- Zahir Jaffer, 30, son of one of Pakistan's influential families, brutally murdered Noor Muqaddam, 27, after she rejected his proposal.
A Pakistani American man has been sentenced to death for raping and beheading the daughter of a diplomat at his home in Islamabad last year. Zahir Jaffer, 30, son of one of Pakistan’s influential families, brutally murdered Noor Muqaddam, 27, after she rejected his proposal. In addition to being “hanged by his neck until he is dead,” Jaffer was given a concurrent sentence of 25 years behind bars for abduction and rape.
Mukadam tried to escape by jumping out a window at Jaffar’s home, but in the CCTV footage shown during the trial, she could be seen being stopped from leaving by two household staff and dragged on the floor. The court heard the “Jaffer tortured her with a knuckleduster, raped her, and used a ‘sharp-edged weapon’ to behead her,” news reports said. Jaffer was arrested at the scene of the attack and later charged with premeditated murder, rape, abduction and confinement. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
His household staff Mohammad Iftikhar and Mohammad Jan — both co-accused in the case — were sentenced to 10 years in jail, while all others, including Jaffer’s parents, Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee, and TherapyWorks employees, were acquitted. According to The Dawn, Jaffer had received certification as a therapist from TherapyWorks, a counseling center where he had been receiving treatment in the weeks leading up to the murder.
During the trial, Jaffer, who was frequently carried into proceedings by stretcher or wheelchair, was thrown out of court several times for unruly behavior, according to AFP. At one point, he also claimed someone else had killed Mukadam during a “drug party” at his home.
CBS News reported that Jaffer initially claimed he couldn’t be put on trial in Pakistan because he is an American citizen. However, the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad said: “it had no involvement in criminal cases against its citizens overseas other than to provide information on legal counsel, check that they are not mistreated and offer to contact relatives.”
Mukadam’s father, Shaukat Mukadam, welcomed the verdict. “This case is for all the daughters of Pakistan,” he told reporters. “The society and media came to our side, the entire nation and the world were on our side.”
Although Pakistan has a poor record when it comes to protecting women and girls, CNN reported that Mukadam’s death sent shockwaves through the country because of Jaffer’s family background and the brutal nature of the crime. Activists used her death to renew calls for the country’s Parliament to pass legislation that would fine or imprison offenders for abusing women, children, or vulnerable people.