A Pakistani-American man has gone on trial accused of the rape and murder of the daughter of a former diplomat posted in Ireland.

Noor Mukadam, 27, lived in Dublin for around 12 years. Her killing in Islamabad in July sparked protests across the country and calls for reform to Pakistan's gender violence laws.

Zahir Jaffer, 30, from a wealthy industrialist family, has denied killing Ms Mukadam.

"The trial has formally started. Our first witness was examined today and we will produce five more witnesses at the next hearing", Shah Khawar, a prosecution lawyer told reporters outside the court in Islamabad.

Ms Mukadam was attacked after refusing a marriage proposal, attempting repeatedly to escape Mr Jaffer's sprawling mansion in an upscale neighbourhood in Islamabad but blocked each time by his staff, a police report said.

Mr Jaffer raped and tortured her before beheading her with a "sharp-edged weapon", it added.

"Her life could have been saved had the accomplices acted otherwise," the report said, which was presented to the court in a previous hearing.

Eleven others have also been charged in connection to the murder, including some of Mr Jaffer's household staff, his parents, and others who were allegedly asked to conceal evidence.

At the time of her murder around 100 people gathered in Dublin to remember Ms Mukadam, the daughter of Shaukat Mukadam, who worked as a diplomat at the Embassy of Pakistan on Ailesbury Road in Dublin.

Ms Mukadam attended school in Dublin for a number of years, including Our Lady's Grove in Goatstown.

Her murder received nationwide attention in Pakistan due to a growing, youth-driven women's rights movement in the country, where victims of violence are often discouraged from speaking out and blamed for the abuse.

According to a government survey conducted between 2017-18, 28% of women aged 15-49 have experienced physical violence in Pakistan. However, experts believe the figure is expected to be higher because of under-reporting.

The murder of Ms Mukadam, whose father also served as Pakistan's ambassador to South Korea and Kazakhstan, is one of the most high-profile cases of violence against women since the government introduced new legislation designed to speed up justice for rape victims.

It is typical for court cases to drag on for years in Pakistan, but prosecutor Khawar said he expected the trial to be concluded within eight weeks.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has pledged that the accused would not escape justice for being part of the Pakistani elite and a dual national.