ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Wednesday turned down the bail petition of Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee in the Noor Mukadam murder case.

A single bench of IHC Justice Aamer Farooq announced the verdict which he had reserved after hearing the arguments of both the parties in the bail petition of prime suspect Zahir Jaffer’s parents – Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee.

The IHC bench noted in its judgment that the instant petition is without merit, hence the same is dismissed. It added, “Since the trial is about to commence as it is expected that on 06.10.2021 the charge shall be framed, hence the learned Trial Court is directed to conclude the trial expeditiously preferably within eight weeks from the framing of charge.”

“The observations made herein above are tentative in nature and shall not prejudice the learned Trial Court while deciding the matter,” maintained the court.

In this matter, the petitioners namely Zakir Jaffar and Asmat Zakir Jaffar sought bail after arrest in murder case of Noor dated 20.07.2021 under Sections 302, 201, 511, 109, 118, 364, 368, 176 & 376 PPC, Police Station Kohsar, Islamabad.

The petitioners applied for bail after arrest which was dismissed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge (West), Islamabad vide order dated 05.08.2021 and they moved the IHC seeking bail.

Khawaja Haris Ahmed, the counsel for the petitioners, argued that out of five different offences with which the petitioners are implicated only Section 109 PPC falls within the prohibitory clause. It was contended that Sections 201 & 176 PPC are bailable, Section 511 PPC is not attracted and Section 118 PPC though entails punishment of seven years and is non-bailable but does not fall within the prohibitory clause.

He further argued that no case against the petitioners for Section 109 PPC is made out in the facts and circumstances and as there is nothing on record as per the investigation conducted so far by the police authorities that the petitioners aided and abetted the murder of Noor Muqaddam.

Haris also contended that the case against the petitioners is primarily based on the statement made by the principal accused Zahir Zakir Jaffer wherein apparently he disclosed that he had informed his parents about the abduction of Noor Muqaddam and her death but the same is inadmissible in evidence. He contended that the law as it has evolved is clear that any confession made before the police is inadmissible in evidence whereas the discovery made during the course of investigation is admissible.

The counsel also pointed out that since there is no material on the basis of which it can be said that the petitioners aided and abetted the principal accused; Section 109 PPC is not attracted and the other offences are either bailable or do not fall within the prohibitory clause, hence in such like cases grant of bail is a rule and refusal is an exception.

In response to the query of the court, it was informed that on the last date fixed by the trial court i.e. 23.09.2021 the copies of the documents have been handed over to the accused and the case is now fixed for framing of charge on 06.10.2021.

The court observed that admittedly, they are not the principal accused under Section 302 PPC but are to face the trial with respect to offences under Sections 109, 201, 511, 176 & 118 PPC. It is also an admitted position that petitioners are not nominated in the FIR but were investigated and arrested as the investigation progressed.

It added that initially, they came under investigation in light of the statement made by the principal accused namely Zahir Zakir Jaffer when he divulged the police that he had informed the parents about the confinement of Noor Muqaddam and also subsequently killing her.

The court also observed that question regarding admissibility or inadmissibility of such statement though is a question for the learned Trial Court to determine but prima facie Articles 38 to 40 of the Qanoon-e-Shahadat Order, 1984 are attracted. It added, “However, there is independent CDR which clearly establishes that principal accused was in touch with the petitioners in the early and late part of evening between 6:30/6:45 pm till 9:00 pm. Watchman (Chokidar) posted at the residence of the petitioners i.e. the place of occurrence also confirmed that he apprised Zakir Jaffer about the confinement of a girl and the entire scenario but no effort was made to report the matter to police. Likewise, intimation was made to one Tahir, the CEO of Therapy Center, about the entire situation but again no effort was made to inform the police authorities.”

The bench noted, “In view of the law and material placed on record prima facie it seems that the petitioners aided and abetted the principal accused in the commission of offence inasmuch as they had the information that Noor Muqaddam was in confinement yet did not make any attempt to inform the police authorities. The said fact is borne out independent of the statement of Zahir Zakir inasmuch as watchman (Chokidar) Iftikhar categorically stated that he informed Zakir Jaffer about the confinement of a girl and then Zakir Jaffer called Tahir CEO of Therapy Center with respect to the said fact. The abetment is not only restricted to the extent of actual physical assistance but passive assistance may also in the facts and circumstances amount to the offence under Section 109 PPC.”

The court further said that however, in the case of Tariq Bashir Supra and the judgments that follow there are certain exceptions under which bail may be refused even if an offence does not fall within the prohibitory clause. “One such exception is that where it is felt that accused if enlarged on bail might tamper with the prosecution evidence or influence the prosecution witnesses or obstruct the course of justice, added the court.

The IHC bench continued that the petitioners, as per the material available on record, did try to conceal the evidence and clear the scene of crime in order to protect their son by calling personnel from Therapy Center and did not inform the police authorities. The case is almost ripe for trial, hence there is every likelihood that if they are enlarged on bail they might obstruct the course of justice, tamper with the prosecution evidence and/or try to influence the trial.