ISLAMABAD: Investigators in the Noor Mukadam murder case are showing special interest in frequent communications between the alleged murderer Zahir Jaffer, his mother and the head of a private Rawalpindi-based security firm on the day of the grisly murder, according to multiple people familiar with the incident and investigations.
Among a plethora of calls made by Zahir’s mother, Asmat Jaffer, on July 20, the day of the murder, over a dozen calls were made to the head of a private security firm, Trillium Information Security Systems. Asmat was in Karachi at the time of the murder. Zahir, too, was in touch with the same number.
Police believe the murder took place between 6:30pm and 7:30pm on July 20. At least one call made by Asmat at 7:12pm to the head of the firm. The last time Asmat and Zahir spoke was at 7:29pm, when, police believe, he informed her about Noor’s death. That call lasted for about 46 seconds. Immediately after speaking to his mother, Zahir called up Trillium’s head at 7:30pm, and spoke to the man for over 5 minutes. Shortly after the call, about 5 minutes later, Asmat also spoke to the head of the firm at least thrice.
It is unclear what was the purpose of the calls, or why those were so frequent. The firm deals in emergency response, as well as cyber and digital security. The investigation into this aspect comes after the court denied bail to Zahir’s parents, saying initial assessments indicate that they “not only abetted but also made utmost efforts to destroy the evidence”.
The nature and purpose of the communication with this security firm could play a big part in the case. That communication is part of a hectic 30 hours spent by Asmat in the hours before and after the murder, according to the sources. The reporter sought a version from Trillium Information Security Systems, whose owner did not comment on the communications, but said, “I have nothing to do with what happened [at Jaffer House]. These are absolutely false findings. Whatever the folks are saying is incorrect, as I have no connection with this [Noor Mukadam] murder.”
Asmat, in Karachi, communicated over 200 times with numerous people: her servant, neighbours in F-7/4, a few influential individuals, a security company, capital police, a welfare trust, four private firms, her immediate family members and periodically with her son, the suspected killer, officials and people involved in the case said.
The reporter has managed to ascertain the identity of everyone Asmat spoke to during this period, and talked to some of them, who confirmed that she anticipated that something bad might happen at the family house in the heart of the capital. None of them was however willing to disclose what exactly she feared might happen.
Investigators and people that Asmat was in contact with, confirmed that she actively moved around Karachi in the late hours of the night.
The beginning of the movement corresponds with the time Noor’s parents had started frantically trying to get in touch with their daughter on the night of July 19 between 1am and 3am, asking about her whereabouts and well-being. It had been over 24 hours since Noor had left home and first arrived at the Jaffers’ home in Islamabad, on the night of July 18.
Investigators are questioning if this frantic movement and activity meant Asmat already knew something terrible was about to happen at her house in Islamabad.
Asmat’s communications with different people began to peak on the afternoon of July 20, the day Noor was murdered. She spoke to her husband Zakir Jaffer at 1:43pm and then 2:15pm on July 20, 2021 for a few minutes. Right after those calls, she called Zahir, at 2:21pm, and spoke to him for over 20 minutes. Then she sent him a text message at 2:56pm again and was also calling numerous other contacts.
As the time of murder drew closer, Zahir called Asmat at 4:17pm. During the period in which the police believe the murder took place, investigators say Asmat spoke to Zahir multiple times. At 6:35pm, Asmat called Zahir and spoke to him for about 2 minutes; she herself was in the vicinity of Karachi’s Zamzama area. Another call was not received by Zahir. Yet another call minutes later lasted for about a minute and a half. At around 6:42pm, the two spoke for a full 5 minutes. Asmat in this time was moving between Karachi’s DHA, Clifton and even the Shaheed-e-Millat Road area. She reached out to multiple people at this time.
Among those contacted were Phoenix Security Service (Pvt) Ltd, to whom Asmat spoke to at 7:09pm. Phoenix’s office is located in the EOBI Building, Mauve Area, G-10/4, Islamabad. Pheonix did not comment on the communication when contacted by this reporter. Asmat also called Islamabad Police Headquarters at 10:35pm. She spoke to the police for five minutes. It is not known yet what exactly did she tell the police.
She had arrived at Quaid-e-Azam International Airport, Karachi, at 6:30am on July 21, 2021, and spoke to around a dozen people before flying to Islamabad, where she arrived at about 9:18am. She was constantly on the phone therein after.
On reaching Islamabad, Asmat did not go to her family home. She went to sector F-8 for a few hours, before going to a friend’s house in sector F-6 where she contacted her husband at 2:07pm on July 22.