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Murder of ex-diplomat’s daughter has shaken Pakistan. Media & money are both being questioned

The brutal murder of 27-year-old Noor Mukadam has sparked fresh debate over the safety of women. Now there are thousands of tweets asking for justice.

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New Delhi: Pakistanis are asking what it will take to punish influential criminals in the country. This time they are angry over the brief abduction of an Afghan envoy’s daughter and the murder of a former Pakistani diplomat’s daughter in the span of a few days. Citizens are trending #JusticeForNoor to search for answers that authorities won’t give them.

The grisly murder of 27-year-old Noor Mukadam, daughter of former diplomat Shaukat Mukadam, has sparked fresh debate about the safety of women.

According to reports, Noor Mukadam was shot at and beheaded after a quarrel in a residence in a posh area of Islamabad Tuesday. Allegedly, over a breakup.

The suspect, Zahir Jaffer, whose father is reportedly the CEO of a construction company in Islamabad, was arrested at the crime scene Tuesday.

Shireen Mazari, Minister for Human Rights in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet, called the incident “yet another horrifying reminder that women have been & are brutalized & killed with impunity.”

Questions have been raised over how the Pakistani media reported the incident – revealing more about the victim than the suspect – and Jaffer’s mental health and ‘plan’ to leave for the US.

Also read: Daughter of ex-Pakistan envoy to South Korea & Kazakhstan murdered in Islamabad

What happened to Noor

In an FIR, Noor Mukadam’s father stated that his daughter was missing since 19 July and her phone was switched off. She eventually called her parents to tell them she was travelling to Lahore with some friends and would return in a day or two, reported Dawn.

On Tuesday, the ex-diplomat said he received a call from the suspect informing him that his daughter was not with him. That same day, at around 10 pm, Shaukat Mukadam said he received a call from the Kohsar police station about his daughter’s murder.

This was reportedly the third brutal attack on a woman in the country in the past few days.

‘Put him on the Exit Control List’

The situation has become murkier after it was revealed that Jaffer is allegedly a US citizen and had booked a flight to the US on Wednesday — a day after the murder. There has also been speculation that he was fleeing justice, and allegations that his family was trying to bribe the police and a judge.

Soon after the news broke of his arrest Tuesday, Twitter was flooded with images of the suspect and his family. The hashtag #JusticeForNoor has garnered thousands of tweets.

Pakistani actor Osman Khalid Butt raised calls for the suspect to be put on Pakistan’s Exit Control List, which prohibits certain individuals from leaving the country.

In a press conference Thursday, Senior Superintendent of Police (Investigation) Ataur Rehman assured people by saying, “Whenever someone’s brutal murder is carried out, we shouldn’t care about the financial position of the culprit even if they are the son of a very influential father.”

There was also social media furore over the alleged cause of the murder.

Meanwhile, Pakistani model Mawra Hocane asked if Pakistan was a civilised society at all.

Publications like Dawn were also put on the spot for not revealing enough information about the accused and for reporting his name in a certain way.

“Dawn can tell you the name of the victim’s father and the victim’s age but won’t give you any details about the murderer Zahir Jaffer,” wrote one user.

Also read: For Pakistani men, Aurat March is the real coronavirus

Jaffer’s ‘mental health’ woes

The discussion about the suspect’s mental health cropped up amid rumours that he had a drug abuse problem.

“It seems that Zahir Jaffer had a longstanding drug abuse problem which is why he tried several times but couldn’t finish college & then installed in family business. The parents that didn’t attend to his issues are equally culpable in this heinous murder #JusticeForNoor,” tweeted political commentator Ayesha Siddiqa.

However, others like journalist Hamza Azhar Salam, asked how Jaffer was able to serve at a top post in his family’s business, Ahmed Jaffer and Company, if he was mentally ill.

In the midst of this, the police released a statement Thursday saying Jaffer was “sound and in his senses” when arrested from the murder scene.

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