Tycoon’s son sentenced to death in Pakistan in high-profile rape and murder caseZahir Jaffer tortured and beheaded Noor Mukadam, in July last year, in case that sparked outrage over violence against women
A court in Islamabad has sentenced to death the tycoon’s son who raped and murdered Noor Mukadam, a case that sparked outrage in Pakistan.
Mukadam, 27, the daughter of a former Pakistani diplomat, was held captive, tortured and beheaded in July last year by Zahir Jaffer, a member of a well-known industrialist family.
Jaffer, 30, a Pakistani-American citizen, is thought to have attacked Mukadam after she refused his marriage proposal. Two household employees of Jaffer, a guard and a cook, were both sentenced to 10 years for abetting the murder. The court heard they had blocked the young woman’s attempts to leave the luxury mansion. Jaffer’s parents, who had faced charges in connection with covering up the killing, were acquitted by the court.
After a lengthy trial that began in October, Judge Ata Rabbani on Thursday sentenced Jaffer to be hanged.
haukat Ali Mukadam, Noor’s father, said the verdict was a “victory for justice” and thanked the media for keeping the matter alive.
“Today, an exemplary punishment has been given to the main accused. Today, my daughter’s soul will be content to some extent. We are happy as far as the principal accused is concerned,” he told reporters outside the courtroom.
Prosecution lawyer Shah Khawar said: “Justice has been served, and today’s verdict will empower Pakistani women at large. We will challenge the acquittal of his parents at the higher court.”
The murder, and the efforts to protect the wealthy killer, had caused outrage in Pakistan where, despite high rates of brutal violence against women, there are low conviction rates, with most perpetrators going uncharged.
According to AGHS Legal Aid Cell, a rights group providing free legal representation for marginalised groups in Pakistan, the conviction rate for cases of violence against women is less than 3%.
Rights groups hailed the verdict and called for the higher courts to maintain the decision in the face of any appeal.
“Justice has been served today. We demand the higher courts will maintain the sentence and dismiss Jaffer’s appeal,” said Farzana Bari, a women’s rights activist.
A recent report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) said: “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.”
Jaffer, who can appeal against the verdict, was thrown out of the court several times during his trial for his behaviour, and his lawyers frequently carried him to proceedings in a wheelchair or stretcher to show he was not “mentally sound”.
Zahir Jaffer tortured and beheaded Noor Mukadam, in July last year, in case that sparked outrage over violence against women