Broadcast of footage in grisly murder case banned

Special Broadcast of footage in grisly murder case banned
The murder trial that began last month is one of the most closely watched in Pakistan’s recent history, as the incident sparked public outrage. (AFP/File)
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Updated 16 October 2022

Broadcast of footage in grisly murder case banned

Broadcast of footage in grisly murder case banned
  • Family and friends ‘shattered’ as video showing the victim’s attempts to escape leaked to media

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s media regulator on Sunday prohibited TV channels from broadcasting footage from the crime scene of July’s grisly murder of a diplomat’s daughter in Islamabad, after closed-circuit TV recordings were leaked to and aired by several media outlets the day before.

Noor Mukadam, 27, the daughter of Shaukat Mukadam, Pakistan’s former ambassador to South Korea and Kazakhstan, was found beheaded at a residence in Islamabad’s upscale F-7/4 neighborhood on July 20. The prime suspect, Zahir Jaffer, was arrested at the crime scene on the day of the murder and remains in custody.

The murder trial that began last month is one of the most closely watched in Pakistan’s recent history, as the incident sparked public outrage and grabbed media attention unlike any other recent crime against a woman.

A description of the CCTV footage, which showed the events that preceded Mukadam’s murder, was submitted by the prosecution last week. It said the victim had jumped from the first floor of the chief accused’s house but was prevented from leaving the premises by staff. The footage was leaked to the media and aired by several outlets on Saturday.

“Telecast of CCTV footage of Ms. Noor Mukadam and Zahir Jaffer is prohibited. All the satellite TV channels are therefore directed to stop airing aforementioned CCTV footage immediately,” the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority said in a notification, as it warned of “strict action against the violators.”

Saturday’s broadcast of the footage by several channels resulted in outrage, especially from the victim’s family and friends, who said on the Twitter account “Justice for Noor” that they were shocked. 

“Absolutely shocked & shattered. It’s only been a day since the CCTV footage was given to the defense legal team,” they tweeted. “The judge told them that it shouldn’t be leaked at all. Now it’s out there. No regard of what this would be like for Noor’s loved ones.”

At his indictment hearing last month, Jaffer admitted he had committed the crime, but appealed to the judge to release him from jail and put him under house arrest. Others charged in the case include Jaffer’s parents, Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee, three of their household staff and six workers from Therapy Works, a counseling center where Jaffer had received certification to become a therapist and where he had been receiving treatment in the weeks leading up to the murder.

Islamabad police last week registered a criminal case against Jaffer for using “abusive language” inside the courtroom.