Written By: ZMT
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Javed Iqbal is a Pakistani serial killer who was found guilty of the sexual abuse and murder of 100 children from 1998-1999. He confessed to luring street children and orphans before strangling them and dissolving them in vats of acid. Upon his conviction, he was sentenced to die in the same way he killed his victims. He is considered to be the deadliest serial killer in Pakistan’s history.
While records are varying, most sources state that Javed Iqbal was born on October 5, 1956 in Lahore, Pakistan. He was the 6th child of a well-off trader, having his schooling done in Islamia high school. He started his own business in 1978 while being an Intermediate student in Islamia College. Sometime later, his father bought two villas in Shadbagh and in one of those villas, Iqbal had set up a steel recasting business and lived there for years together with some children specifically, boys.
Not much is known between his childhood and his sodomizing, child killer mind however, prior to his heinous mass killing spree, numerous criminal complaints have been made against him, accusing him of sexually harassing and sodomizing young boys. Due to his father’s influence, Iqbal was able to escape such complaints.
Sodomy: a prelude to his crimes
When Iqbal’s father died in 1993, Iqbal inherited a huge amount of money, roughly around 3 million rupees, which allowed him to live a life of luxury. He was able to buy a massive house and four different vehicles as well as opening different businesses designed to meet young boys and teenagers.
Iqbal claimed that his victims were runaways or orphans that lived in the streets of Lahore. He would abduct his victims to his house then he would sodomize them first before strangling them to death. He would later dismember the corpse of his victims using a ‘kukri’, a knife or machete used by the Nepalese or Indian army. The knife is also used in certain traditional rites such as weddings. To get rid of the bodies, he would submerge his victims’ remains into vats of hydrochloric acid and would later dump them in the nearby river when the bodies have liquefied.
In several instances, Iqbal lured his victims by leave money on the floor of his video store business, and whenever a child would pick up the money, he would accuse him of theft and would take him to a room where he would sodomize the child, making the child believe that it was his “punishment” for stealing. Other businesses that he opened include a gym, an aquarium, a general store, and a school. His businesses however didn’t last very long as parents were aware of Iqbal’s character.
Iqbal was also able to meet other victims through pen pal programs. He would look for pen pals on various magazines and would later on correspond to them. He would convince them to send pictures of themselves and would choose which among his pen pals are the most good looking. He would then send gifts to them and when the time is right, would meet with them and sexually abuse them.
In 1998, Iqbal and his employee, Arbab, were robbed and beaten up by one of his employees. Iqbal suffered a severe head injury leading him to be hospitalized for 22 days. Immediately after his hospitalization, Iqbal was arrested and charged with sodomy. Arbab’s family filed a case against Iqbal however, he was granted bail. Due to his hospitalization bills, most of Iqbal’s property was sold to cover for his medical care. This led to him moving out to the slums of Lahore, where he would later commit one of the greatest crimes known in the history of Pakistan.
Blood stained Kukri
In 1999, a letter was received by the police and a local Lahore newspaper. In it was the confession of Javed Iqbal where he allegedly murdered 100 boys, ranging from 6 to 16 years of age.
When the police arrived at Iqbal’s home, they found out that he was telling the truth. Bloodstains were everywhere, vats of hydrochloric acid with partially dissolved bodies, and plastic bags containing the clothes and shoes of his victims were seen. Notecards containing the details of his victims and their photos were also found in the crime scene. Iqbal however, was nowhere to be seen. The police also found that he had been sharing his home with three teenage boys aged 13, 15, and 17, and were believed to be Iqbal’s accomplices.
An eye for an eye
Armed with enough evidence, the police conducted a large scale manhunt before another victim was claimed. On December 30, 1999, Iqbal gave himself up but instead of going to the police, he went straight to the Daily Jang, a local urdu newspaper company. An employee of the Daily Jang mentioned that Iqbal had no remorse for what he did, claiming that he hated this world and was not ashamed of his actions and that he was ready to die. The police arrived shortly and Iqbal was finally arrested.
After Iqbal’s arrest, parents who have reported their sons’ or young male relatives’ disappearances were contacted. The police and parents would rummage through the plastic bags containing the clothes of Iqbal’s victims which would confirm their identities.
Audio and video recordings of Iqbal’s confession were played in court during 6 cross-examinations. When it came time for Iqbal to stand in trial, he denied any involvement with the killings despite the mountain of evidence presented which pointed towards him. Initially, he said he confessed the murders because he wanted to draw the attention of the public with regards to the dangers that street children in Pakistan experience as well as the plight of all the people in Pakistan living in poverty. Later, he again changed his alibi, stating that 20 of his friends murdered the children in his home and that he confessed because he was guilty for not saving the children’s lives. Add to that, he mentioned that it was the only way to expose the crimes of his “friends”. On March 9, 2000, he changed his alibi yet again, saying that none of the children had been actually murdered and denying any crime that actually occurred.
Nevertheless, the judge was not convinced and Iqbal was sentenced to death by strangulation in the same public square where he frequented as he searched for his victims. His body is also to be cut up into a hundred pieces and be dissolved in acid. This sentence is in accordance to the Shariah legal concept of Qisas also known as “an eye for an eye”.
His three accomplices were also found guilty during the trial. Sajid Ahmad (17 years old) was also sentenced to death for his participation in the murders. Meanwhile, 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). The youngest accomplice, Mamad Sabir (13 years old) was sentenced to 63 years in prison.
Downfall of a murderer
On October 8, 2001, on the day of his supposed 45th birthday, Iqbal, together with one of his three accomplices, were found dead in their cell. They apparently have committed suicide by hanging themselves using their bed sheets. There has been speculation however, that they were murdered as autopsies revealed that they were beaten prior to their death. No one from Iqbal’s family claimed his remains as he has been disowned by his whole family.
Iqbal has been considered the serial killer that had the most victims throughout Pakistan’s history of being an independent nation. Regardless of what brought him to this, it cannot be denied that a lot of children lost their future to this man. Truly, a hundred mothers wept because of the Kukri.
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