Wealthy Pakistani-American, the son of one of Pakistan’s richest families is sentenced to death for raping and beheading diplomat’s daughter, 27, in July 2021
Zahir Jaffer brutally murdered Noor Muqaddam at his Islamabad home last year, after she rejected his marriage proposal
Mukadam, 27, the daughter of a former ambassador made attempts to escape
CCTV footage showed her being stopped from leaving and dragged on the floor
Jaffer, the 30-year-old son of an influential family with dual Pakistan-US citizenship, was arrested at the scene of the attack
Charged with premeditated murder, rape, abduction and confinement, he pled not guilty to all charges
The court heard Jaffer battered Muqaddam with a knuckleduster, raped her, and used a ‘sharp-edged weapon’ to behead her
Jaffer who is to be ‘hanged by his neck till he is dead’, for murder also received a concurrent sentence of 25 years in prison for abduction and rape
Jaffer’s parents, Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee, were found not guilty of attempting to cover up the crime
The two Jaffer staff members who helped in the abduction were sentenced to 10 years in prison for abetting murder
Although happy that ‘justice has been served,’ Noor’s father, Shuakat Muqaddam has pledged to challenge the acquittal of the killer’s parents
A privileged 30-year-old scion of a wealthy family with dual US and Pakistani nationality, has been sentenced to death for raping and beheading a Pakistani diplomat’s daughter, after she rejected his marriage proposal.
Zahir Jaffer, the son of one of the richest families in Pakistan, brutally murdered Noor Muqaddam, 27, at his home in Islamabad on July 20, 2021.
The victim also came from one of Pakistan’s richest families. Jaffer reportedly killed Muqaddam, the youngest daughter of a former Pakistani diplomat, after holding her captive for three days at his apartment in an upmarket area of Islamabad.
Helping in the conviction was damming CCTV footage from killer’s home in Islamabad that showed the victim being forcibly constrained at the property, as she made a bid to escape her imminent death.
Security camera footage showed Noor Muqaddam, the daughter of a former ambassador, had made repeated attempts to escape the sprawling mansion but was blocked by two members Jaffer’s staff.
That footage has been released to the public, and shows Muqaddam trying to flee the compound through a large gate, but being stopped by the staff.
CCTV footage then shows her being dragged by her arm along the floor by a man, through a door and back into the property.
The court heard that the 30-year-old Pakistani-American tortured her with a knuckleduster, raped her, and used a ‘sharp-edged weapon’ to behead her.
‘The main accused has been awarded the death sentence,’ said judge Atta Rabbani at the Islamabad district court.
Jaffer’s parents, Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee, were found not guilty of attempting to cover up the crime.
The two staff members were sentenced to 10 years in prison for abetting murder.
‘I am happy that justice has been served,’ said Shuakat Muqaddam, Noor’s father, while pledging to challenge the acquittal of Jaffer’s parents.
The case prompted an explosive reaction from women’s rights campaigners reckoning with the pervasion of violence against women, culminating with Women Rights activists with placards and candles holding a protest rally against the brutal killing of Noor Muqaddam on September 22, 2021
The shocking impunity of the murder, involving a couple from the privileged elite of Pakistani society, led to pressure for the trial to conclude swiftly in a country where the justice system is notoriously sluggish and cases typically drag on for years.
According to the Asma Jahangir Legal Aid Cell, a group providing legal assistance to vulnerable women, the conviction rate for cases of violence against them is lower than three percent.
Targets of sexual and domestic abuse are often too afraid to speak out, and criminal complaints frequently not investigated seriously.
‘Convictions have been dismally low for victims… making today’s guilty verdict all the more significant,’ said Amnesty International South Asia campaigner Rimmel Mohydin.
The court verdict dictates Jaffer be ‘hanged by his neck till he is dead’, however he was also given a concurrent sentence of 25 years in prison for abduction and rape.
He will also be able to challenge Thursday’s verdict.
According to local reports, Jaffer belongs to a high-society family in Pakistan who founded a trading company in 1849 – Ahmed Jaffer and Company.
His father, Zakir, serves as a director of the company, according to his profile on LinkedIn. Jaffer’s mother Asmat is reportedly a housewife.
Executions have rarely been carried out in Pakistan in recent years – and usually only involving terrorism cases – in part due to pressure from the European Union.
The last was in December 2019, according to the Justice Project Pakistan, making it likely Jaffer will only serve jail time, with remissions for religious holidays and good behavior.
Jaffer was thrown out of court several times during the trial for unruly behavior.
He was frequently carried into proceedings by stretcher or wheelchair, and his lawyers argued he should be found not ‘mentally sound’, a legal maneuver designed to have the trial suspended, prosecutors said. At one hearing he claimed someone else had killed Muqaddam during a ‘drug party’ at his house.
When questioning Muqaddam’s father – a former ambassador to South Korea and Kazakhstan – Jaffer’s lawyer implied she was killed by her own family for conducting a relationship outside of marriage.
Prosecutions for violence and sexual assault frequently see the female victim’s personal history picked over according to Pakistan’s patriarchal mores – justice for woman victim even rarer, another reason why misogamy and violence against women thrives with absurd impunity.
According to a recent report by Human Rights Watch on Pakistan, ‘Violence against women and girls – including rape, murder, acid attacks, domestic violence, and forced marriage – is endemic throughout Pakistan. Human rights defenders estimate that roughly 1,000 women are killed in so-called ‘honour’ killings every year.’