Son of One of Pakistan's Richest Families to Be Put to Death

Zahir Jaffer sentenced to hang for brutal murder of Noor Mukadam
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2022 8:03 AM CST
When Friend Refused to Marry Him, He Cut Off Her Head
Police officers escort Zahir Jaffer, center, the man accused in the brutal killing last year of Noor Mukadam, a 27-year-old daughter of a Pakistani diplomat, for a court appearance, in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

The son of one of Pakistan's wealthiest families has been sentenced to death for raping and beheading a childhood friend who reportedly refused his offer of marriage. Pakistani-American Zahir Jaffer, who hails from a well-known industrialist family, held 27-year-old Noor Mukadam in his family home in a swanky part of Islamabad for two days last July, at one point dragging her back inside after she jumped out a window to escape, reports the AP. The daughter of a former diplomat was ultimately beaten, raped, and killed in a brutal attack that horrified the country and prompted protests in support of criminal justice reform. According to a legal aid group, the conviction rate for cases of violence against women in Pakistan is less than 3%, the Guardian reports.

Mukadam's family was visibly emotional in a crowded courtroom in Islamabad on Thursday as Judge Ata Rabbani announced Jaffer, 30, was convicted and would be hanged, per the BBC and Guardian. When being led out of a previous hearing he reportedly admitted to the crime, telling journalists, "I was angry, I killed Noor with a knife." "I am happy that justice has been served," says Mukadam's father, Shaukat Ali Mukadam, a former Pakistani diplomat to South Korea and Kazakhstan. "I've been saying that this is not just my daughter's case, it is a case for all the daughters of my country."

A security guard and gardener accused of stopping Mukadam's escape were each sentenced to 10 years in prison, per the News International. Jaffer's parents, who were reportedly in Karachi at the time of the murder, were acquitted of conspiracy and evidence tampering as part of an alleged cover-up. Jaffer's mother burst into tears at the verdict; an onlooker shouted that she should be hanged with her son, per the News. Prosecutor Shah Khawar says he will challenge the parents' acquittal, but adds the "verdict will empower Pakistani women at large." (More Pakistan stories.)

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