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 Javed IQBAL

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 


A.K.A.: "Kukri"
 
Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape
Number of victims: 100
Date of murders: 1998 - 1999
Date of arrest: December 30, 1999
Date of birth: 1956
Victims profile: Children
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
Status: Sentenced to death on March 16, 2000. Apparently committed suicide by hanging himself in his cell with bedsheets on October 8, 2001
 
 
 
 
 
 
photo gallery
 
 
 
 
 
 

Javed Iqbal (1956 in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan - October 8, 2001 in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan) was a Pakistani serial killer who was found guilty of the sexual abuse and murder of 100 children.

Early life

Javed Iqbal was the sixth child (fourth son) of Mohammad Ali Mughal, a well-off trader. He did his matriculation from Islamia High School. He started his own business in 1978 when he was an intermediate student at the Islamia College, Railway Road. His father bought two villas in Shadbagh. Iqbal set up a steel recasting business in one of the houses and lived there for years along with boys.

Murders, arrest, and trial

In December 1999, Iqbal sent a letter to police and a local Lahore newspaper confessing to the murders of 100 boys, all aged between six and 16. In the letter, he claimed to have strangled and dismembered the victims - mostly runaways and orphans living on the streets of Lahore - and disposed of their bodies using vats of hydrochloric acid. He then dumped the remains in a local river.

In his house, police and reporters found bloodstains on the walls and floor with the chain on which Iqbal claimed to have strangled his victims, photographs of many of his victims in plastic bags. These items were neatly labelled with handwritten plamplets.

Two vats of acids with partially dissolved human remains were also left in the open for police to find, with a note claiming "the bodies in the house have deliberately not been disposed of so that authorities will find them."

Iqbal confessed in his letter that he planned to drown himself in the Ravi River following his crimes but after unsuccessfully dragging the river with nets, police launched what was, at that time was the largest manhunt Pakistan had ever witnessed.

Four accomplices, teenage boys who had shared Iqbal's three-bedroom flat, were arrested in Sohawa. Within days, one of them died in police custody, apparently by jumping from a window.

It was a month before Iqbal turned himself in at the offices of the Urdu-language newspaper Daily Jang on the 30th December, 1999. He was subsequently arrested. He stated that he had surrendered to the newspaper because he feared for his life and was concerned that the police would kill him.

Although his diary contained detailed descriptions of the murders, and despite the handwriting on the placards in his house matching Iqbal's, he claimed in court that he was innocent and that the entire affair was an elaborate hoax to draw attention to the plight of runaway children from poor families. He claimed that his statements to police were made under duress. Over a hundred witnesses testified against Iqbal and he and his accomplices were found guilty.

The judge sentenced Iqbal to die by strangulation in the same public square he had frequented when searching for victims, and that his body should be cut up into 100 pieces and dissolved in acid under the Shariah legal concept of Qisas ("an eye for an eye").

  • Javed Iqbal (42 years old) was sentenced to death by public strangulation.

  • Sajid Ahmad (17 years old) was also sentenced to death for his participation in the murders.

  • Mamad Nadeem (15 years old) was found guilty of the murders of 13 of the victims and was sentenced to 182 years in prison (14 years for each murder).

  • Mamad Sabir (13 years old) was sentenced to 63 years in prison.

Death

On the morning of the October 8, 2001, Iqbal and his accomplice Sajid Ahmad were found dead in their cell in the Kot Lakhpat prison. They had apparently committed suicide by hanging themselves with bedsheets, though there has been speculation that they were murdered. Autopsies revealed that they had been beaten prior to death.

Iqbal is considered the serial killer with the most victims in Pakistan's history as an independent nation.

Wikipedia.org

 
 

Javed Iqbal

On March 16, 2000, a Pakistani court in Lahore sentenced serial child killer Javed Iqbal to death, saying he would be strangled in front of the parents whose children he was convicted of murdering. Judge Allah Baksh Ranja added that Iqbal's body "will then be cut into a 100 pieces and put in acid the same way you killed the children."

His three accomplices, including a 13-year-old boy identified only as Sabir, also were found guilty. Sabir was sentenced to 42 years in jail; the other two accomplices were sentenced to death.

Iqbal, 42, initially confessed to the killings in a letter last year to police. He said he strangled the children, dismembered their bodies and placed them in a vat of acid. He later recanted his confession. Police found the remains of two bodies in a blue vat in his home after his arrest. Police also found pictures of 100 children whom Iqbal in his letter confessed to having killed.

They also found clothes belonging to the young victims. Previously, the worst killing in pakistani history was in mid-1980s when dozens of people were killed in the Punjab, Sindh and North West Frontier provinces in a series of mysterious night attacks that police blamed on a so-called "hammer group." The attackers broke into houses and bludgeoned victims to death with hammers. They were never found.

Parents of missing children were contacted to sort through clothes and pictures to try to identify their missing children. Most were identified, but police did not recover any bodies. The search for Iqbal was one of the largest manhunts in Pakistan. On December 30 Iqbal walked into the Lahore office of a leading newspaper and turned himself in. He refused to go directly to the police, saying he feared for his life. During his trial, the child killer testified that he was only a witness to the killings. He said his earlier confession was sent as a message to the parents of the missing children, whom he accused of neglect.

Iqbal wrote in his letter to the police that he killed the children, who were mostly beggars, in retaliation for the abuse they inflicted on him following a previous arrest when he was accused of sodomy. He claimed he had been wrongly picked up and badly beaten while in police custody. Curiously, and I guess generously, he also claimed to have killed the street children to highlight their plight.

During his six-month killing spree, Iqbal kept a detailed account of the murders, listing his victims' names, ages and the dates of their deaths. He also kept their shoes and bundles of their clothing. Healso recorded the exact cost of disposing of each kid. "In terms of expense, including the acid, it coast me 120 rupees ($2.40) to erase each victim," he wrote.

A week after his sentencing, a Pakistan's top religious said the planned execution of serial killer Javed Iqbal went against Islamic tenets. Though the sentence of the killer called for his body to be cut into 100 pieces and dissolved in a vat of acid, the Council of Islamic Ideology said that would desecrate the killer's body, which would go against the Islamic teaching of respect for the body of the deceased.

On October 25, 2001, the Iqbal and Sabir were found dead in their cell from apparent poinsoning. Their apparent suicides -- as declared by prison authorities -- came just four days after the country's highest Islamic Court had agreed to hear their appeal against the death sentence. Iqbal had voiced fears after his conviction that police would kill him. His lawyer said Iqbal was victim of a police conspiracy. Jail officials said Iqbal had twice made abortive suicide attempts in the past.

 
 

Pakistan probes serial killer's death

The killings shocked Pakistani society

10 October, 2001

An inquiry has been launched into the death of convicted Pakistani serial killer Javed Iqbal who is reported to have committed suicide in prison.

Iqbal said he had started killing children after being maltreated by police.

Iqbal and one of his two accomplices killed themselves by taking poison, according to an official at the jail in the city of Lahore where he was imprisoned.

However, the circumstances in which he came to obtain poison have not been made clear.

Six officials of the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Punjab province, where the two prisoners died, have also been suspended from service.

Forty-one-year old Iqbal was sentenced to death in March last year for killing 100 teenage boys.

He had surrendered to the authorities after confessing to the murders in a letter written to a newspaper.

The case was believed to be the worst of its kind in Pakistan's history.

Lawyer's doubts

Iqbal's lawyer, Faisal Najib Chaudhry, told the BBC that he was questioning the official version of his death.

Javed Iqbal wrote to me saying that he may be killed by the prison authorities

Lawyer Faisal Najib Chaudhry

He said that Iqbal had written to him warning that he might be killed by the prison authorities.

"His letter is now on record at the federal sharia [Islamic law] court where Mr Iqbal's appeal against his conviction was pending," said Mr Chaudhry.

He said he was still waiting for the post-mortem report on Iqbal.

A potential witness in the case died in December 1999 after being taken in for questioning by the police.

They said at the time that he had jumped out of a window.

Death sentence

Iqbal was in prison awaiting execution and was appealing against his sentence.

At his trial, the judge caused controversy by ordering him to be strangled and then cut into pieces, which he said was a requirement of Islamic law.

The government moved to stem criticism of the ruling by saying it would not be implemented.

Pakistan's leading Islamic affairs advisory body also declared the sentence un-Islamic.

 
 

Death for Pakistan serial killer

16 March, 2000

A court in the Pakistani city of Lahore has found Javed Iqbal guilty of murdering 100 boys.

Iqbal, said to be the country's worst serial killer, and a co-accused were sentenced to death. Two others received jail terms.

You will be strangled to death in front of the parents whose children you killed

Judge Allah Bukhsh Ranjha

Judge Allah Bukhsh Ranjha invoked Islamic law, saying Iqbal and one of his co-accused deserved to die in the same manner as their victims.

"You will be strangled to death in front of the parents whose children you killed," he said.

"Your body will then be cut into 100 pieces and put in acid, the same way you killed the children."

Iqbal had confessed to killing the children and dissolving their bodies in acid-filled containers in a house in Lahore.

Iqbal's drama

December 1999 Confesses in letter Surrenders to police January 2000 Formally charged with murders February 2000 Pleads not guilty

The judge announced the verdict to a packed court on Thursday after viewing a videotaped interview with Iqbal conducted at the time of his arrest.

However Pakistan's interior minister said such a sentence was not permitted, and would be challenged in the High Court.

Moinudeen Haider said: "We are signatories to the Human Rights Commission. Such punishments are not allowed."

Detective stories

Iqbal's lawyers are also planning to appeal against the verdict. They said he had not committed any murders and his confession was obtained under duress.

"Police threatened Iqbal during his three-week physical remand which resulted in the confessional statement recorded under duress," defence lawyer Abdul Baqi told the court.

Piles of children's clothes were recovered from Mr Iqbal's home

Mr Baqi claimed some of the missing children believed to have been killed by the accused had gone back to their homes.

Iqbal told the judge that his earlier admission had been a fake, based on Western detective stories.

He said he made up the confession to bring the issue of absconding boys and child sex to the government's notice.

The judge said he was not convinced by Iqbal's explanation.

Decomposed bodies

The prosecution produced 105 witnesses, including 73 family members of the missing children.

Police said they recovered the decomposed bodies of three children from Mr Iqbal's house.

They allegedly recovered several bundles of children's clothes and shoes from the premises, as well as an album of photographs of young boys.

Throughout the two-month trial, parents of the missing children gathered outside the courtroom, calling for the death sentence.

 
 

'100 death sentences' for serial killer

Javed Iqbal's defence should begin this week

15 March, 2000

By Shahid Malik in Lahore

In the Pakistani city of Lahore, the special public prosecutor in the case of alledged mass murdered Javed Iqbal, summed up his case, asking for 100 death sentences - one for each child said to have been killed by him.

The public prosecutor, Asghar Rokari, dwelt at length on the relevance of Javed Iqbal's confession before a magistrate last month which, he argued, was still a valid piece of evidence.

Mr Rokari argued that circumstantial evidence in the case had been corroborated by at least two witnesses, who had seen the main accused in the company of some of the boys who went missing afterwards.

Circumstantial evidence

The circumstantial evidence, he recounted, included the clothes, shoes and photographs of the missing children identified in the trial court by more than 60 parents and close relatives.

Police search for remains down a drain

The special prosecutor also threw light on the previous conduct of Javed Iqbal against whom, he said, a criminal case for "carnal intercourse with young boys" was already pending in another court.

In view of his motives, the prosecutor said he should not be allowed the benefit of the fact that the dead bodies of the children in this case had been mostly destroyed and could not be used as evidence against him.

Prison sentences

While he pleaded for the death penalty for Mr Iqbal on a 100 counts to tally with the number of children he had allegedly killed, the special public prosecutor also pressed for a prison sentence for the three co-accused, who are still in their teens.

The remains of two children were found in Javed Iqbal's house

Another public prosecutor, Burhan Muazzam Malik, who briefly addressed the court, agreed that a minor could not be awarded a death sentence.

But he argued that there was evidence to suggest that the three boys standing in the dock had attained puberty which, as he put it, was synonymous with being an adult.

The defence lawyers are to present their arguments on Wednesday, when a complete video-recording of Mr Iqbal's interview at the time of his arrest in a newspaper office is also likely to be played.

 
 

Serial killer fights execution

Javed Iqbal: Claimed there had been no murders

16 March, 2000

A serial killer of boys in Pakistan is to appeal after being sentenced to die in the same way as his victims.

Javed Iqbal, 42, who was convicted of killing 100 boys, faces being strangled, chopped into pieces and dissolved in acid.

This sentence is not inevitable. There is no law which allows a person to be hanged publicly

Iqbal's defence lawyer Najeed Faisal

Judge Allah Baksh Ranja in Lahore decreed too that the death sentence should be carried out before the public, at Pakistan's National Monument in Lahore.

The military government has already declared its concern about the nature of the sentence and pointed out Pakistan's international human rights obligations.

The defence says there will be an appeal to the High Court next week.

Iqbal's lawyer Najeed Faisal told the BBC: "This sentence is not inevitable. There is no law which allows a person to be hanged publicly, to cut up pieces of the body. It is against the constitution of Pakistan."

Strong emotions

However, the chief prosecutor in the case supported the judge, describing Iqbal as not a man, but a beast.

At the court it was said such a punishment drew on Islamic tradition.

Iqbal, who admitted the killings and then retracted his confession, claimed in court that there had been no murders, that it was all staged to highlight the vulnerability of street children at the hands of evil people.

But the judge was more impressed by an initial confession.

Three accomplices, including a 13-year-old boy identified only as Sabir, also were found guilty.

Two were sentenced to death, but Sabir was spared the death penalty and received a 42-year prison sentence.

The trial generated strong emotions in Pakistan, where such cases of serial killings are a rarity.

Throughout the trial, parents of the missing children held a vigil outside the courtroom, screaming abuse at Iqbal and demanding the death sentence

A BBC correspondent says many in Pakistan continue to question how nothing came to light about 100 deaths until Iqbal sought publicity himself.

In December last year Iqbal walked into the Lahore office of a leading newspaper and turned himself in.

He refused to go directly to the police saying he feared for his life.

The court heard that police found a vat at Iqbal's home containing the remains of two bodies.

Police also said they found pictures of 100 children, whom Iqbal confessed in a letter to having killed and clothes belonging to the victims.

Many of the murdered children were among the city's poorest.

Some were beggars, others were among the army of children who work on the streets selling goods, and still others had left home and never returned.

 
 

Recording of Javed Iqbal's confession played in court

By Our Staff Reporter

LAHORE, 2 marzo 2000: The statement of a witness to the extra-judicial confession made by the alleged killer of 100 children, Javed Iqbal, was recorded and audio and video recordings of the confession were played on Thursday before Additional District and Sessions Judge Allah Bakhsh Ranjha.

Three witnesses recorded their statements during the day taking to 97 the total number of witnesses examined so far in the case. The proceedings continued for about five hours out of which four hours were taken up by the cross-examination of the witness, daily Jang's Editor (crime) Jameel Chishti. Another witness to the extra-judicial confession, Jang's crime reporter Asad Sahi, was given up by the prosecution. The other witnesses who recorded their statements were a relative of a missing child, Afsar Begum, and a handwriting expert, Inspector Parvez Aslam.

The film was of about three minutes duration and it was played about six times during the course of the Jang staffer's cross-examination. Javed Iqbal said he was interviewed for a long time and in it he made important revelations about the people involved in the present case. The court directed him to tell this to his counsel who could question the witness about it.

Replying to the questions put by defence counsel Najeeb Faisal and Abdul Baqi, the journalist said there was another portion of the film of about 30 minutes duration and it was in the custody of his boss. He said this portion of the film was not shown to anybody, including the police. He said he had asked for a cameraman immediately after Javed's appearance and he arrived at the Jang's office about 15 minutes later. He said the privately arranged cameraman filmed for 10 minutes when the Jang cameraman arrived and he recorded the later portion which has not been seen by anybody.

The witness said it was incorrect that the accused did not state during the film that he killed 100 children. The court played the film twice to verify this and found the accused in response to a direct question to the effect put by the witness used the words "haan khud mar dia tha (yes I had killed myself)".

The witness denied a suggestion the cassettes were being concealed to protect some people whose names were supposedly taken by Javed Iqbal as murderers of the missing children. He denied that his institution wanted to blackmail the influential persons who the defence counsel suggested were named by Javed Iqbal during his interview.The witness said the film was concealed because it was an important case and the concealed portion would be a part of an exclusive Jang documentary film. He denied the film was being withheld dishonestly. He said it was incorrect the accused said something against the newspaper establishment during his interview. He said it was not in his knowledge that the concealed film could be an evidence in the present case.

In response to a question put by defence counsel Chaudhry Safdar, the witness said names of co-accused Nadeem and Sabir did not come up in the film shown in the court. Replying to another question, the witness said the film did not appear to have been cut.

He said neither his observation was weak nor he was lying. The defence counsel said voices could be heard in the film before pictures appeared on the screen. The witness said he did not think it was the voice of the accused. The court said voices could be heard before the start of the film but it could not record its opinion at that stage if this was the voice of the accused. The witness said it was incorrect that the statement of the accused was coherent.

In his statement, Mr Jameel Chishti said he was present in his office on December 30, 1999, when he was told that a person had come at the reception who introduced himself as Javed Iqbal, the killer of 100 children.

Replying to a question, he said he did not hear the accused introducing himself to the receptionist. He said Javed Iqbal was called into the office and he was interviewed in the presence of a number of his colleagues. He said Javed told him that Ghaziabad SHO Abdul Shakoor Khokhar had injured him seriously a long time ago when he had gone to him to complain against his servant who beat him up. Javed said in his interview to the Jang staff that he was not cured despite medical treatment and in the meanwhile his mother died of grief.

The witness said Javed confessed that he decided to avenge his mother's death. Javed bought a house in the Ravi Road area. The witness said the accused without any pressure confessed to killing 100 children and said he was assisted by three boys, Sajid, Nadeem and Sabir, in his crimes.

According to the witness Javed Iqbal made his victims unconscious before killing them by strangulation and later the bodies were thrown for decomposition in a drum containing acid.

The witness said Javed repeatedly talked about himself as having being killed by the injuries inflicted on him by his servant. The witness said the police and army personnel were present at the start of the interview but later they were asked to leave the room as it was supposed to be an exclusive story of the Jang newspaper.

The witness said he handed over the cassettes to the police on January 14. He said Javed's interview was published in Jang newspaper on December 31, 1999. He said he himself delivered the newspaper to the investigation officer DSP Masood Aziz at Qila Gujjar Singh police station.

Defence counsel Abdul Baqi expressed his surprise at this and wondered the DSP could not even acquire a newspaper on his own. He said it was unbelievable that a senior journalist in response to a telephone call went to the police station to deliver a copy of the newspaper and did not even ask the policeman to get the same from any newspaper stall.

The witness replied he was interested in meeting the DSP because he was interested in interviewing the three co-accused in the case. He said he did not know if the DSP had a copy of the newspaper with him when he visited the police station. He said a police officer Zaheer was present with the DSP when he gave them the copy of the newspaper.

He said it was correct that Zaheer's signatures were not on the recovery memo. He said he twice recorded his statement with the police and that he did not sign the same. The witness said it was correct the entire scene shown in the court was in the form of question and answers. He said the film started with a question put by him to the accused and his first utterances were in response to the query.

The witness said it was correct that the accused had insisted on being heard first when he put to him the question about his crime. He denied the accused was manhandled to force him into replying to the question. He said he had touched Javed's shoulder during the course of the argument. He said there was no indication that the interview as shown in the film ended abruptly.

The defence counsel said it was clearly shown in the film that Javed looked towards an army officer sitting in the room before answering the question about killing 100 children.

Earlier, the handwriting expert said she was given samples of Javed's handwriting and signatures on January 7 and these matched the specimens of the handwriting of the accused.

She said her conclusion was drawn after detailed analysis of the handwriting. She said her department functioned under the police crimes branch but it had an independent status because of its technical nature. The prosecution sought permission for allowing the expert to compare the writings at the back of the photographs said to have been recovered from Javed Iqbal.

 
 

Gothic horror story

By Irfan Husain

11 December, 1999

IT took a letter from the murderer to a newspaper and the police to uncover the most horrifying crime in Pakistan's history. The brutal killing of a hundred boys in Lahore by a psychopath and his gang has shocked a nation that has seen more than its share of horror.

More than the crime itself, it is the fact that a hundred children could disappear from their homes in and around Lahore without the authorities being aware of it is a cause of so much anguish and anger. For months, the self-confessed murderer, Javed Iqbal, and his accomplices preyed on the boys at public places like Heera Mandi and Data Darbar, luring them to his home on Ravi Road with promises of money and video movies. There the boys would be sodomised, murdered, chopped up and then thrown into vats of acid. Meticulously, their clothes and shoes would be tagged and stored.

The only reason this killing spree has come to an end is no thanks to the police: after he had killed a hundred victims, the murderer reached the target he had set himself, and wrote to the police and a newspaper. The police officer who first received the letter apparently consigned it to the rubbish bin, and news reporters reached the scene of the crime before the cops did. Had Javed Iqbal decided he would kill five hundred children, I have little doubt he would still be at his gruesome task, unhindered by the minions of the law.

This gothic horror story has many lessons for our society, lessons I am sure we will conveniently forget as soon as the initial shock has worn off. As long as our immediate family is all right, we are quite happy to close our eyes to what is happening around us. We forget that sooner or later, the ills of society will enter through our front door and ultimately, nobody is exempt from crime and criminals.

Even after the case had been handed to the police on a platter, the best they could do was to carelessly lose an alleged accomplice of the killer. Apparently, he managed to commit suicide while being interrogated by jumping through a second floor window. This is such a common occurrence that by now one would imagine the police could have thought of a better cover-up for death in custody. Transferring the DIG and the SSP after the event is a bit like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

The sad fact is that despite endless talk of police reforms, our police force remains as mired in inefficiency and corruption as ever. The reason so many parents did not report their sons as missing is that they were afraid of having anything to do with the police. Indeed, the experience of the vast majority who are forced to come into contact with our cops is anything but salutary; nine times out of ten, they are shaken down even when reporting a crime. But to be fair, this is true for most branches of the executive.

The crime took place in a very heavily populated area of Lahore. It is inconceivable that Javed Iqbal's neighbours did not see scores of young boys coming to the house, or hear any sounds, or smell the stench of human flesh being consumed by acid. And yet nobody reported anything out of the ordinary. One reason could well be that Javed Iqbal pretended to be a police officer and understandably, the neighbours did not want to antagonize him. This again says something about the fear the police inspire among ordinary people.

Every time we are hit by a natural or man-made calamity, an inquiry committee is set up. Its main purpose is to deflect public anger, give the impression that the government is doing something and to cover up the facts if they might embarrass the administration. The Javed Iqbal case has proved no different. The committee is going through the motions, and will one day, no doubt, produce a report that will gather dust in some cubby-hole in the Punjab Secretariat. Apart from a few transfers, the police officials concerned will remain unscathed and it will be business as usual until the next horror.

What has to happen before a radical police reform is finally carried out? For years now there has been talk of a metropolitan system to replace the archaic, colonial set-up that has been discarded everywhere else. Not that this is any guarantee of an improvement: after all, the same cops would be manning any new system. But anything would be an improvement over what we have now. Although powerful vested interests have resisted reform tooth and nail, one hopes the new administration will not shy away from the tough decisions that are needed.

When two schoolboys went on a shooting spree in their school in a small American town, President Clinton flew in to console the victims' families and to pray with the survivors. In view of the magnitude of the crime, surely General Musharraf could have made a similar gesture. Apart from the public relations value of such a step, it would have shown the bereaved families that this administration shared their loss. Such a sentiment cannot be adequately expressed through a formal message that appears in the inner pages of the newspapers.

The whole macabre case underlines the terrible sexual frustration and perversion that lie just below the surface of our hypocritical society. The abuse of young boys is an unspoken but rampant aspect of everyday life here and sodomy is the dark - but all too common - side of sexuality here. This is one result of the gender segregation prevalent in traditional societies like ours that nobody wants to talk about. While pretending that ours is a community undefiled by sexual promiscuity, the facts are very different and often very ugly.

What happened on such a staggering magnitude in Lahore recently occurs daily on a smaller scale elsewhere without outraged editorials being written or inquiry committees being formed. We are simply not prepared to concede that sexual frustration regularly leads to deviant acts among both sexes. Indeed, the whole subject is practically taboo: very little scholarly work has been done in this area, and journalists tend to tread warily around the whole question.

But until we are willing to face the consequences of rigid sexual segregation, the violation of young boys and its attendant violence will continue to haunt us.

 
 

Javed Iqbal sworn in as BHC CJ

By Our Staff Correspondent

5 February 2000

QUETTA, Feb 4: Mr Justice Javed Iqbal was sworn in as Chief Justice of the Balochistan High Court on Friday at a simple ceremony held at the Governor House.

The Balochistan Governor, Justice (retd) Amir-ul-Mulk Mengal, administered the oath to the new Chief Justice of the BHC.

All judges of the Balochistan High Court, Corps Commander of Quetta Lt. General Mushtaq Hussain, provincial ministers of the Mengal cabinet, senior government officials and a large number of lawyers, including additional advocate general of Balochistan Noor Mohammad Achakzai, Hadi Shakeel Ahmed, President, Balochistan High Court Bar Association, attended the oath-taking ceremony.

Mr Justice Javed Iqbal is the 8th Chief Justice of the Balochistan High Court. He was born on Aug 1, 1946. He got his primary education from Islamia High School and passed matric from Sandaman High School, Quetta.

He obtained B.A degree from Government College Quetta and later did masters in political science and LLB from the Punjab University. During his stay in Australia he obtained a degree in international law and management development.

The new Chief Justice of the Balochistan High Court studied Islamic Fiqh and Sunna from the International Islamic University, Islamabad. He started his a carrier as public prosecutor in 1973. Later, he joined law department as section officer and worked there till 1977.

On July 15, 1985, he was appointed as district and sessions judge. He also preformed as special judge anti- corruption, Registrar of Balochistan Court, District and Sessions Judge, Quetta, and Special Judge Customs and Banking Court.

Justice Javed Iqbal was appointed as additional judge of the Balochistan High Court in 1993 and was confirmed as permanent judge of the BHC in 1995.

 
 

Judicial remand of Javed Iqbal extended

By Our Staff Reporter

5 February, 2000

LAHORE, Feb 4: Judicial Magistrate Ghulam Husain on Friday extended till Feb 8 the judicial remand of self-confessed killer of 100 children Javed Iqbal.

The accused said in the court he would be killed by slow poisoning. A number of relatives of the missing children gathered outside the courtroom and demanded justice.

The case against Iqbal was registered at the Ravi Road police station under sections 302, 34, 201, 377 and 364-A of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 12(7) of the Hudood Ordinance in 1979.

The investigation officer said the challan had been prepared, and it would be submitted before the proper forum after its scrutiny by state counsel.

He was also summoned by an additional sessions judge in a sodomy case registered against him at the Lower Mall police station in 1998, but was not produced there. The court adjourned the proceedings till Feb 12 and demanded an explanation on the next date of hearing from the police for not producing the accused before it.

 
 

Charges against Javed Iqbal to be framed on 22nd

13 February, 2000

LAHORE, Feb 12: An additional district and sessions judge on Saturday fixed Feb 22 for framing of charges in a case registered against the self-confessed killer of 100 children Javed Iqbal at the Lower Mall police station in 1998.

The case was registered on Feb 13, 1998. The accused was said to have sodomized two teenagers at gunpoint at a place near Data Darbar. The victims were among the 16 children of a fish seller.

The accused, according to the complainant, gave the boys Rs 113 after sodomizing them and asked them to return to the same place a week later. The boys informed their father about the incident who waited for Iqbal at the given spot and got him arrested when he turned up there in a car. This was the first time Javed was produced in the court in this case.

Javed was released in this case on the basis of a bail granted by the Lahore High Court on April 6, 1998 when both the parties were said to have reached a compromise.

Later, a challan was submitted before a judicial magistrate on June 15, 1998. The magistrate delayed forwarding the case to the sessions court because no private witness in the case appeared before him.

 
 

Javed Iqbal, co-accused formally indicted

By Our Staff Reporter

18 February, 2000

LAHORE, Feb 17: Javed Iqbal Mughal and three co-accused in the child-killing case pleaded not guilty when they were formally indicted here on Thursday. Javed Iqbal narrated a long story about injustices allegedly suffered by him to indirectly convey the message that he was not guilty while the three young co-accused, Nadeem, Shahzad and Sabir, clearly denied the charge framed by Additional Sessions Judge Allah Bakhsh Ranjha in a jampacked and heavily guarded courtroom.

The accused had made a confessional statement before a judicial magistrate of Lahore on Jan 13 despite warning that this could be used against them during the trial of the case.

The 100-page charge-sheet was handed over to the defence counsel. It charged the accused with abducting, sodomizing and killing 100 children besides dissolving their bodies in acid.

Before framing the charges the judge dismissed a plea by the defence counsel that the case be dropped as there was no complainant or eyewitness, and no corroborative or circumstantial evidence, and there has been no recovery from the accused.

A petition filed by lawyer Aftab Ahmad Bajwa challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case and demanding its transfer to an anti-terrorist court was also dismissed as both the public prosecutor and defence counsel opposed it.

However, his request to accept his power of attorney on behalf of the heirs of three killed children was accepted.

Mr Bajwa had contended that the offences of kidnapping children and killing them after committing unnatural offence with them and then dissolving their bodies in chemical solution were covered by the Anti-Terrorism Act. The case should be sent to an anti-terrorism court as the incident had terrorized the people not only in Pakistan but also abroad.

He pleaded that the court must determine its jurisdiction at the very start of the trial otherwise it would be challenged at a later stage to the benefit of the accused.

The public prosecutor and the defence counsel maintained that the case could be referred to the anti-terrorist court only if chemicals were used for the alleged killings. In this case the children were allegedly killed through strangulation and chemicals were used only to dispose of the bodies.

The public prosecutor said the case had been carefully and painstakingly prepared and sent to the sessions court for trial. At one point one section of the ATA was included in the charges but this was dropped after consultation with the legal department of police.

Earlier, Javed Iqbal said he was declared as a mad person. "Whate-ver I wanted to say has been distorted. I have seen the children being killed. I am an eyewitness to that.

"I was considered an insane person. But I beg that my point of view must also be heard. I considered myself as a culprit because I have been made a culprit by police," he said.

Javed narrated a tale claiming how he was implicated in a fabricated case of sodomy with two children by Lower Mall police station's Inspector Karamat Bhatti whom he "wanted to expose in his alleged involvement in fake police encounters."

He claimed that he was "punished" by Mr Bhatti because he (Javed) was writing a story for his magazine exposing his (Mr Bhatti's) "involvement" in the police encounters being held during the Punjab government of Mian Shahbaz Sharif.

Javed said his implication in the false case destroyed his business and he had to sell his house to pump money into it. One night he was asleep at his house along with his employees who all were runaway children, when two of them attacked him.

He said the attackers had almost killed him and his employee, Arab, a child. Later, area people nabbed one of the accused while the other fled.

Javed claimed that Ghaziabad SHO Haji Shakoor did not register the case against the nabbed accused and instead kept him at his residence as a personal servant.

He said he was seriously injured but was kicked out of the hospital. He later used to consult Prof Dr Iftikhar Raja for the treatment of an injured backbone.

At this stage prosecution counsel objected to the story by Javed Iqbal and said he was going irrelevant and wasting time of the court.

Defence counsel intervened and said the accused be given a chance to defend himself and in response the judge said 80 per cent of the story of Javed was irrelevant.

The proceedings were held with police trying to restrain the cursing and weeping parents of three missing children who are believed to be among those murdered. The parents wanted to go inside the courtroom but were prevented.

The mother of one of the missing children fell unconscious when she was stopped by police. Hearing was adjourned for Friday morning, and the accused were swiftly driven away from the court premises.

Javed who claimed that he was crippled and rendered unable to walk or stand without support as a result of what he called a murderous attack, stood alert in the witness box along with the three others during the entire proceedings which lasted for over four hours.

 
 

Photo shop owner testifies in Javed Iqbal case

By Our Staff Reporter

22 February, 2000

LAHORE, Feb 21: Additional District and Sessions Judge Allah Bakhsh Ranjha on Monday recorded evidence of a prosecution witness in the case against alleged serial killer Javed Iqbal and adjourned the proceedings till Tuesday.

The court, on the request of Javed Iqbal, ordered the jail superintendent to provide the accused all facilities prescribed in the jail manual. The court directed that he should be given a small sized pencil and paper to note down points for his lawyers. It said the pencil could be taken back in the evening if the superintendent felt the accused could harm himself with it.

Proceedings were held for about three hours during the day. The hearing started at midday because of the hearing on a writ petition in the Lahore High Court requesting trial of the case by an anti-terrorist court. The entire time was consumed by the photo shop owner, Shafiq, appearing as a witness who had to identify the photographs of the missing children which were developed at his shop.

Shafiq identified seven photographs from a total of 57 showed to him from the record. Thirty-one negatives were said to have been developed at his shop. The identification process took a lot of time.

Initially, the witness identified only four photographs. The court, on the request of special prosecutor Asghar Khan Rokhari, allowed the witness more time in front of a lamp on the judge's table. The witness was asked to sit down besides the stenographer and sift through the photographs with patience. He could pick only three others from the pack as having been developed at his shop. Some time was also wasted due to power shutdown while he was trying to pick up the photos.

The witness described as incorrect a suggestion by defence counsel Faisal Najeeb that none of the photographs was developed at his shop and that he was testifying at the behest of the police.

During the cross-examination, the witness said he told the police on Jan 14 that the 31 negatives were developed at his shop. He said the police visited him twice with a gap of about two and a half months. He said he never developed the negatives personally but he had two employees for the purpose. He said he never kept a copy of receipts issued at the time of developing negatives.

The father of a missing boy who had come to the court, fainted outside the courtroom on seeing the children's clothes placed there.

The proceedings were witnessed by a number of lawyers who kept coming and going. Whenever the occasion warranted, Javed Iqbal talked to the three teenaged accused - Sabir, Shehzad and Nadeem. He was heard asking them whether they were provided a bathtub in the washroom and allowed to take a walk. He asked a lawyer sitting in the courtroom if accused could be taken out of their cell for a walk.

He assured the children he would request the judge to ensure strict implementation of the provisions of jail manual.

The three teenaged boys were carrying a newspaper clipping about them with their picture on it. They kept showing it to each other and enjoyed reading the news item.

 
 

Magistrate cross-examined in Javed Iqbal case

By Our Staff Reporter

2 March, 2000

LAHORE, March 1: Defence counsel in the child-killing case on Wednesday completed the cross-examination of judicial magistrate Mian Ghulam Husain who had recorded the confessional statement of the accused, an ASI and owner of the photo studio from where prints of the photographs of missing children were developed.

Statements of the relatives of three missing children were also recorded in the presence of accused Javed Iqbal and three co-accused Nadeem, Shahzad and Sabir in the heavily guarded courtroom of Additional Sessions Judge Allah Bakhsh Ranjha.

The judicial magistrate told the court that he had not recorded the confessional statements of the accused, which the defence counsel considered obligatory under the relevant law.

During the proceedings of the case Mr Najib Faisal, defence counsel for principal accused Javed Iqbal Mughal, informed the court that he was being pressurized not to independently cross-examine the prosecution witnesses otherwise he would not be paid the agreed fees of Rs 30,000.

Mr Najib has been engaged by the government to represent the accused and he sought one hour's time to decide whether he would withdraw or continue to defend Javed Iqbal in his personal capacity.

But when the proceedings resumed he outrightly started cross-examining the judicial magistrate without letting the court know about his decision.

In his statement Mian Ghulam Husain said the accused were produced before him for a remand by police for the first time on December 31, 1999.

He said he took the handwriting specimens of the accused through different methods on January 5 and 6, 2000. The accused remained in police custody till January 13 when they all recorded their confessional statements and were sent to jail.

The judicial magistrate said the accused never moved a written application for recording their confessional statements. They made a verbal request for the purpose on January 6 and he asked them to first consider the likely implication of the statements.

But, he said, they again made a similar verbal request on January 13 and their statements were recorded after a court warning that these would be used against them during the trial of the case.

The magistrate said he had recorded the statements of the four accused one by one and after making all irrelevant people to leave the courtroom.

He said he had written the statements by himself and obtained the signatures and thumb impressions of the accused after attesting every page of them. He even asked some questions to accused Nadeem and Sabir, who appeared to be minors to him, to check whether they knew the implications of the statements they were giving.

Mian Ghulam Husain said his statement under Section 161 of the CrPC was also recorded by police on January 13. Whenever the accused were produced before him they always said they were not being maltreated or tortured by police during their custody for interrogation.

During the cross-examination by defence counsel Faisal Najib, the magistrate said he had not administered oath to the accused while recording their statements.

Replying to a question, he said he had done what was required by the law and done nothing which was not prescribed.

He said he was not an area magistrate of Model Town CIA on January 13. Instead he was the area magistrate of Ravi Road police station under whose jurisdiction the crime was reportedly committed.

The magistrate, however, explained that under an order of the sessions judge he could record statements of any case involving remand in police custody, confessional statements or identification of a murder site anywhere within the limits of Lahore district. He had also briefly mentioned this aspect while dealing with the case of the accused.

Replying to another question he said police had requested for further remand of the accused on January 13 which he had granted. But, he later sent them to the judicial lock-up when police again produced them for the purpose later the same day. Only photocopies of the statements, which were handed over to police, were made and there was no carbon copy.

ASI Sadiq of Ravi Road police station who had recorded his statement on Tuesday said during the cross-examination that he was included in the police party which had raided the locked house of the main accused Javed Iqbal. He said he and SHO Ashiq Marth were patrolling the area from where they rushed to the Ravi Road house of Javed Iqbal.

He said police had broken locks of the main gate and a room of the house to come around the drums of chemicals and other items but had not taken into custody the broken locks. The lists of items, now a property in the case, were prepared by him as the SHO was unable to write because of an injury to his right hand.

The ASI said the SHO had sustained a bullet injury before his joining the police station in August and he did not know how it had happened.

He said the entire formality was completed in around four hours and the items were removed from the house the next day. They were left at the house of Javed Iqbal under the supervision of a sub-inspector, he said.

Photo studio owner Khalil Shahzad said prints of the photographs of the missing children were made by his employee and not by him. The relatives of three missing children also recorded their statements indicating as to how they recognized clothes, shoes and other belongings of their wards from the bundles recovered from the house of the accused.

The proceedings were adjourned for Thursday morning.

 
 

Missing boys are alive, claims Javed

By Our Staff Reporter

9 March, 2000

LAHORE, March 8: Javed Iqbal, the alleged killer of 100 children, on Wednesday submitted before the trial court that the missing children were alive and that he did not murder any boy.

Replying to questions put to him by the court comprising Additional District and Sessions Judge Allah Bakhsh Ranjha, he said not a single boy was murdered. The accused submitted a written statement spread on 20 pages in the court. He said the statement contained his complete version about the issue.

The statements of all the four accused were recorded and the case was adjourned for final arguments. All the accused denied having killed anybody.

The accused said the judicial confession was recorded under duress. Javed Iqbal said he staged this "tragedy" to highlight the issue of runaway children of poor families who become victim of evil people.

Regarding the whereabouts of the missing boys, the accused said it was the police's responsibility to find them. He wrote on page No eight of the statement that the children disappeared due to the treatment by their families and were living with different people and 'surely' were compulsive homosexuals. He writes some children have returned to their homes but their parents are silent about it. He said it is the responsibility of the police to find the children who are still missing.

He said four people out of the 100 presumed as missing could be proved to be alive. He said three of these children were his co-accused, Sajid, Sabir, and Nadeem, in the case. Another of them lived in Shadbagh and their photographs were among those of the hundred missing children. He said he was told by one of his friends, Ishaq Billa, who died in police custody during investigation of the case, that the fourth boy was also one of the 100 children. He said Ishaq's son could recognize the boy and he could be summoned by the court for confirmation of the fact.

Regarding the judicial confession said to have been recorded by them before a judicial magistrate and the fact they were warned that the confession could be used against them, the accused said they were under pressure from the police and feared they would be killed in a police encounter if they did not make a statement before the magistrate as directed by them. They said they simply replied in affirmative to the suggestions made by the magistrate who read out a statement to them.

Javed Iqbal said fearing for his life he sent a letter to the army officials and a captain also visited the police station. He said initially he refused to make a statement and later an SP handed him a statement to read before the magistrate. He was taken again to the court where he replied to the magistrate's suggestions in "hun haan".

One of the accused said six people were present in the court during the recording of their confession and no policeman was there.

The court summoned on Thursday the Jang administration officer in person along with a video recording prepared by the Jang staff of the extra-judicial confession said to have been made by the accused at the newspaper's office before he was arrested from there.

Earlier, an application was moved to the effect by Javed Iqbal through his counsel Najeeb Faisal Chaudhry.

The special prosecutors, Muhammad Asghar Rokhari and Burhan Muazzam Malik, opposed the application saying the prosecution could not be forced to produce anything in evidence. They said they produced all the evidence they considered necessary. The defence counsel did not press his application. But the court said it was necessary to summon the video recording in view of the facts that came to light during the hearing of the case and the fact that the accused also said his statement (complete interview) was filmed at the Jang office.

About the acid-filled barrels (drums) recovered from his house, the accused said he had filled these with mobile oil and beef to mislead the police. He said he completed this job on Nov 22 and on the same day wrote five letters to higher officials. He said Ishaq Billa helped him in placing the posters on wall and that the later was illiterate and could not read what was written on these charts.

Javed Iqbal said in his statement that his memory was affected from an injury received in the head. He said he was involved by police in fake cases, money was extorted from his family and his friends were blackmailed. He said he was beaten up by his servants and the police did not help in the case and he was involved in a fake sodomy case. He said he was operated upon five times but to no avail and during the process his house and car were sold, his business suffered badly, his mother became ill and feeling all alone in the world started visiting shrines and took recourse in religion.

As to how the idea of staging the present drama came to his mind, he said it developed over a period of time when his friends were searching for the boy who had beaten him up and his aim was to highlight the issue of runaway children. He said his friends - Murshid Naseem, Ashiq Husain and Ishaq Billa - had started looking after him during this difficult time. These days he thought about reforming the runaway children.

The accused said one day his four friends decided to trace the boy who had injured him. He said they would inquire from different children around the Minar-i-Pakistan about the boy. He said his friends brought home many such boys, fed them, gave them new clothes and inquired about the whereabouts of the boy. This continued for many months during which he visited many shrines. He said Ishaq told him that he had gathered details of a number of boys during the search for the boy who had beaten him up. He said when he looked at the details he thought if problems of these boys could be solved. The next day he bought Ishaq a camera and asked him to photograph the boys they brought home and write their whereabouts in detail.

Javed Iqbal said he continued visiting shrines during this time while his friends partied in his house and he was fed up of paying the bills. He said his friends never cared about his weak financial condition and hundreds of thousands of rupees were spent in this way.

 
 

Recording of Javed Iqbal's confession played in court

By Our Staff Reporter

3 March, 2000

LAHORE, March 2: The statement of a witness to the extra-judicial confession made by the alleged killer of 100 children, Javed Iqbal, was recorded and audio and video recordings of the confession were played on Thursday before Additional District and Sessions Judge Allah Bakhsh Ranjha.

Three witnesses recorded their statements during the day taking to 97 the total number of witnesses examined so far in the case. The proceedings continued for about five hours out of which four hours were taken up by the cross-examination of the witness, daily Jang's Editor (crime) Jameel Chishti. Another witness to the extra-judicial confession, Jang's crime reporter Asad Sahi, was given up by the prosecution. The other witnesses who recorded their statements were a relative of a missing child, Afsar Begum, and a handwriting expert, Inspector Parvez Aslam.

The film was of about three minutes duration and it was played about six times during the course of the Jang staffer's cross-examination. Javed Iqbal said he was interviewed for a long time and in it he made important revelations about the people involved in the present case. The court directed him to tell this to his counsel who could question the witness about it.

Replying to the questions put by defence counsel Najeeb Faisal and Abdul Baqi, the journalist said there was another portion of the film of about 30 minutes duration and it was in the custody of his boss. He said this portion of the film was not shown to anybody, including the police. He said he had asked for a cameraman immediately after Javed's appearance and he arrived at the Jang's office about 15 minutes later. He said the privately arranged cameraman filmed for 10 minutes when the Jang cameraman arrived and he recorded the later portion which has not been seen by anybody.

The witness said it was incorrect that the accused did not state during the film that he killed 100 children. The court played the film twice to verify this and found the accused in response to a direct question to the effect put by the witness used the words "haan khud mar dia tha (yes I had killed myself)".

The witness denied a suggestion the cassettes were being concealed to protect some people whose names were supposedly taken by Javed Iqbal as murderers of the missing children. He denied that his institution wanted to blackmail the influential persons who the defence counsel suggested were named by Javed Iqbal during his interview.

The witness said the film was concealed because it was an important case and the concealed portion would be a part of an exclusive Jang documentary film. He denied the film was being withheld dishonestly. He said it was incorrect the accused said something against the newspaper establishment during his interview. He said it was not in his knowledge that the concealed film could be an evidence in the present case.

In response to a question put by defence counsel Chaudhry Safdar, the witness said names of co-accused Nadeem and Sabir did not come up in the film shown in the court. Replying to another question, the witness said the film did not appear to have been cut.

He said neither his observation was weak nor he was lying. The defence counsel said voices could be heard in the film before pictures appeared on the screen. The witness said he did not think it was the voice of the accused. The court said voices could be heard before the start of the film but it could not record its opinion at that stage if this was the voice of the accused. The witness said it was incorrect that the statement of the accused was coherent.

In his statement, Mr Jameel Chishti said he was present in his office on December 30, 1999, when he was told that a person had come at the reception who introduced himself as Javed Iqbal, the killer of 100 children.

Replying to a question, he said he did not hear the accused introducing himself to the receptionist. He said Javed Iqbal was called into the office and he was interviewed in the presence of a number of his colleagues. He said Javed told him that Ghaziabad SHO Abdul Shakoor Khokhar had injured him seriously a long time ago when he had gone to him to complain against his servant who beat him up. Javed said in his interview to the Jang staff that he was not cured despite medical treatment and in the meanwhile his mother died of grief.

The witness said Javed confessed that he decided to avenge his mother's death. Javed bought a house in the Ravi Road area. The witness said the accused without any pressure confessed to killing 100 children and said he was assisted by three boys, Sajid, Nadeem and Sabir, in his crimes.

According to the witness Javed Iqbal made his victims unconscious before killing them by strangulation and later the bodies were thrown for decomposition in a drum containing acid.

The witness said Javed repeatedly talked about himself as having being killed by the injuries inflicted on him by his servant. The witness said the police and army personnel were present at the start of the interview but later they were asked to leave the room as it was supposed to be an exclusive story of the Jang newspaper.

The witness said he handed over the cassettes to the police on January 14. He said Javed's interview was published in Jang newspaper on December 31, 1999. He said he himself delivered the newspaper to the investigation officer DSP Masood Aziz at Qila Gujjar Singh police station.

Defence counsel Abdul Baqi expressed his surprise at this and wondered the DSP could not even acquire a newspaper on his own. He said it was unbelievable that a senior journalist in response to a telephone call went to the police station to deliver a copy of the newspaper and did not even ask the policeman to get the same from any newspaper stall.

The witness replied he was interested in meeting the DSP because he was interested in interviewing the three co-accused in the case. He said he did not know if the DSP had a copy of the newspaper with him when he visited the police station. He said a police officer Zaheer was present with the DSP when he gave them the copy of the newspaper.

He said it was correct that Zaheer's signatures were not on the recovery memo. He said he twice recorded his statement with the police and that he did not sign the same. The witness said it was correct the entire scene shown in the court was in the form of question and answers. He said the film started with a question put by him to the accused and his first utterances were in response to the query.

The witness said it was correct that the accused had insisted on being heard first when he put to him the question about his crime. He denied the accused was manhandled to force him into replying to the question. He said he had touched Javed's shoulder during the course of the argument. He said there was no indication that the interview as shown in the film ended abruptly.

The defence counsel said it was clearly shown in the film that Javed looked towards an army officer sitting in the room before answering the question about killing 100 children.

Earlier, the handwriting expert said she was given samples of Javed's handwriting and signatures on January 7 and these matched the specimens of the handwriting of the accused.

She said her conclusion was drawn after detailed analysis of the handwriting. She said her department functioned under the police crimes branch but it had an independent status because of its technical nature. The prosecution sought permission for allowing the expert to compare the writings at the back of the photographs said to have been recovered from Javed Iqbal.

 
 

Sentence given to child killer un-Islamic, says CII

29 March, 2000

ISLAMABAD, March 28: The sentence of cutting serial child- murderer Javed Iqbal into 100 pieces runs totally counter to Islamic tenets, the Council of Islamic Ideology said here on Monday.

The council quoted from Shariat and Ahadith to declare un-Islamic the sentence of cutting Javed Iqbal into 100 pieces and throwing them in acid, passed by the sessions judge, Lahore.

The council statement was released under the signatures of its Director General, Research, Dr Ghulam Murtaza Azad. Javed Iqbal was convicted of molesting and then murdering 100 children in Lahore.

The council said the verdict against Javed iqbal could create an impression inside and outside the country that it had been passed in keeping with Islamic injunctions, thus potentially giving rise to misunderstandings about the Shariat.

It said there were categorical commandments in Islam for maintaining the dignity of a dead body, including that of a non-Muslim.

In this connection, it said, that according to Ahadith, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had commanded his followers to stand aside and let pass a funeral procession even of a non-Muslim.

It said the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had also asked his followers not to speak ill of the dead because they had already met their fate.

The council said the cutting of a body into pieces was called "Masa'ala" in pre-Islamic terms and the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had strictly prohibited Muslims from undertaking this practice.-AFP

 
 

Serial child killer commits suicide

10 October, 2001

LAHORE, Oct 9: Javed Iqbal, the convicted killer of 100 children, and one of his accomplices committed suicide at the Kot Lakhpat jail on Tuesday, jail authorities claimed. Iqbal was awarded death sentence in 2000 on one hundred counts by a local court for murdering 100 children and throwing their bodies in acid.

Javed Iqbal, accomplice found dead in jail

By Our Reporter

LAHORE, Oct 9: Javed Iqbal Mughal, who hit headlines by confessing to killing 100 children and was convicted on the same charge, died in mysterious circumstances in his cell in the Kot Lakhpat Jail on Tuesday

His accomplice, Sajid, also a condemned prisoner, was also found dead in separate cell. The jail authorities claim that the two had committed suicide. But the circumstantial evidence and the condition of the two bodies belied the official claim.

Detained in separate but adjacent cells in Block 7 of the jail, Javed, 40, and Sajid, 20, were found hanging at 5am, jail superintendent Mian Farooq told reporters. "We are investigating the matter and nothing has so far been ascertained," he said.

AIG prisons Abdussattar Ajiz claimed that the two prisoners had committed suicide sometime between 10pm and 2am when one Iftikhar Husain was on guard duty outside the cells. He quoted the guard as having said: "I was asleep when the incident took place".

Mr Ajiz said that the guard saw the two prisoners hanging with bedsheets tied to iron bars of the cells when he woke up. The guard untied knots of the bedsheets and laid the bodies on the floor to create an impression that they were asleep. He did so to save his skin. Then he left at 2am without informing the authorities about the incident, he said.

The AIG said that another official Liaquat Ali replaced the first guard who, too, did not bother to check the prisoners. In the morning, he said, the head warden of the block found them dead when he woke them up.

Police investigators, however, believed that committing suicide this way was not easy and especially when two people were doing so at the same time. Senior jail officials, doctors, a magistrate and police rushed to the prison. The bodies were sent to the city mortuary for autopsy.

Strangulation marks were found around the blood splashed necks of the two prisoners, doctors in the mortuary said. They said hands, feet and nails of the deceased had gone blue. They were bleeding from mouth and nostrils and tongue of one of them had a cut mark, the doctors said. An injury mark was also found around Sajid's neck, they said, adding that countless healed wounds inflicted with a blunt weapon were also found on all over the body of Javed Iqbal.

Nobody from Javed's family turned up to collect his body. His brothers Parvez Mughal and Saeed Mughal said that Javed had died for them the day he had confessed to killing 100 children. "We have nothing to do with him," they said, adding that they would not collect the body.

Javed had made over dozen attempts to commit suicide, a jail official claimed while talking to reporters at the city mortuary. "His behaviour was strange," he said, claiming "Javed would start demanding milk at midnight. Sometimes, he would demand fruit which was not available in market. He used to keep the jail staff engaged."

Javed Iqbal was detained in the jail since he made a dramatic surrender at the office of an Urdu daily on Dec 30, 1999. The surrender brought an end to the country's biggest manhunt that was launched after Javed himself conveyed the details of his crime to the authorities in the last week of November, 1999, through parcels filled with evidence and pictures of his victims.

Besides the parcels, the serial killer left two human skeletons in an acid-filled container at the house from where the police recovered at least nine bags carrying clothes and shoes of the victims.

The parcels also contained a personal diary and a notebook of the self-confessed killer giving each and every detail of his murder. A letter bearing confessional statement of Javed was also attached with the parcels which read: "I had sexually assaulted 100 children before killing them, and had disposed of their bodies in barrels of acid." A similar parcel was also sent to the office of an Urdu daily.

Newsmen were the first to reach a three-room dingy house along Ravi Road which was pointed out in the letter. The reporters and police found placards neatly pinned to the interior walls of the house giving details about the victims and how they were murdered.

A placard read: "All details of the murders are contained in the diary and the 32-page notebook that have been placed in the room and had also been sent to the authorities. This is my confessional statement." Another placard read: "The bodies in the house have deliberately not been disposed of so that the authorities will find them after my suicide." Yet another placard said: "I am going to jump into the river Ravi to commit suicide."

The claim referring to committing suicide, however, turned fake when two accomplices of Javed were arrested from Sohawa while attempting to encash a traveller cheque and later when he himself surrendered. Families of almost all the 100 children from all over the country identified their pictures, shoes and other evidence at the Ravi Road police station.

During investigation of the case, an accomplice Ishaq, alias Billa, of the killer died in the CIA custody when he reportedly jumped down from a window at the third floor of the CIA headquarters on Dec 7, 1999. As a punishment, the entire administration of the Lahore police was changed.

Hearing of the case started in the court of additional sessions judge Allah Bukhsh Ranjha on Feb 8, 2000. Javed and his accomplices were formally indicted on Feb 17, 2000, and they all pleaded not guilty. During the proceedings, the serial killer kept on changing his statements, claiming sometime that the children were alive and saying that he had killed the 100 boys in revenge to the "injustice meted out to him."

Javed was sentenced to death on 100 counts on March 16, 2000. In the verdict, the judge said that Javed and his co-accused Sajid in the presence of the families of their victims be strangled with the same iron chain which they used as a weapon of offence, their bodies be cut into pieces and put into a drum containing acid as they did with those of the dead children.

Javed filed an appeal before the Lahore High Court against his death sentence. After being pending for many months, the LHC referred the appeal to the Shariat Court, saying that it did not fall in its jurisdiction.

In his diary and notebook, Javed had portrayed himself as a victim of "police system, irregularities in jail system in Pakistan and injustice in other sections of society." According to his confessional statement, he and his accomplices used to lure teenaged boys from the shrine of Data Sahib and other such places to bring them to the Ravi Road house and kill them after sexual assault.

 
 

Crime of the century

By Azmat Abbas

On 2 December, the Lahore police discovered human remains from two acid-filled containers in a house on Ravi Road following a letter sent by a man who claimed he had criminally assaulted 100 boys and later dissolved their bodies in acid. The fact came to light when the alleged assassin, Javed Iqbal Mughal, sent parcels to the Lahore Range DIG and a local newspaper containing pictures of the suspected victims and gory details of the killings. The killings were described as the 'crime of the century'.

The exact motive remains uncertain but from the diary of the suspect it appears that he was himself once made the victim of a sexual assault and had committed the murders in retaliation. Javed also claimed to have suffered trauma at the hands of the police - who refused to take action against his tormentors. His Ravi Road home had ten x-ray films of his skull showing head injuries and also several hospital receipts, and doctors' prescriptions.

The police also recovered clothes of the 100 suspected victims and 86 pairs of shoes from the house where the alleged killer had affixed several placards on the wall narrating details about the killings.

Initially, police officers contested the claim of the maniac regarding the number of victims. "The recovery of human remains suggested that some killings occurred, but we still have to verify the exact number of victims," said a police spokesman.

The belongings of the suspected victims were put on display at the Ravi Road police station and by the next morning the pictures, shoes and clothes of at least four boys had been identified by their distraught families. For the next few days grief-stricken parents and relatives of missing children from as far as Sargodha, Jhang, Faisalabad, Multan, Toba Tek Singh, Peshawar and Mardan flocked to the police station. Till 11 December, the parents of 72 missing children had identified their pictures and belongings among those recovered from the psychopath's house.

Several teams of police investigators were set up and in a few hours after the incident was unearthed the police took into custody Javed Iqbal's brothers and friends. The police arrested nine people, who the serial killer claimed had assisted him in his heinous act of murdering the children and dissolving their bodies in acid.

However, the investigations came to a halt with the death of one of the suspected co-accused, Muhammad Ishaq, in custody of the police. "The dead co-accused had breakfast with the principal accused a few hours before he surrendered to the police," claimed the Punjab chief secretary.

The attention of police investigators has now shifted from Javed Iqbal to saving the policemen in whose custody Ishaq died. To date police have not been able to find a clue which could lead to the arrest of the suspect.

A noteworthy aspect which came to light following the incident was that hundreds of children go missing in Lahore and other cities without any notice or news. At the same time law enforcing agencies remain busy in the service of the establishment and defending the status quo. Small wonder, Javed Iqbal, the alleged killer, could operate with such impunity his little extermination camp a stone's throw from a police station. This is now a symbol of all that is evil in the police department throughout the country.

Whether Javed was insane is not confirmed. The hint at suicide has not been accepted by the police, who believe he is still alive. In any case, the entire drama is a reflection both on the police and society.

 
 

LAHORE: Javed Iqbal, accomplice found dead in jail

October 10, 2001

LAHORE, Oct 9: Javed Iqbal Mughal, who hit headlines by confessing to killing 100 children and was convicted on the same charge, died in mysterious circumstances in his cell in the Kot Lakhpat Jail on Tuesday

His accomplice, Sajid, also a condemned prisoner, was also found dead in separate cell.

The jail authorities claim that the two had committed suicide. But the circumstantial evidence and the condition of the two bodies belied the official claim.

Detained in separate but adjacent cells in Block 7 of the jail, Javed, 40, and Sajid, 20, were found hanging at 5am, jail superintendent Mian Farooq told reporters. “We are investigating the matter and nothing has so far been ascertained,” he said.

AIG prisons Abdussattar Ajiz claimed that the two prisoners had committed suicide sometime between 10pm and 2am when one Iftikhar Husain was on guard duty outside the cells. He quoted the guard as having said: “I was asleep when the incident took place”.

Mr Ajiz said that the guard saw the two prisoners hanging with bedsheets tied to iron bars of the cells when he woke up. The guard untied knots of the bedsheets and laid the bodies on the floor to create an impression that they were asleep. He did so to save his skin. Then he left at 2am without informing the authorities about the incident, he said.

The AIG said that another official Liaquat Ali replaced the first guard who, too, did not bother to check the prisoners. In the morning, he said, the head warden of the block found them dead when he woke them up.

Police investigators, however, believed that committing suicide this way was not easy and especially when two people were doing so at the same time.

Senior jail officials, doctors, a magistrate and police rushed to the prison. The bodies were sent to the city mortuary for autopsy.

Strangulation marks were found around the blood splashed necks of the two prisoners, doctors in the mortuary said. They said hands, feet and nails of the deceased had gone blue. They were bleeding from mouth and nostrils and tongue of one of them had a cut mark, the doctors said. An injury mark was also found around Sajid’s neck, they said, adding that countless healed wounds inflicted with a blunt weapon were also found on all over the body of Javed Iqbal.

Nobody from Javed’s family turned up to collect his body. His brothers Parvez Mughal and Saeed Mughal said that Javed had died for them the day he had confessed to killing 100 children. “We have nothing to do with him,” they said, adding that they would not collect the body.

Javed had made over dozen attempts to commit suicide, a jail official claimed while talking to reporters at the city mortuary. “His behaviour was strange,” he said, claiming “Javed would start demanding milk at midnight. Sometimes, he would demand fruit which was not available in market. He used to keep the jail staff engaged.”

Javed Iqbal was detained in the jail since he made a dramatic surrender at the office of an Urdu daily on Dec 30, 1999. The surrender brought an end to the country’s biggest manhunt that was launched after Javed himself conveyed the details of his crime to the authorities in the last week of November, 1999, through parcels filled with evidence and pictures of his victims.

Besides the parcels, the serial killer left two human skeletons in an acid-filled container at the house from where the police recovered at least nine bags carrying clothes and shoes of the victims.

The parcels also contained a personal diary and a notebook of the self-confessed killer giving each and every detail of his murder. A letter bearing confessional statement of Javed was also attached with the parcels which read: “I had sexually assaulted 100 children before killing them, and had disposed of their bodies in barrels of acid.” A similar parcel was also sent to the office of an Urdu daily.

Newsmen were the first to reach a three-room dingy house along Ravi Road which was pointed out in the letter. The reporters and police found placards neatly pinned to the interior walls of the house giving details about the victims and how they were murdered.

A placard read: “All details of the murders are contained in the diary and the 32-page notebook that have been placed in the room and had also been sent to the authorities. This is my confessional statement.” Another placard read: “The bodies in the house have deliberately not been disposed of so that the authorities will find them after my suicide.” Yet another placard said: “I am going to jump into the river Ravi to commit suicide.”

The claim referring to committing suicide, however, turned fake when two accomplices of Javed were arrested from Sohawa while attempting to encash a traveller cheque and later when he himself surrendered. Families of almost all the 100 children from all over the country identified their pictures, shoes and other evidence at the Ravi Road police station. During investigation of the case, an accomplice Ishaq, alias Billa, of the killer died in the CIA custody when he reportedly jumped down from a window at the third floor of the CIA headquarters on Dec 7, 1999. As a punishment, the entire administration of the Lahore police was changed.

Hearing of the case started in the court of additional sessions judge Allah Bukhsh Ranjha on Feb 8, 2000. Javed and his accomplices were formally indicted on Feb 17, 2000, and they all pleaded not guilty. During the proceedings, the serial killer kept on changing his statements, claiming sometime that the children were alive and saying that he had killed the 100 boys in revenge to the “injustice meted out to him.”

Javed was sentenced to death on 100 counts on March 16, 2000. In the verdict, the judge said that Javed and his co-accused Sajid in the presence of the families of their victims be strangled with the same iron chain which they used as a weapon of offence, their bodies be cut into pieces and put into a drum containing acid as they did with those of the dead children.

Javed filed an appeal before the Lahore High Court against his death sentence. After being pending for many months, the LHC referred the appeal to the Shariat Court, saying that it did not fall in its jurisdiction.

In his diary and notebook, Javed had portrayed himself as a victim of “police system, irregularities in jail system in Pakistan and injustice in other sections of society.” According to his confessional statement, he and his accomplices used to lure teenaged boys from the shrine of Data Sahib and other such places to bring them to the Ravi Road house and kill them after sexual assault.

 
 

LAHORE: The story of a pampered boy

By Asif Shahzad

LAHORE, Oct 10: Psychologists describe Javed Iqbal Mughal alias Kukri as a pampered child who developed bad habits in early age and later spent most of his life keeping a brigade of teenaged boys around him.

People having a first-hand experience of meeting Iqbal term him a “boy hunter” who would go to any extent to satiate his lust for sodomy.

Since his teens when he owned a 200 CC motorbike, Javed Iqbal had been using different ways to lure boys. His “most effective” method was to make pen-friends through magazines on children.

After getting photos of his pen-friends, he would short list ‘attractive’ boys to maintain friendship with them. He would spend thousands of rupees on sending them gifts like perfumes, tickets, coins etc.

Javed Iqbal was the sixth child (fourth son) of Mohammad Ali Mughal, a well-off trader. He did his matriculation from Islamia High School. He started his own business in 1978 when he was an intermediate student at the Islamia College, Railway Road. His father bought two villas in Shadbagh. Iqbal set up a steel recasting business in one of the houses and lived there for years along with boys.

Other family members learnt about his bad habits when they also moved to Shadbagh but he would not allow them interfere in his life or speak against the boys accompanying him.

In late 1990, a man filed a complaint against Javed Iqbal for sodomising his son. Shadbagh police detained his father and two brothers after their failure to arrest him. They remained in custody for seven days but Iqbal did not surrender.

On the eighth day, one of his boys was arrested from his house and was detained at the police station. Within a few hours Iqbal surfaced and hurled abuses at his family members for allowing the police to arrest the boy. Later, he himself surrendered to secure the release of the boy.

For several years Iqbal resisted the efforts of his family to arrange his marriage. One day he stunned everybody by declaring that he had selected a bride for himself. She was the elder sister of one of his boys. “The purpose was to stop the boy from deserting him.”

The marriage which took place in 1983 lasted for a couple of months.

In an identical move, Iqbal married his youngest sister to one of his boys, Muhammad Iqbal. People who knew Javed Iqbal termed him an ‘evil genius’. He was well aware of law and punishment. He had a habit of filing applications to various departments, complaining about one thing or the other.

He was once arrested and jailed for six months on charges of committing sodomy but it had no effect on his inclination towards boys.

Once he assaulted the son of a respectable person of the Shadbagh. The matter was taken up by the elders of the area. He confessed to his crime before a panchayat at Gol Bagh. He signed a stamp paper, giving an undertaking that he would not do it again. Later, photocopies of the stamp paper were distributed in the area. On the panchayat’s order, he visited 100 shops in the main market to tender apology.

Shortly afterwards, his father died and there was nobody to stop the residents of Shadbagh to take him to the task. The next time he was caught, he was thrashed and ejected from Shadbagh.

Apart from his family business, everything Javed Iqbal did was aimed at luring boys. He opened a video games shop — the first of its kind in Shadbagh — and would offer tokens to boys at reduced rates and in some cases free of cost. He would throw a 100 rupee note on the floor and watch the boy who would pick it up. Then he would announce that his money had been stolen and he had to search everybody. The ‘thief’ would be caught and taken to an adjacent room where he would be sodomised. At times the money would be given back to the boy as a “gesture of goodwill.”

When people stopped their children from visiting the shop, Iqbal set up a fish aquarium and later a gym, again to attract boys.

He also set up an air-conditioned school (Sunny Side School) but it failed as nobody was willing to send children. He also opened a fair-price shop where items of daily use were sold at a price lower than the market value. That too lasted for a few weeks.

Javed Iqbal also invested in a monthly magazine (Anti-corruption Crime) where he published the ‘heroics’ of police officers and established good contacts in the department. He interviewed at least two dozen police officers, including SSPs and DIGs.

Following the death of his father in 1993, Iqbal received a hefty share of Rs 3.5 million from the estate. He constructed a large house in Rana Town, Shahdara, in 1995 with a pond in the basement and a swimming pool in the backyard. He loved moving around in style and was often seen driving in a five-door Pajero along with half a dozen boys. “Once he owned four vehicles — a Pajero, a Lancer, a Toyota and a Suzuki FX,” said one of his old friends.

Javed Iqbal sold his Rana Town house and shifted to a new residence in Fatehgarh, Ghaziabad, and opened a video games shop there.

In September 1998, Iqbal and his employee, Arbab, were severely beaten up by another employee and a masseur, and deprived of Rs 8,000 in cash. Iqbal sustained serious head injuries and remained unconscious at the Lahore General Hospital for 22 days. Initially, the Ghaziabad police registered a robbery case but later, on the complaint of Arbab’s family, amended the FIR and charged Iqbal with sodomy. He was arrested on release from the hospital. He was later granted bail by a local court.

As no body in the family was willing to spend money on his treatment, his Ghaziabad house, car and shop were sold out and the money was used for his treatment.

On getting better, he was shocked to find that his assets had been sold.

On more than one occasions, he told his brothers that he had prepared a chemical which left a person reduced to a skeleton in minutes.

Iqbal started his killing spree in May 1999 and himself leaked it to the press. “I did it to avenge an attempt on my life by my boys, the death of my mother and injustice in society,” he later told police.

 
 


 

Javed Iqbal: Chains

by Seamus McGraw

100 Innocents Gone

The manila evidence folder lay open on the judge’s bench, revealing photo after photo of young boys, most of them shirtless, their dark hair tumbling across smooth brows, their deep eyes peering quizzically at the unseen man behind the camera. A few smiled shyly. Some seemed apprehensive.

Did they know?

Did they imagine that this fatherly little white-haired man who now sat in the courtroom, this man who lured them one at a time from the spice-scented city streets of Lahore in the Punjab region of Pakistan, meant to harm them? Or had they been on their own on the streets so long that they had learned not to expect anything but abuse and exploitation? Was that what the judge was seeing in the eyes of the boys in the photos? Was it the unimaginable sadness of a child who knows with perfect certainty that nobody cares?

The judge looked down from his perch at the defendant. A hundred deaths would not be enough to punish Javed Iqbal and his three young accomplices for what they had done. Perhaps no penalty on earth could atone for the crime Javed had committed; luring 100 young boys to his run-down flat during a brief five-month period, where he raped them, strangled them with an iron chain, and then dumped their bodies into a vat of acid.

As horrifying as the crime was, what is even more horrible to comprehend is the fact that no one had noticed that most of the children – foot soldiers in a vast army of urchins who prowl the streets of Pakistan’s cities – were even missing until Javed himself confessed to his crime in a letter to authorities. Even after his confession, given first to a local newspaper, bungling police officials couldn’t locate Javed until he walked under his own power into police headquarters to surrender.

Yes, the judge thought, he was a monster and most monstrously he had, it seemed, exposed a terrible secret about Pakistani society, that it was a place where a child’s life is next to worthless, a place where 100 children could vanish, suffer terrible tortures and brutal deaths and no one would even notice.

Javed, it seemed to the judge, had not become the worst pedophile and serial murderer in recent Pakistani history. He had accomplices: the uncaring Pakistani population and an incompetent police force.

Where in the law books would the judge find the penalty for that?

The answer wasn’t in the books, the judge realized. It was in the deep and tragic eyes of the 100 boys whose photos spilled out of the manila folder onto his desk.

Speaking slowly in English, the official language of the Pakistani courts, the judge sentenced Javed to be strangled to death with the same chain he used to kill the children. The judge further ordered that his body “will then be cut into 100 pieces and put in acid,” the same concoction of hydrochloric and sulfuric acids the killer used to dispose of their bodies of his young victims.

In the Market

The market square that surrounds the spectacular Mina-i-Pakistan --a monument to the struggles of the Muslims in the predominantly Hindu subcontinent -- is always teeming with throngs of tourists and with pilgrims making their way to the shrines that dot this city of seven million. It’s easy to disappear in the crowds. It was a place Javed felt comfortable.

A paternal looking man in his mid-40s with a shock of white hair and glasses, Javed would often wander through the markets. It was there, the twice-divorced father of two would later claim, that he collected teenage boys whom he took to his three-room flat on Ravi Road to work as his servants. Such arrangements are not uncommon in the subcontinent. Although the Koran strictly forbids homosexual relations and is even stricter when it comes to pedophilia, many older men regularly take young boys to be their lovers and servants.

In fact, in places like the Northwest frontier provinces of Pakistan, not far from Lahore, such relationships are “a matter of pride,” or a “symbol of social status” for the older men, according to a 1997 survey conducted by Pakistan’s National Coalition for Child Rights. Poems have been written about the love between a man and his servant. And while not usually discussed in polite company, the practice is generally understood and even accepted in other parts of both Pakistan and Afghanistan as well, the survey found.

Javed -- a man who identified himself variously as a journalist and a social worker -- steadfastly maintained that he was not cruising for sex on his regular forays to the market square, but was instead a desperately lonely man, looking for lonely boys to help him with his daily tasks. The teeming square, he would later say, was full of likely candidates. They appeared, like so many of the throwaway children who gather in swarms around Lahore, to be sweet and vulnerable and desperate for someone to lend them a hand, he said. But he complained that some of them were brutal opportunists who exploited him.

In fact, he would later claim in his confession to police, it was an attack by some of the boys he had taken into his home that triggered his bloody killing spree.

According to Javed’s original statement – never confirmed by the authorities and which he later tried to retract – he was brutally beaten and left for dead by a pair of young street kids he had taken into his home. In an account published in Dawn, Pakistan’s most prominent English language newspaper, on January 14, 2000, Javed said he suffered such a severe head injury that his memory was affected. He underwent several operations, he said, and during the process lost both his house and his car. His mother, so broken-hearted at the condition her son had sunk to, simply died, he told police. He turned to police for help, he said, but they refused. Instead, he argued, the police turned on him, accusing him – falsely, he insisted – of sodomy.

With no one else to turn to he looked to four young friends – identified only as Nadeem, Shabir, Sajid and Ishaq Billa, to care for him, he told authorities. It was then, according to the statement he gave authorities, that Javed decided to enlist them in a gruesome plot to avenge his mother’s death.

The price for her suffering and his was the deaths of 100 children. They could easily be found in the market square that surrounds the minaret.

A Beautiful Boy

His name was Ijaz, and he was a beautiful boy in a tattered white shirt with a Kara, an iron ring, around his ankle. Though no one seemed to know exactly how old he was, he appeared to be in his mid-teens. Together with his younger brother, Riaz, Ijaz would spend his days with the small box of scented oils he had collected, offering massages to the men in the square. It was a meager living. If he earned 20 rupees – the equivalent of about 40 U.S. cents – he considered it a good day. In fact, he considered it a good week.

So, when in early November 1999, he was approached on the square by Javed and two of his young friends who offered him 50 rupees for a massage, to ease the pain of Javed ’s claimed paralysis, Ijaz and his brother jumped at the opportunity.

They followed the man and his friends along the narrow streets that cut along the Ravi River to a small dark house that opened onto a courtyard. Inside, there were three small rooms, each with 12-foot ceilings to allow the sweltering Pakistani heat to rise. Though there were windows in the front room of the house, they let in little air, and even less light penetrated the thick iron grille that covered them.

Though grim, it hardly seemed an uncommonly dismal place in a city where most people live on the brink of destitution, and so, when Ijaz dismissed his brother, sending him home with instructions to meet him later, the younger boy easily agreed.

As he left, he saw Ijaz lounging in the front room, wearing his tattered white shirt.

“I left Ijaz at the house and went home,” Riaz told police in a statement given later. “Ijaz did not return home in the night and when I went to the Ravi Road house in the morning I was told that he left shortly afterwards.”

The truth was that Ijaz never left the house.

The next time Riaz would see his brother, it was in a photograph. Ijaz was proudly wearing a blue shirt, given to him apparently by Javed, who snapped the photo moments before killing the boy. The picture was labeled simply, “Number 57.” Although according to a list of victims Javed later provided to authorities, Ijaz was the 97th to die.

Police alleged, based in part on Javed’s own chilling confession, that the killer plied Ijal with a powerful sedative and as it started to kick in, he gently queried the boy, trying to learn as much about the boy’s family and his life as he possibly could. Though most serial killers objectify their victims, dehumanize them and reduce them to archetypes or caricatures, Javed was different. He meticulously documented the lives of his victims, jotting down each significant detail, authorities say.

Perhaps, some have speculated, this was a way of winning the boy’s confidence, a way of taking a child who no one cared about, a child who had, through a lifetime of deprivation and abuse, developed a hard shell, and making him feel special. It would be, some have speculated, an effective way to persuade an otherwise street-smart kid to drop his guard. Others have suggested that the interviews were more evidence of Javed’s depravity and cruelty – part of the whole sexualized dance of death he planned for each of his victims.

Or perhaps -- as he claimed in his confession and later retracted – he was carefully crafting an indictment not only against himself but against an entire society which could allow its children to simply vanish without so much as a raised eyebrow from the police or authorities.

Whatever Javed’s motivation, his diaries provided a detailed account of the killings of Ijaz and the others, authorities said. Once his chosen victim was too weak and groggy to resist, Javed would rape him. Then, as he moaned unconscious on the floor Javed would fetch an iron chain, wrap it around the child’s neck and slowly strangle him.

He would then hack the boy’s remains to pieces and dissolve the remains in a vat of cheap hydrochloric acid. He boasted in his confession to police and the press that “it cost me 120 rupees (about $2.40 U.S.) to erase each victim.”

He was as meticulous in the disposal of the bodies as he was with his notes on his victims, authorities later said. He was patient. Hair and bone take longer to dissolve then flesh, and he would wait until the remains were thoroughly liquefied before disposing of them. At first, he dumped the liquid in a nearby sewer, but when neighbors began to complain of the stench, he began depositing it in the Ravi River, he told police.

Of all the boys who vanished inside Javed’s home, only the partially dissolved remains of two – Ijaz and another boy -- were ever found. Javed had kept them in a drum of acid left conspicuously in the open at the house, left there intentionally, the killer would later say, to prove that his tale of murder and mayhem was true.

A Letter from a Killer

“I had sexually assaulted 100 children before killing them,” read the first placard. “All the details of the murders are contained in the diary and the 32-page notebook that have been placed in the room and had also been sent to the authorities. This is my confessional statement.”

By the time reporters from the Urdu-language daily newspaper received Javed’s grisly confession, a copy of it had already been delivered to the police. But in what social commentators in Pakistan have called a stinging indictment of the nation’s antiquated public safety system, a system that has changed little since it was adopted nearly a century ago from the departing British colonialists, the letter was simply discarded.

In fact, according to published accounts, it was only after police learned that the media were on their way to Javed’s house that the crumpled confession was retrieved from a wastepaper basket and police were dispatched to the scene.

Reporters were already there, stunned into silence by what they found. There were bloodstains on the walls and floor. Some were bloody handprints. There was the chain. And there were pictures, scores of them, a gallery of victims, some as young as 9, their photos snapped moments before their deaths. In one corner, five plastic bags contained shoes, 85 pairs of them, and children’s clothing. There were tokens of impoverished childhoods cut horrifically short. Ijaz’ white shirt was in one of the bags. So was his ankle bracelet.

As if the house had been turned into a museum to Javed’s savagery, signs were neatly tacked to the wall near each item. Near the foaming vat of acid that contained the bobbing remains of Ijaz and the other boy was one card – written, experts would later confirm, in Javed’s hand -- that read: “The bodies in the house have deliberately not been disposed of so that authorities will find them.”

It was unimaginable that such a crime could have occurred, authorities told reporters. How was it possible that so many children could have died so horribly without anyone even suspecting? In fact, of the 100 children who had vanished in the five months since Javed’s killing spree had begun, only 25 had been reported missing. Such is life in Pakistan, commentators later opined. Children vanish here and no one trusts the police to help. As the mother of one young victim told Time Magazine in a December 27, 1999 interview, “it never even occurred to me to go to the police for help.”

In a column that appeared in Dawn on October 14, 2001, Irfan Husain put it this way: “the reason so many parents did not report their sons missing is that they were afraid of having anything to do with the police.

“Indeed,” he wrote, “the…vast majority who are forced to come in contact with our cops, nine times out of ten, they are shaken down even when reporting a crime.”

In fact, Husain argued, the only thing that brought Javed’s killing spree to an end was Javed himself. “The murderer reached the target he had set for himself and wrote to the police and a newspaper.

“Had Javed Iqbal decided he would kill five hundred children, I have little doubt that he would still be at his gruesome task, unhindered by the minions of the law.”

The Roaring Whirl

There are so many of them, children as young as five clinging to edges of the ancient dusty roads that crisscross the Punjab, begging, stealing, offering the flowers that seem to grow in abundance in every corner of the city, home to the Garden of Shalamar. You can see them hawking water or trinkets or massages to strangers for a few rupees. These are Rudyard Kipling’s streets, the “roaring whirl” of Lahore that gave birth to Kipling’s fictional urchin, Kim. But these are real children.

Some are orphans. Others might as well be. In a nation of 144 million where one in every three people lives below the poverty line, many of these children use their meager earnings to feed themselves because their impoverished families cannot.

The statistics are staggering. According to a report released last year by Pakistan’s own human rights commission, nearly half of all children in Pakistan – a stunning 48 percent -- are suffering from malnutrition. In just one area of the Punjab, 1.6 million children were found to be suffering physical or mental defects because there is too little iron in their diets.

An estimated 10,000 children in Pakistan simply run away from home each year, and thousands more are sent to rich countries throughout the Middle East where they are pressed into service in the dangerous trade of camel racing, working for next to nothing as camel jockeys for the amusement of wealthy gamblers, according to the report. And when the day comes that they are too large for the job, they are cast aside.

Despite laws restricting child labor, some 3.3 million children have been forced to work under grim and often dangerous conditions. According to authorities, at least three children died in 2000 due to maltreatment at the hands of their domestic employers, the PHRC alleges that perhaps 100,000 more children are working without pay as bonded laborers -- virtual slaves -- at the kilns that turn clay, the nation’s most natural abundant resource, into bricks. Another 4,000 Pakistani children are languishing among the general population in the country’s desperately overcrowded prisons, dangerous places filled with killers, and cutthroats, foreign drug smugglers and terrorists.

There are no reliable statistics but in its report, the PHRC concluded that, “the physical and sexual abuse of children was believed to be rampant.”

Perhaps, said Irfan Husain of Dawn, there is a reason for that. “The whole macabre case,” he wrote, not long after Javed’s arrest, “underlines the terrible sexual frustration and perversion that lie just below the surface of our hypocritical society. The abuse of young boys is an unspoken but rampant aspect of everyday life here, and sodomy is the dark – but all too common – side of sexuality here.

“What happened on such a staggering magnitude in Lahore recently occurs daily on a smaller scale elsewhere without editorials being written or inquiry committees being formed.”

In fact, long before Javed delivered his stunning confession to authorities and the press he was caught at least three times sexually abusing young boys. But after each humiliating arrest, he was released. In some cases, he allegedly bribed his way out. In other cases, he didn’t have to. In June of 1998, for example, Javed was arrested after he allegedly paid two boys – part of a family of 16 children fathered by a local fishmonger – for sex. He was immediately released on bail. It wasn’t until his arrest more than a year later for murder that any formal action was taken on the molestation charges. As a result, Pakistani commentators would later complain, Javed’s neighbors tried to shame him into curbing his lust for boys, forcing him to make public apologies. But all that came of it was that he would move to another part of town and to other victims. And in this, Kipling’s city of flowers, there are so many of them, clinging to the edges of these ancient dusty streets, trying to earn a few rupees to feed themselves or their families in a land that would never even notice if they disappeared.

Manhunt

When word got out that such a crime had been perpetrated, the clamor in the press began immediately. And to a great degree, much of the outrage was focused on the police. It didn’t help matters that the man who had admitted to murdering 100 children – while he was free on bail on a previous child molestation charge, had apparently vanished into thin air.

In the detailed note he left for authorities and for the press Javed claimed that he planned to commit suicide by tossing himself into the River Ravi with a rock tied around his neck. It would have been a tidy end to the case. But after dragging the river with nets, authorities soon realized that Javed’s suicide note was nothing more than a ruse.

They launched what to that point had been the largest manhunt in Pakistani history. And they met with some modest success. Javed’s accomplices were arrested in Sohawa when they tried to cash a traveler’s check for 18,000 rupees. A few days later, one of them, Billa, died in police custody. Authorities said he committed suicide when he threw himself out of a third floor window, but the suicide, coupled with the bad publicity over the entire affair, triggered a massive shakeup in the Lahore police department. The public outrage continued. As Husain wrote at the time, “even after the case had been handed to the police on a platter, the best they could do was carelessly lose an alleged accomplice of the killer. Apparently he managed to commit suicide while being interrogated by jumping through a…window. This is such a common occurrence that by now one would imagine that by now the police would have thought of a better cover-up for death in custody.”

In the meantime Javed himself remained at large. Though there is no evidence that he left the area, police were simply at a loss to find him and pressure was mounting. Every day, it seemed, grieving parents, who had been silent when their children were missing, wailed in the press – both at home and overseas – that they were being denied justice.

“Nobody knows the pain I’m going through,” Shamim Akhtar, whose 14-year-old son Kamran Shaukat was among the victims, told Time Magazine. “Because we are poor, nothing is being done.”

On December 30, 1999, however, the manhunt came to a close, when Javed simply walked into the newspaper officers of the Urdu language daily newspaper Jang, and surrendered.

Two months later Javed and his three surviving accomplices were formally indicted. In a country where court proceedings are often closed to the public, Javed’s trial before Judge Allah Bakhsh Ranja was a media circus. The plaza outside the courtroom was packed. The courthouse itself was ringed by guards.

Judgement Day

In Javed’s notebook and diary, in the macabre attention to detail as he turned his house into a museum of mass murder for the press and police he seemed almost to take pride in the horror he had wrought, authorities would later say. But when he finally appeared in court, faced with the very real possibility that he would be convicted and executed, Javed and his accomplices sang a very different tune.

It was almost surreal, observers would later say. His three accomplices, seemingly oblivious to the penalties that they faced, were seen giggling as they were led into the closed courtroom, ogling newspaper clippings about the case and admiring their own photographs, according to reports from the courtroom.

For his part Javed insisted that he was an innocent man, a little mad, perhaps, and that he was the real victim in all of the horror.

“Whatever I wanted to say has been distorted,” he claimed. “I was considered an insane person but I beg that my view point must also be heard. I considered myself a culprit because I have been made a culprit by police.”

In a bizarre and rambling statement Javed said that the entire affair, the drums of acid, the photographs, the notebooks with personal details of each of the slain children, was an elaborate pantomime, an event he staged, he claimed, to highlight the dangers faced by “runaway children of poor families who become victims of evil people.”

He insisted the missing boys were alive, and challenged the police to find them, according to an account of his testimony in March 9, 2000 issue of Dawn. Some, he claimed, “were living with different people and were surely compulsive homosexuals,” while others had returned to their families, “but their parents are silent about it.”

Javed, who at first had provided such a detailed confession to the editors at Jang, to the police and later to a magistrate, insisted at trial, as he would a few weeks later during his appeal, that the confessions were made under duress, that he was afraid that he might suffer the same fate as Billa, and in a claim that particularly stung the families of the slain children whose bodies had never been recovered, he added that there were no eyewitnesses to his crimes. On at least two occasions, according to published reports at the time, family members were so overwhelmed by the proceedings and by their grief that they collapsed in the hallway outside the courtroom.

It was, by any measure, a grueling trial. In all, 102 witnesses – among them family members of the victims, including Riaz whose brother Ijad’s skeletal remains were found bobbing in the pool of acid – testified in the case, and Javed and his accomplices were convicted.

Two of the boys were given life sentences. But Sajid, who had just turned 20, and Javed, were sentenced to die in a way the judge felt best befitted the crime.

The judge ordered that the two be taken to the market square, where, in front of the families of their victims, they were to be strangled with the same chain used to kill Ijaz and the others. Their bodies would then be dismembered and the remains, dissolved in acid.

"A Brutalized Society"

Pakistan is hardly a country that is squeamish about the use of the death penalty. From the accused killer of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, to a man who claims to be Christ, at last count, there were nearly 5,000 people (28 of them women) awaiting execution in Pakistan.

Their offenses ranged from blasphemy against Islam to drug smuggling to murder and unlike the United States, where death sentences are meted out with an almost ritualistic precision, capital punishment in Pakistan can be a somewhat free-form affair, authorities and death penalty observers say.

In many cases, executions are conducted in prison in plain view of thousands of other inmates, many of whom are themselves facing death sentences, authorities say.

In other cases, executions are public events. A report released earlier this year by Amnesty International detailed a case in which an Afghan tribesman was executed in North Waziristan, a lawless tribal area not far from the gleaming modern capital of Islamabad after a tribal council there found him guilty of murder. "The father of the victim shot the Afghan dead in front of thousands of tribesmen."

Javed Iqbal’s sentence sparked a quick condemnation from human rights officials around the world. Asma Jahangir, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions, told the Associated Press: "You don't answer back a sick man in a sick way by the state…this is judicial anger and emotionalism…it is barbaric and arouses the fascistic instincts in a society."

Even some of Pakistan’s most conservative voices were troubled by the sentence.

The Council of Islamic Ideology, in a statement released just days after the sentence was handed down, charged that the verdict violated Islamic teachings, which prohibit the desecration of a body. And the newspaper Dawn editorialized against the sentence.

“The learned judge,” the newspaper wrote, “has deemed it fit to…replicate the atrocities committed by the child-killer.” The sentence “indicates the outrage felt by the court – and ordinary citizens – at the atrocity.

“The question of whether the state can or should match savagery with savagery needs to be examined with the greatest of caution,” the editorial continued.

“Ours has already become a brutalized society…and such steps as those now prescribed can only push us further down the road to adopting vengeance as an acceptable mode of conduct or retribution at a time when we want to present an image of ourselves as a sane and progressive nation.

“It can only be hoped,” the editorial concluded “that when the case goes in appeal to higher courts, the judgment will be closely scrutinized on both legal and moral grounds.”

In fact, the case did go to a higher court. But the Lahore High Court. demurred, saying the case did not fall under its jurisdiction and referred the appeal to the local Sha'aria, the religious court.

Rough Justice

In the end, the Sha’aria never got a chance to issue its final ruling. On the morning of October 8, 2001, four days before the court was to issue its findings, authorities at the Kot Lakhpat Jail announced that Javed and his young accomplice, Sajid, had been found dead in separate but adjacent cells.

They had apparently been strangled with their bed sheets. Authorities claimed that the pair had committed suicide. But police investigators and some observers insisted that that the evidence seemed to contradict that theory.

“It is probably a sign of the times,” Dawn editorialists wrote after Javed’s death, “that the story was not only disbelieved …Had the two wished a death by hanging, they needed only to withdraw their appeals.”

Doctors who performed the autopsies found that the pair had been bleeding from the nose and mouth when they died. There was evidence that Sajid had been beaten and that on Javed’s body, doctors found several partially healed wounds which had apparently been inflicted with some sort of blunt object.

Even more telling, authorities said, was a statement given by the guard on duty at the time of the alleged suicides. According to published reports, the guard, Iftikar Husain, told his supervisors, “I was asleep when the incident took place.”

Rather than immediately report the incident to his bosses, however, the guard reportedly “untied the knots of the bed sheets, laid the bodies on the floor to create the impression that they were asleep,” prison official Abdussattar Ajiz told the press. “He did so to save his own skin.”

Husain’s relief, Liaquat Ali, never bothered to check on the two prisoners, and it wasn’t until the next morning that the deaths were discovered.

The case remains under investigation.

A Search for Meaning

Horrors have a way of supplanting the horrors that came before them. In the months since Javed’s death, the country has witnessed more brutality, more death. There was the murder of Daniel Pearl, his last few horrible seconds documented by a video camera. There was the bombing at a church in Islamabad, an incident that claimed the lives of two Americans, and attacks on French and American workers in Islamabad and Karachi.

Still, life in Pakistan goes on. Children, many of them lost to the streets, still congregate in the anonymous neighborhoods of Lahore, lost in Kipling’s “roaring whirl.”

But for all of that Javed and the legacy of his horrors have not been forgotten.

The editorial writers at Dawn put it this way: “Javed was one of the most hated people alive, particularly after his surrender and his ‘confession’ before a magistrate.

“It may be argued however that this was less because most people found his guilt had been established beyond reasonable doubt and more because he held a mirror of sorts to society.

“Had he not shown that the grieving parents and guardians had been...negligent…that society was a jungle and there was no shelter for lost boys… that nobody was even keeping a count… that the state could not care less?”

Javed Iqbal’s legacy, if it could be distilled into a single sentence was this, the editorial writer said. “He had practically accused all those speaking in the name of his victims of having, in fact, been his accomplices and (he) dared them to prosecute him.”

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