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Zahir Jaffer shifted to separate cell after arguments with inmates

Prime suspect in Noor Mukadam murder denied right to watch TV, visit library or walk in jail courtyard. Source: Twitter.

ISLAMABAD: Zahir Jaffer, the prime suspect in the murder of Noor Mukadam, has been moved to a separate cell after an argument with inmates and was now being kept alone.

Speaking to a foreign news outlet, Arshad Warriach, the superintendent of Adiala Jail said Jaffer, who had been sharing a cell, was moved to a separate space after arguments with his cellmates.

“His [Jaffer’s] behaviour was not right with his cellmates so now we have put him alone,” Warriach said. “He wasn’t getting along. They said, ‘we don’t want to stay with him,’ and he said, ‘I can’t stay with them.’”

Warriach said Jaffer was now living alone in a cell, with a police guard deployed outside to watch him 24 hours. He also said the prisoner’s demand for certain rights granted to other inmates had been turned down.

“He has demanded to be kept as the other prisoners. They can walk in the prison yard, they can get books from the library, they read newspapers, they can watch a TV given by the government … they can get extra things from their home, make tea,” Warriach explained. “He doesn’t have any of these facilities. He only comes out of the cell on the day of hearing.”

When asked if Jaffer had received any legal support from the US Embassy, the jail superintendent said: “Being an American national, Zahir Jaffer was allowed to make a phone call to embassy officials to seek legal assistance, but no such help has come so far.”

Jaffer’s parents, Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee, and members of their household staff were also arrested on July 24 for “hiding evidence and being complicit in the crime.”

Warraich confirmed that the parents of the prime suspect had requested for B-class status in prison, which is reserved for inmates who are accustomed to a superior mode of living. However, Warriach said the parent’s request to upgrade their status had been denied.

The jail superintendent also denied that any preferential treatment, such as home-cooked food, was being allowed to anyone involved in the Noor Mukadam case.

Last month, Warraich said Jaffer was sharing a cell with two other prisoners and being kept on ‘suicide watch,’ while then Punjab minister for prisons Fayyaz ul Hassan Chohan had said the accused murderer was not even being allowed a toothbrush over “suicide fears.” Chohan subsequently ordered prison authorities to stop with immediate effect any preferential treatment for Jaffer at Adiala Jail.