Noor Mukaddam, the daughter of a former Pakistan diplomat, was brutally killed when she was at the house of her boyfriend Zahir Jaffer on July 20, who not only tortured Mukaddam, but inhumanely beheaded her at his residence, located in the posh vicinity of Islamabad.
The murder of Mukaddam has now sparked a widespread uproar, protest and outrage among the masses, who have started to raise serious questions over what they call deliberate ignorance of the government towards increasing cases of rape, sexual assault and murder, which have overlapped the whole society, from the poor to the privileged elite.
As per the investigation details of the case, Jaffer and Mukaddam were friends and were close.
“Jaffer lured Mukaddam to his home, held her for two days and then brutally murdered her,” investigation into the case has revealed.
“The status of the families involved, especially the family of Zahir Jaffer, and of course Noor’s father being a former ambassador, and this happening within the elite circles of Islamabad all of that combined definitely has brought more attention to this case,” said Nida Kirmani, associate professor of sociology at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).
The incident has erupted the social media, with many expressing their anger and disgust with demands of justice to the Imran Khan-led government.
Protests have also been staged in major cities of not only Pakistan, but also abroad in support and solidarity with Mukaddam’s family.
The uproar and anger against Jaffer’s family has prompted them to post a full-page advertisement in newspapers, distancing themselves from the murder and echoing public demand for justice.
The cases of rape and murder have become a daily routine news in Pakistan with victims ranging from infants to adults, from men to women and from poor to the rich.
This has spread fear among every single female, who say they fear of their safety from the men around them.
“Every woman I have spoken to after Noor’s case speaks about feeling a heightened sense of fear from the men around them,” said Benazir Shah, a journalist.
Women’s rights organisations are demanding a landmark bill meant to tackle domestic violence in order to lessen some anger that prevails in the masses.
The bill, they demand, should streamline the process of obtaining retraining orders, define violence broadly and to include emotional, psychological and verbal abuse.
On the other hand, government lawmakers met with the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) to seek their opinion on whether the legislation adhered to Islamic principles.
However, religious leaders have raised some reservations over what they call ambiguous language, which they said is unacceptable in the society.
“Does this mean that a daughter or wife can complain when a father or husband stops them from going outside the house? This may not be acceptable to all Pakistanis,” said Qibla Ayaz, chairman of CII.
“We all agree on the goal of stopping violence against women. But our sense is that this bill might actually cause new social tension and lead to more domestic violence,” he added.