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.”
The barbaric murder of young woman, Noor, in Islamabad is yet another horrifying reminder that women have been & are brutalized & killed with impunity. This must end. We are committed to ensuring no one is above the law & culprits having influence & power cannot simply “get away”
— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) July 21, 2021
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.
Final resting place of our beloved daughter Noor Mukkadam.
May Allah Bless Her Soul And Grant Her Eternal Peace. Ameen pic.twitter.com/bsWlX4eosF
— Azhar M Khan (@AzharMKhan3) July 22, 2021
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.
Put Zahir Jaffer on the Exit Control List.#JusticeForNoor
— Osman Khalid Butt (@aClockworkObi) July 21, 2021
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.
Our society is so rotten that we only believe a woman if it’s her dead body and those who say women in urban societies are not victims of toxic masculinity need to rethink. She was beheaded over a breakup. I’m literally out of words#JusticeForNoor pic.twitter.com/UywkPihiox
— saad (@simpsaad) July 20, 2021
As much as i stand by #JusticeForNoor I would like our women to learn a lesson from this incidence, we have to stop leting men like #ZahirJaffer ruin our lives. Dont give yourselves to men who don’t deserve your love. We talk abt misogyny all the time and end up wt men like him
— Hena Siddiqui (@henasidd) July 23, 2021
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.
Correction @dawn_com – the name is Zahir Jaffer not Zahir Zakir and he is not an “alleged” suspect in this murder! https://t.co/Xw0xb9phYw
— altamish jiwa (@altamishjiwa) July 23, 2021
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.