A Pakistan-American based man has been found guilty of murdering the daughter of a distinguished diplomat in a brutal beheading case that sparked renewed calls for better protection of domestic violence victims.
An Islamabad judge sentenced Zahir Jaffer to death Thursday for killing Noor Mukadam, 27, last July at Jaffer’s family home; in an affluent neighborhood in the country’s capital.
Jaffer, then 30-year old son from an influential family is an Pakistan-American national with dual citizenship in Pakistan his birth home; and America, his country of residency.
The Pakistan-American was arrested at the scene of the attack and later charged with premeditated murder; rape, abduction and confinement. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Mukadam’s father, Shaukat Mukadam, welcomed the verdict.
“This case is for all the daughters of Pakistan,” he told reporters. “The society and media came to our side, the entire nation and the world was on our side.”
Violence against women
Pakistan has a poor record when it comes to protecting women and girls; but Noor Mukadam’s death sent shockwaves through the country because of Jaffer’s family background and the brutal nature of the crime.
Pakistan does not have a nationwide law criminalizing domestic violence; leaving many women and girls vulnerable to assault.
Often, violence occurs within marriage and goes unreported; because it is considered a cultural norm in Pakistan’s patriarchal society, according to a World Health Organization review of literature on domestic violence in Pakistan from 2008 to 2018.
‘Around 28% of women between the ages of 15 and 49 have experienced physical violence since the age of 15,” Pakistan’s Ministry of Human Rights said; citing the country’s Demographic and Health Survey from 2017-2018.
Women rights activists in Pakistan protest against the brutal killing of Noor Mukadam September 22, 2021.
Activists used Mukadam’s death to renew calls for the country’s Parliament to pass legislation that would fine or imprison offenders for abusing women, children or vulnerable people.
The Pakistan Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill was proposed in 2020
The bill was passed in the lower house of the country’s Parliament in April last year; but was subsequently held up by the Senate, Parliament’s upper house, after opposition members succeeded by one vote to refer the bill to the Senate Committee on Human Rights for further review.
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