The Islamabad High Court (IHC) in Pakistan announced its decision on the appeal challenging the conviction of Zahir Jaffer and others in the infamous Noor Muqaddam murder case on Monday.The court ruled that capital punishment of the primary suspect will remain in place. Jaffer’s conviction of life in prison after murdering 27-year-old Muqaddam was changed to capital punishment on Dec. 21.
A two-member bench of the divisional bench, comprising Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan, issued the verdict after an appeal was filed against the punishment.The court’s decision for the double death sentence came after evidence revealed Jaffer both raped and murdered Muqaddam.
He had previously received a 25-year imprisonment sentence with hard labour and a fine of Rs0.2 million after the rape was proven. Others were also implicated in the crime including Jan Muhammad and Muhammad Iftikhar — the gardener and security guard at Jaffer’s house — who were awarded 10 years of imprisonment.
Muqaddam’s case made national headlines after the 27-year-old woman was found dead at the residence of the primary suspect, Jaffer in July 2021. Several protests and other calls for justice ensued when details of the case revealed not only incidents of domestic violence but sexual assault.
According to the victims father, Jaffer killed Noor with a sharp instrument and severed her head.
After a first information report (FIR) was registered under Section 302 (premeditated murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) on behalf of Muqaddam’s father — former Pakistani ambassador Shaukat Ali Mukadam — Jaffer was arrested with a murder weapon and bloodstained clothes from the crime scene on the day of the killing.
The trial occurred over the period of four months. The court acquitted other suspects including Jaffer’s parents, Zakir Jaffer and Ismat Adamjee, who had previously been connected to the murder.