Javad Iqbal was a Pakistani serial killer who murdered at least 100 boys. His case attracted international attention not only because he was one of the deadliest serial killers in history but because, upon his conviction, he was sentenced to die in a manner similar to that in which he had tortured and killed his victims.
Not much is known of his early life, except that he was born on October 8th 1956, and that his father was a businessman, and Iqbal was the sixth child… the fourth son. He attended College, Railway Road as an intermediate student, and in 1978, while a student, he started his own business.
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His father bought two villas in Shadbagh, and Iqbal set up a steel recasting business in one of the houses and lived there for years along with boys.
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 pamphlets.
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), and Mamad Sabir (13 years old) was sentenced to 63 years in prison.
On the morning of October 8, 2001, Javed Iqbal and his accomplice Sajid Ahmad were found dead in their respective cells 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.
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 the victim of a police conspiracy. Jail officials said Iqbal had twice made abortive suicide attempts in the past.
Iqbal is considered the biggest serial killer in Pakistan’s history as an independent nation.
By Paul Middleton, source: Ghosts, the paranormal, myths and legends