 1993
Died20 July 2021(2021-07-20) (aged 27)
Cause of deathMurder by decapitation
Parent
  • Shaukat Mukadam (father)

Noor Mukadam (Urdu: نور مقدم; 23 October 1993 – 20 July 2021) was a Pakistani victim of murder. She was 27 years old and the daughter of a former diplomat, Shaukat Mukadam.[1][2] She was murdered at a house in an upscale neighborhood, Sector F-7/4, of Islamabad, on 20 July 2021.[3][4] Noor was held hostage for two days, tortured with a knuckleduster, then decapitated with a knife.[5] Noor was raped before being murdered.[5][6]

The murder suspect was identified as 27-year-old Zahir Jaffer who was arrested at the scene of the crime and taken to the police station.[7] The parents and household staff of Jaffer were arrested for hiding evidence and complicity,[8] because Noor made multiple escape attempts but the household staff refused to permit her to leave.[9] The murder was premeditated as Jaffer later confessed to police that he intended to kill Noor if she refused to accept his marriage proposal.[5]

Zahir Jaffer was sentenced to death for the murder of Noor Mukadam by Islamabad session court in February 2022, while Jaffer's guards Iftikhar and Mohammad Jan were given ten years of imprisonment.[10]

Events leading up to the murder[edit]

According to Geo News, the timeline began on July 7, 2021, when Jaffer booked a one-way plane ticket to New York.[11] Jaffer's departure was scheduled for 3:50 AM (PST) on July 19. On July 18, Jaffer made arrangements for a taxi to transport him to the Islamabad International Airport. That evening, Jaffer called Noor. Noor was at home, in Islamabad's Naval Anchorage neighbourhood. At 9:05 PM, Noor left her house and arrived at Jaffer's residence in Sector F-7/4 around 10 PM.[11] At 2:15 AM on July 19, Jaffer came out of his house with a "barefooted" Noor and both got into the taxi. While on the way, Jaffer suddenly told the driver to turn back because they were too "late" and would "not be able to reach on time". The taxi dropped them at Jaffer's residence at 2:35 AM. According to the driver, "Noor was silent throughout the entire trip while Zahir continued to speak to her".[11]

Almost 24 hours later, on July 20, Noor's father sent her three texts at 12:57 AM asking her where she was, but Noor did not respond.[11] At 5:48 AM, her mother sent her messages, followed by calls from two family friends. Finally, at 10:43 AM, Noor sent a voice recording to her mother, details of which have not been disclosed to the public; it was her last message before her brutal murder.[11] After she sent the message, Jaffer immediately called Noor's mother from his own phone and told her "Noor is not here at my house". From 11 AM to 7:30 PM, Noor is believed to have been tortured and murdered by Jaffer.[11]

Noor tried to escape by jumping from the balcony but she was chased by Jaffer and the house security guard handed her back to Jaffer. The police are of the view that the murder could have been averted had the security guard informed the police.[9][12] Noor's decapitated body showed signs of torture and stab wounds.[13]

A leaked audiotape revealed that after the murder, Jaffer phoned his parents. Instead of calling the police, they called Therapy Works, a counselling and psychotherapy centre where Jaffer worked.[14] Therapy Works staff arrived at the house, where one of their team members was injured upon encountering Jaffer.[12]

Police investigation[edit]

The suspect, Zahir Zakir Jaffer, is a dual Pakistani-American citizen and the son of a wealthy businessman, Zakir Jaffer, and Asmat Adamjee.[15][16] Noor's father, Shaukat Mukadam, previously served as Pakistan's ambassador to South Korea and Kazakhstan. In addition to the suspect and victim, their families were also acquaintances.[16]

Following the murder, a First Information Report was registered against Jaffer under Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code, and the suspect was arrested at the site of the crime.[17] Four days later, Jaffer's parents and house servants were arrested on suspicion of complicity in the crime.[18] Police investigated the role of Therapy Works too.[19] Data recovered from Jaffer's phone indicated he had been involved in violence against women in the past.[16] Jaffer's name was placed on the Provincial National Identification List (PNIL) and Exit Control List by the Pakistani government to prevent him from fleeing the country.[12]

On August 15, 2021, police were able to match fingerprints and DNA confirming Jaffer's involvement in the murder.[20]

On February 24, 2022, a session court in Islamabad convicted Jaffer of the murder, along with accomplices Mohammad Iftikhar and Mohammad Jan.[21] Jaffer was sentenced to death.[22] Zahir's mother Asmat Adamjee, father Zakir Jaffer and cook Jamil have been acquitted.[23]

Judgement of the case[edit]

The decision of the case was announced on 24, February 2022 by the additional session judge Atta Rabbani. In the judgment, Zahir Jaffer was awarded a death sentence for murder, 25 years of imprisonment for rape, while watchman Muhammad Iftikhar and gardener Muhammad Jan, were sentenced to 10 years in prison for abetting. The court dismissed the position taken by the defense that Zahir was suffering from any mental disorder and could be acquitted on these grounds. While the court acquitted Zahir's parents, Therapy workers' employees for not finding any evidence against them.[10][24][25][26]

Reactions[edit]

The murder and its gruesome nature sparked strong condemnation and public outrage in Pakistan, and numerous calls to bring the perpetrator to justice.[27] According to The Washington Post, "the name Noor Mukadam has ricocheted through Pakistani news and social media" and renewed focus on the country's plight in tackling cases of violence against women.[13] Prime Minister Imran Khan directed the Islamabad Police to "make no concessions" while probing the murder and emphasised the delivery of justice.[28] Celebrities from the film and music industries tweeted under the hashtag #JusticeForNoor to convey their sentiments.[16] Overseas Pakistani communities also expressed their grief at the incident, holding vigils for Noor.[13] Some questioned whether Noor's plight would have ever reached mainstream media had she not been the daughter of a diplomat or belonged to a well-to-do family.

Amid public speculation that Zahir's family would try to wield its influence to stall the investigations, the Jaffer family released a statement to the media where it extended its condolences to the Mukadam family while adding that they "categorically condemn this atrocity and forever denounce Zahir and his actions".[29] Zahir's maternal side, the Adamjee family, also issued a condemnation in which they expressed their grief and stated "We have not and will not support Zahir Jaffer in any form. We whole-heartedly and unequivocally support the law of the land taking its course. Justice for Noor must and will be served".[29] Fatima Bhutto characterised Noor's murder as "a test for a system that too easily bends to power and influence", while also noting the countless women who were victims of violence but whose cases never were noticed because they were poor or unknown. The incident is one amongst a series of high-profile "honour killings" in recent years, beginning with the killing of Qandeel Baloch, following which Pakistan's parliament had enacted legislation aiming to counter such incidents.[13] According to a representative of Aurat March, a campaign that promotes women's rights in the country, legislative changes are cosmetic in nature and ensure little difference on the ground "without an overhaul of the legal system to make it more gender-sensitive and survivor-centric, along with investment in shelters and welfare programs".[13]

Clarifying its position on the issue while noting Jaffer's status as an American citizen, the U.S. embassy in Islamabad tweeted "In a foreign country, US citizens are subject to that country’s laws. When Americans are arrested abroad, the Embassy can check on their well-being and provide a list of lawyers, but cannot provide legal advice, participate in court proceedings or effect their release".[30]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Saifi, Sophia (9 August 2021). "The beheading of a diplomat's daughter shows how badly Pakistan is failing its women". CNN. Islamabad, Pakistan. Retrieved 11 December 2021. She was born in Jordan, said her father, Shaukhat Mukadam, a distinguished Pakistani diplomat and former envoy to South Korea and Ireland{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ "CPGS Team". Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies. Retrieved 11 December 2021. Ambassador (Retd) Shaukat Mukadam- Executive Director Diplomatic & Maritime Affairs
  3. ^ "'Suspect booked on premeditated murder charges in killing of ex-diplomat's daughter'". 21 July 2021.
  4. ^ Asad, Munawer Azeem | Malik (2021-07-25). "Accused tortured Noor with knuckleduster before beheading her, court told". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
  5. ^ a b c "Noor Mukadam murder case: A timeline". The Express Tribune. 23 September 2021. Retrieved 11 December 2021. Islamabad Investigations SSP Ata-ur-Rehman addresses a press conference on the circumstances under which Zahir Jaffer was arrested. He says the murder weapon and a pistol were seized from the suspect and refutes the earlier report that said Zahir had shot Noor before beheading her. SSP says no firearms were used.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "Noor Mukadam was raped, made multiple attempts to escape: police | SAMAA". Samaa TV. 11 September 2021. Retrieved 11 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ "'Shot and slaughtered': Former Pakistan diplomat Shaukat Ali Mukadam's daughter brutally murdered in Islamabad".
  8. ^ Qarar, Shakeel (2021-07-25). "Islamabad police arrest parents, household staff of suspect for 'helping, hiding evidence' of Noor's murder". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
  9. ^ a b Anjum, Shakeel (26 July 2021). "Noor Mukadam's murder: Parents of accused, two servants held for not informing police". The News. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  10. ^ a b "Zahir Jaffer awarded death sentence in Noor murder case". The Tribune. 24 February 2022. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  11. ^ a b c d e f "Noor Mukaddam murder - a timeline of events". Geo News. 30 July 2021. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  12. ^ a b c "Noor Mukadam: A despicable murder shakes Pakistan". Gulf News. 2021-07-25.
  13. ^ a b c d e Berger, Miriam (28 July 2021). "Outcry in Pakistan over beheading of former ambassador's daughter". Washington Post. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  14. ^ "The Socialite Arrested For Beheading a Woman Was a 'Therapist'". www.vice.com. Retrieved 12 December 2021.
  15. ^ "Zahir confesses to Noor's murder: sources". The Express Tribune. 27 July 2021. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  16. ^ a b c d "Celebs demand #JusticeForNoor as Twitter grieves on Eid". The Express Tribune. 22 July 2021. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  17. ^ "Suspect booked on premeditated murder charges in killing of ex-diplomat's daughter". Dawn. 2021-07-21.
  18. ^ "Islamabad police arrest parents, household staff of suspect for 'helping, hiding evidence' of Noor's murder". Dawn. 2021-07-25.
  19. ^ "Gruesome Islamabad murder brings scrutiny to role of Therapy Works". Geo News. 2021-07-25.
  20. ^ "DNA, fingerprints show accused's involvement in Noor's murder: police". The Dawn. 2021-07-25.
  21. ^ "Zahir Jaffer convicted as killer of Noor Mukadam, 2 accused also jailed". The Nation. 24 February 2022.
  22. ^ Ahmed, Munir (24 February 2022). "Man who beheaded childhood friend who refused to marry him sentenced to death". Microsoft News.
  23. ^ "Noor Mukadam finally got the justice, Zahir Jaffer sentenced to death". EMEA Tribune, Breaking News, World News, Latest News, Top Headlines. 2022-02-24. Retrieved 2022-02-25.
  24. ^ "Tycoon's son sentenced to death in Pakistan in high-profile rape and murder case". www.theguardian.com. 2022-02-24. Retrieved 2022-02-25.
  25. ^ "Pakistan-American man sentenced to death for beheading a diplomat's daughter". www.edition.cnn.com. 2022-02-24. Retrieved 2022-02-25.
  26. ^ "Pakistan: In high-profile case, Mukadam killer sentenced to death". www.aljazeera.com/. 2022-02-24. Retrieved 2022-02-25.
  27. ^ Mishra, Stuti (27 July 2021). "Noor Mukaddam: Pakistan erupts in anger over murder of former ambassador's daughter". The Independent. Archived from the original on 2022-06-18. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  28. ^ "Noor Mukadam murder: PM has asked IGP to 'make no concessions' in probe, Shahbaz Gill says". Geo News. 23 July 2021. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  29. ^ a b "Noor Mukadam murder case: Jaffers denounce Zahir, Adamjees say no support in any form". Business Recorder. 28 July 2021. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  30. ^ Gishkori, Zahid (28 July 2021). "Noor Mukadam's murder: Hour by hour story of pain and despair". The News. Retrieved 29 July 2021.