Women protest for Noor Mukkadam

Pakistan: Zahir Jaffar conviction significant, but death penalty won’t end violence against women

In response to the conviction of Zahir Jaffar, the main accused in the gruesome murder of Noor Mukkadam in July 2021, Amnesty International’s South Asia campaigner Rimmel Mohydin said:

“The murder of Noor Mukkadam was a horrific crime and those responsible must receive punishment consistent with the gravity of the crime, but without resorting to the death penalty. Convictions have been dismally low for victims of gender-based violence in Pakistan, making today’s guilty verdict all the more significant. This conviction underscores the importance of ensuring that the criminal justice system responds effectively at all levels.  

“However, far-reaching procedural and institutional reform, and not the death penalty, is needed to tackle the endemic problem of violence against women in Pakistan – like everywhere else. If authorities want to take meaningful steps to ensure justice for women and girls, they must avoid using the death penalty as a ‘quick fix’ and commit to ensuring the criminal justice system prevents and responds to such crimes effectively at every stage.” 


Noor Mukkadam, 27, was murdered and beheaded at the residence of Zahir Jaffar on 20 July 2021. Zahir, his parents and their staff members were arrested shortly after.  After a seven-month trial, a local court found Zahir guilty and sentenced him to death. The staff members, who were present at the scene of the crime, were given 10-year jail sentences. His parents, alleged to have aided Zahir with getting rid of the body, were acquitted.

The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. Amnesty opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception – regardless of who is accused, the nature or circumstances of the crime, guilt or innocence or method of execution.