The murder of a former Pakistan diplomat’s daughter, Noor Mukadam has been taking the country by storm as calls for urgent reform to protect women are made.
By Maryam Razzaq
Noor Mukadam, 27, was allegedly murdered after being tortured and killed by a close acquittance – Zahir Jaffer, a 30-year-old of dual Pakistan-US nationality, belonging to an influential family of Pakistan.
Many have speculated that Mukadam’s murder has sparked a national outcry and large media coverage mostly because of both the victim and alleged murderer belonging to affluent families, and the violent murder taking place in one of Islamabad, Pakistan’s most exclusive neighborhoods, block F7 – home to the wealthy and elite.
The gruesome killing sparked rage across the country, with many advocating for justice for Mukadam’s death and #JusticeforNoor trending on Twitter.
Pakistani activists are calling for the Pakistan Parliament to pass a law criminalizing domestic violence.
As the case develops, new information is coming to light. Jaffer’s parents, Admat Adamjee Jaffer and Zakir Jaffer, director of Ahmed Jaffer & Company (Pvt) Ltd, have now been arrested on charges of concealing evidence and abetment. Information provided to the judge last week reflected that both parents were involved in extensive efforts to remove evidence of the alleged murder.
Violence against women in Pakistan is a serious and ongoing problem as outlined in the 2020 country report from Human Rights Watch.
“Human rights defenders estimate that roughly 1,000 women are killed in so-called honor killings every year. Data from domestic violence helplines across Pakistan indicated that cases of domestic violence increase percent from January-March 2020, and further worsened during the Covid-19 lockdowns after March,” states the 2020 country report from Human Rights Watch.
A Timeline of Events
Authorities and investigators found that the prime suspect, Zahir Jaffer booked a one-way ticket to the US, scheduled for 3:50am on July 19.
Jaffer arranges for a taxi service to pick him up for his flight the following night.
Mukadam receives a call from Jaffer and makes her way to meet him at his home in Islamabad.
Makadam arrives at the Jaffer House, at the Sector-F 7/4 Islamabad.
Jaffer is in contact with the travel agency he used to book his flight to the US asking about if he can change the date of travel for 10 days later. Upon being told the ticket would be cancelled, Zaffar informed them he has decided to travel to the US as scheduled.
The scheduled taxi arrives to pick up Zaffer for his 3:50am flight to the US. Zaffer asks the taxi driver to wait.
Zaffer informs the taxi driver to leave as he will no longer be going to the airport. Zaffer gives the taxi driver 1,000 rupees through his gatekeeper.
The taxi driver calls Zaffer and says that since he has already paid for the service, he can come pick him up if he changes his mind. According to sources, Zaffer tells the drive to come.
Zaffer comes out of his home with a barefoot Mukadam and they both enter the taxi together. As they are heading to the airport, Jaffer suddenly instructs the driver to turn back home saying that they are “late” and “will not be able to reach on time”.
The taxi driver drops off both Mukadam and Jaffer at the Jaffer House and they are seen going back inside together. Noor has been said to have been silent throughout the entire car ride while Jaffer spoke for her.
Jaffer makes another call to his travel agent, which was not received.
Police have now found that Jaffer and Mukadam had a fight following a series of texts Mukadam received from her parents asking about her whereabouts.
Noor Mukadam’s father, Shaukat Mukadam, former ambassador of Pakistan sends her several text messages throughout the night asking about her whereabouts and well-being. Mukadam does not respond to any of the texts and authorities believe that her phone was being withheld from her by Jaffer.
Mukadam sends a voice message to her mother from the Jaffer House. The contents of the voice message have yet to be revealed.
Soon after Mukadam sent her mother a voice message, Zaffer calls her mother three times using his phone and speaks with Mukadam’s mother for about 20 minutes telling her that Noor was not with him at his home.
From 11am to 7:30pm on July 20, Noor was held captive.
Mukadam jumped off the balcony on the first floor of the Jaffer House and rushed towards the main gate. By this time, Jaffer came out of his home and locked her in the guard’s cabin and dragged her inside his home. Authorities believe this is when Mukadam was murdered.
Jaffer make calls to his parents several times throughout the day. He spoke with his father at 1:44pm for about 30 minutes, at 2:14pm for nine seconds, at 6:35pm for two minutes, at 6:37pm for a minute and a half, and at 6:42pm for over four minutes. Jaffer also made calls to a friend between 6:35pm and 7:09pm. The last time Jaffer spoke to his mother is at 7:29pm, where police believe he informed her of Mukadam’s death.
After receiving a call from Jaffer’s father, a team from Therapy Works, a counselling and rehabilitation centre arrived at the Jaffer residence.
Noor Mukadam is found to be brutally tortured and beheaded.
Jaffer attacks the team, severely injuring one of the members until eventually he is tied with ropes. Shortly after, police arrive at the scene and arrest Zahir Jaffer as the main suspect for Noor Mukadam’s murder.