IHC resumes hearing on appeals in Noor murder case – 01 Dec 2022

Counsel says convict Zahir Jaffer was not mentally fit to stand trial

A division bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday formally resumed hearing on identical appeals in the Noor Muqqadam murder case. When IHC Chief Justice Aamir Farooq and Justice Sardar Ijaz Ishaq Khan took up the appeals for hearing, Usman Khosa, the counsel for Zahir Jaffer — who is in prison on death row after he was found guilty of murdering Noor Muqqadam — said that of the 12 accused, who stood trial in the murder case, only three were convicted while the nine others were acquitted.

He said Jaffer’s mental health was never checked which was against his fundamental rights. He said that the convict filed a plea for a mental examination but it was dismissed. To this, IHC Chief Justice Aamir Farooq remarked that every judgment has its own background in criminal law. Usman Khosa posed a question if Zahir Jaffer was provided the right to a fair trial.

He said that the trial court gave a copy of the challan to Zahir Jafar but he did not sign it. He said that the trial court reported receiving a medical report from the jail but it (the court) did not specify what was written in the medical report.

He said that Zahir Jafar’s mental condition was never examined at any stage of the trial but the Supreme Court has ruled that if the issue of mental health was detected at any point, a medical examination becomes mandatory. It is a fact that no medical board was established for his medical examination, the counsel for the convict said.

Plaintiff Shaukat Muqqadam’s lawyer Shah Khawar said that the convict had filed a petition seeking mental examination, but his plea was dismissed. The trial court handed down a comprehensive order in this regard, he said. Zahir Jaffer’s lawyer said the plaintiff and his family, as well as the police officers, were present at the scene of the incident before the First Information Report [FIR] was filed according to the cross-examination.

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