The Noor Mukadam murder case took another turn on Monday as the investigation officer told the court that the knife used in her murder did not have the fingerprints of Zahir Jaffer, the prime accused in the case.
During hearing of the case under the chair of Islamabad District and Sessions Court Judge Atta Rabbani, IO Abdul Sattar said Zahir was included in the investigation as Noor's body was found at his home.
However, there were no eye-witnesses that appeared before the police, except for the forensic report, he said during cross-examination by the defendant's lawyer Sikandar Zulqarnain. Moreover, the IO told the court that there were no blood stains on Jaffer's pants.
Mukadam, the daughter of a former Pakistani diplomat, was found beheaded at a residence in Islamabad’s upscale F-7/4 neighborhood. The case has triggered public outrage and dominated headlines unlike any other recent crime against women. The prime accused was arrested from the crime scene on the day of the murder - where he was tied up by the workers of a counselling centre he was associated with - and handed over the police. He has since been in Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail.
In August 2021, the forensic report prepared by the Punjab Forensic Science Agency had confirmed that the fingerprints, obtained from the weapon — found at the site where Noor was murdered — belonged to Zahir Jaffer.
During the cross-examination in Monday's hearing, the IO narrated details of the incident that transpired on the night between July 20 and 21, 2021.
A team of police officers, including constables Sikandar Hayat, Abid Latif and Aitizaz, ASI Zubair Mazhar, lady constable Aqsa Rani arrived at the crime scene where the complainant Shaukat Mukadam, Noor's father, was present with his relatives, the IO said.
The IO clarified that earlier he wrote in the police diary that ASI Mazhar went to the crime scene with him but that was not true. He reached the place earlier, Abdul Sattar added.
As the defendant's lawyer interrogated the officer about the timings of murder, the IO said Noor's body was transported to the morgue from Zahir's home in Islamabad's Sector F-7 on July 20 at 11:45pm. According to her death certificate received from Polyclinic Hospital, Islamabad, she was murdered at 12:10am on July 21.
He also gave reference to another document provided by a hospital's doctor wherein Noor's body reached the hospital at 12:10am on July 21.
Talking about the defendant's presence on the crime scene, the investigation officer said, neither the crime map had Zahir's presence on the place, nor did it have a basement.
The police did not record IMEI number of Noor's mobile phone, while they took the victim's father and his friend Jawad Jahan to recover the slain woman's cell phone, he told the court.
During the investigation of the case, statements of neighbours and watchmen of nearby bungalows were not recorded, he said, adding video recordings of the CCTV cameras installed at other places in the house were not logged in as evidence.
During Monday's hearing, Zahir sat on the courtroom floor with his head was tilted at one side. In the previous two hearings, Jaffar was once carried in on a chair, while in the last one he was brought to the courtroom on a stretcher. He has since been deemed medically fit to stand trial.
Later, the court adjourned the hearing of the case till January 26.
Noor Mukadam, the 27-year-old victim, was brutally murdered in Jaffer's home in Islamabad on July 20, 2021. Zahir, his parents, their household staff and six members of Therapy Works, a counselling and psychotherapy centre, have been indicted in the case on October 14.