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Last year, a 27-year old woman called Noor Mukadam was violently killed by a man she knew. Her death would shock her native Pakistan and news of her murder travelled around the world, including to Ireland.
Noor was Pakistani but in her bedroom in Islamabad, there are little leprechaun teddy bears – souvenirs of her childhood which she spent in Dublin. Her father Shaukat Mukadam was a Pakistani diplomat who was posted in Dublin and tasked with setting up an embassy here. Noor went to school in Goatstown at Our Lady's Grove school. She spent about seven years in Ireland and enjoyed sport like hockey and swimming. She also loved art and was always drawing, according to her friends who still remember her very fondly.
Up until last year, Noor was still in touch with her old friends from Ireland. By then she was living her life in the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad, where the family settled after their time in Ireland.
Noor mixed in a small circle of people in Islamabad. There are about five private schools where most of the upper class children go to. And through this circle Noor knew a man called Zahir Jaffer.
Zahir Jaffer is the son of the one of the wealthiest and most influential families in Pakistan.
Zahir was well-known for throwing parties in his house, which was in a leafy upmarket sector of Islamabad. Zahir liked Noor and wanted to marry her, but she did not want to marry him.
Last summer on the 18th July Noor was at home with her parents, preparing for the Muslim celebration of Eid. She had had a busy day, helping her mother cook and prepare food.
The next day, her parents left the house to get food for the feast and clothes from the tailor. Noor’s mother, Kausar phoned Noor that morning but there was no reply. Kausar assumed she must be asleep or in the shower.
It was only when they returned that evening and found that Noor was not there that they realised that something was wrong.
They didn’t know that Noor had actually been at Zahir’s house since the previous evening and that she was desperately trying to escape his custody.
What happened next will haunt all that knew Noor for the rest of their lives. After two days being held at Zahir’s house, Noor was violently murdered by him.
Noor was a woman who was universally loved by those who knew her, for her kindness, fun and good-nature and the story of her death became huge news in Pakistan and around the world.
After her death those who knew her would join forces to fight for justice for Noor and, as Noor’s father Shaukat says, "for all daughters of Pakistan".
Reporting by Hannah McCarthy and Hamza Azhar Salam.
Additional recordings by Tim Desmond and Saxon Baird.
Sound by Peadar Carney
Narrated and produced by Nicoline Greer
First broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1, 2PM, Saturday 17th September 2022
An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries