The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday disposed of a petition by Zakir Jaffer, father of Zahir Jaffer in the Noor Mukadam murder case against his October 14 indictment by a trial court after the petitioner withdrew his plea.
Raja Rizwan Abbasi, Zakir’s counsel, appeared in court earlier today and requested a withdrawal of the petition. It is not clear why the petitioner withdrew his plea.
Zakir had been indicted by a trial court along with 11 others including Zahir Zakir Jaffer, Zahir’s mother Asmat Adamjee, their three household staff Iftikhar, Jan Mohammad and Jameel, Therapyworks CEO Tahir Zahoor and employees Amjad, Dilip Kumar, Abdul Haq, Wamiq and Samar Abbas.
Zakir, Asmat Adamjee and Zahoor had challenged their indictment in the IHC under separate petitions.
“The indictment gives an impression as if it was carried out on the longing of the prosecution,” Zakir’s petition had said, adding that the order suggested that the court can frame charges against the accused while copying the police challan and making it a mechanical exercise.
He had requested the court to declare the indictment illegal.
Presiding over a hearing on Wednesday on petitions by Zakir and others, IHC Justice Aamer Farooq had sought a reply on the petitions by the authorities. The judge had also observed that the court would pass an order binding the prosecutor to provide all necessary evidence to the defendants.
In the indictment, the trial court had charged the 12 accused in the murder case for 15 offences.
While the four charges were specific to the principal accused, Zahir only, the fifth charge was against his parents for allegedly concealing facts from the police.
The charge sheet stated: “Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Zakir remained in touch with the accused Zahir Jaffer through telephone from Karachi and despite knowledge that the accused Zahir Zakir Jaffer had abducted Noor Mukadam, did not inform the police.”
The sixth charge was similar in nature as it stated that they did not disclose to the police that their son had planned to murder Noor.
The seventh charge accused Zakir and Zahoor (Therapyworks CEO) of “causing disappearance of evidence”.
The eighth charge was framed jointly against Zakir, Asmat, Iftikhar (watchman), Jan Mohammad (gardener) and Jameel (cook) that “they were well aware of illegal act and activities of Zahir” but they did not inform the police.
The ninth and 10th charges are also jointly framed against Iftikhar, Jan Mohammad and Jameel for concealing the abduction of Noor and Zahir’s murder plan from the police. They have also been accused in the 11th and 12th charge of not letting the deceased escape from the Zahir’s illegal confinement.
In a written order, authored by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, on the petitioners’ bail pleas, the court observed that the “Learned counsel for the petitioner has urged that the time period of eight weeks specified in the paragraph 14 of the impugned judgment dated 23.09.2021 “to conclude the trial expeditiously preferably within eight weeks from the framing of charge” deprives the petitioner of a fair opportunity to lead his defence. We do not agree with that submission which is conjectural and without reference to fact.”
A division bench of the apex court led by Justice Bandial granted bail to Zahir Jaffer’s mother, Asmat Zakir Jaffer, four days ago.
The written order further stated that the petitioners (parents) have the right to present their defence before the trial court and in this respect the trial court shall consider and decide their pleas in accordance with law as envisaged in Article 10A of the Constitution.
“Be that as it may, without going into the merits of the case, we consider that the petitioner being a woman may be granted bail under the first proviso to section 497(1), Cr.P.C in absence of any circumstances that may justify declining this relief to her. The prosecution has not been able to point out any such circumstance,” the order stated
The SC order held that “without interfering with the directions given by the Islamabad High Court in the judgment dated 29.09.2021 and in the light of the observations made by us above, we convert this petition (Crl.P. No.1110 of 2021) into appeal and grant bail to the petitioner Asmat Zakir Jaffer subject to her name being retained on the ECL and her furnishing bail bonds in the sum of Rupees One Million with one surety in the like amount to the satisfaction of the learned Trial Court concerned.”
“Needless to say that this concession of bail may be withdrawn if the petitioner misuses it in any manner, including causing a delay in the expeditious conclusion of the trial or influencing the prosecution witnesses,” the order added.
Indictment plea disposed
In a separate hearing, the IHC disposed of the accused’s parents’ plea challenging the trial court’s order to indict 12 accused in the case, after the petitioners’ counsel withdrew it.
The court indicted 12 people, including Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee, in Islamabad on October 14. All of the accused had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The plea stated that the court “abused its authority”.
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