A court in Islamabad handed down the death penalty to Zahir Jaffer, the principal accused in the
murder of Noor Mukadam, and sentenced two co-defendants, both members of his household staff, to10 years in prison.
All others, including Zahir’s parents and six Therapy Works employees, were acquitted. The case had kept the nation in thrall ever since 27-year-old Noor was found slain and decapitated in the capital city
on July 20 at the perpetrator’s residence.
A sessions court in Islamabad on Thursday sentenced Zahir Jaffer to death for the murder of Noor Mukadam. The court also found him guilty of rape and handed him 25 years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs200,000. household staff Mohammad Iftikhar and Mohammad Jan — both co-accused in the case — were
sentenced to 10 years in jail, while all others, including Zahir’s parents and TherapyWorks employees, were acquitted.
Additional Sessions Judge Ata Rabbani announced the verdict,Zahir, his father Zakir Jaffer, mother Asmat Adamjee and other suspects were present in the court when the verdict was announced.According to the short order, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, Zahir has seen sentenced to death under Section 302(b) (premeditated murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
The death sentence, however, is subject to confirmation by the Islamabad High Court.
He has also been sentenced to 25 years of rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of Rs200,000 under
Section 376 (punishment for rape) of the PPC.
The court also ordered Zahir to pay Rs0.5 million to Noor’s legal heir. In case of non-payment, the amount would be realised as arrears of land revenue and in case of non-realisation, he would have to undergo six months simple imprisonment.
Additionally, he has been sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs100,000 for kidnapping in order to murder (Section 364) and one year of rigorous imprisonment for wrongful confinement (Section 342).
The imprisonment sentences would run concurrently with the benefit of Section 382(B) (period of detention to be considered while awarding sentence of imprisonment) of the Criminal Procedure Code granted to the convict.
Fortunately, the judge ruled on the quality of the evidence laid before him, which the police had done well to gather despite reported pressure on different fronts.
While does not support the death penalty, no matter what the crime, Noor’s murder is certainly deserving of exemplary punishment.
It must be said, however, that the comparable social status of both families may have had a bearing on the outcome. In a country where murder is compoundable, and an offence against the individual rather
than the state, killers with money and clout can, and do, walk free.