ISLAMABAD: Noor Mukadam’s brutal beheading has led to a conversation about how unsafe Pakistan is for women across all social spectrums, however, the alleged involvement of Therapy Works, a renowned rehabilitation clinic has raised concerns over the societal costs stemming from the business of mental health.
US National Zahir Jaffer, who is accused of beheading Noor Mukadam in his home in Islamabad’s F-7/4 sector was initially getting treatment at Therapy Works for drug abuse. Zahir’s mother who is reportedly working for Therapy Works got her son to enrol with Therapy Works.
Sometime later, Zahir Jaffer enrolled in Therapy Work’s UK Level 3 course and later studied the UK Level 4 course. Therapy Works’ business model churns out mental health practitioners from amongst the people going there for therapy.
Former clients of Therapy Works have claimed that in order to maximise the revenue, the company uses the patients, charges them for expensive courses and then offers them to become mental health counsellors.
Various people on Twitter have claimed that Zahir Jaffer had conducted counselling sessions as a mental health expert in the premises of Therapy Works. The company has accepted that Zahir was enrolled in their courses but have denied that he gave sessions to patients.
Other users have complained of Therapy Works “slut shaming and victim blaming” their patients.
According to several sources, the first call from inside the house where Noor was being tortured was not made to the police but to Therapy Works. It has been claimed Employees of Therapy Works entered the home and witnessed what Zahir had done. They tried to stop him but one of the employees also got stabbed and is allegedly being treated right now.
Sources also claim that Zahir was tied using bedsheets by the Therapy Works employees and not the police, claiming that the police uses metal handcuffs, not cloth to tie suspects of murder.
If this story is to be believed, it reflects an attempt of either a cover-up or an attempt to show that Zahir was a mental patient, however, Zahir was not only practising as a mental health professional but he was also working as the Chief Brand Strategist for Ahmed Jaffer & Company Pvt Ltd.
Noor’s father, former Ambassador Shaukat Mukadar has confirmed that he spoke with Zahir on the day of the murder but he said that Zahir claimed that Noor wasn’t with him. Sources have claimed that Noor had been held at gunpoint by Zahir to say that she was going to Lahore with friends.
Attempts to protect Zahir by his powerful family has been witnessed not only with the police and judiciary but also in the mainstream media which has kept mostly silent about this case.
It is also unclear whether Therapy Works has the proper permission to license counsellors who directly engage with mental health patients.
It further emerged that Zahir Jaffer was using his qualifications from Therapy Works to work as a therapist for children as young as 12 years old.
Therapy Works did not respond to a request for comment as of the filing of this report