This Serial Killer’s Crimes and Punishment Will Chill You to Your Bones

This Serial Killer’s Crimes and Punishment Will Chill You to Your Bones

Lindsay Stidham - April 17, 2017

Javed Iqbal Mughai was a serial killer who did the unthinkable. He was found guilty of the sexual abuse and murder of 100 boys. This made Iqbal one of the deadliest serial killers in history. A Pakistani judge felt it was apt to give the criminal a punishment he deserved.

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

In 1999 Iqbal sent a letter to Lahore police in Pakistan. In the letter he confessed everything. “I have killed 100 beggar children and put their bodies in a container,” he wrote. He claimed he strangled and dismembered the bodies of orphans and runaways living on the streets of Lahore and that cops could come by his home and find the evidence. Iqbal also claimed he was motivated to do this as revenge against police when he was arrested and assaulted on charges of sodomy. (He was not convicted on those charges.)

This Serial Killer’s Crimes and Punishment Will Chill You to Your Bones
Javed Iqbal. The News Tribe

Whatever his motivation, he was very focused on luring young boys to their deaths. He opened a video game shop in Shadbagh, and would offer tokens to boys for free. He would sometimes 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 and punished. When word of strange things going down in the shop spread, Iqbal set up a fish aquarium and later a gym, again to attract boys.

Police and reporters did indeed find plenty of evidence in Iqbal’s home. There were bloodstains on the walls and floors and photos of victims in plastic bags. Everything was neatly labeled, but bodies were not neatly disposed of. Instead, the human remains were partially dissolved in acid. A note left behind said this was all intentional as Iqbal was ready to be caught.

Iqbal’s letter also confessed he would drown himself in the Ravi River. Police dragged the river with nets and found nothing. In response they launched the largest manhunt Pakistan has ever seen. Iqbal had teenage accomplices. They were immediately arrested. One allegedly jumped from a window within days of his arrest.

This Serial Killer’s Crimes and Punishment Will Chill You to Your Bones
Iqbal and grieving parents. Parhlo.

Within the month Iqbal turned himself into a local newspaper office, stating he feared for his life. He also seemed to have no regrets, stating: “I am Javed Iqbal, killer of 100 children,” he told staff. “I hate this world, I am not ashamed of my action and I am ready to die. I have no regrets. I killed 100 children.”

Although his 32 page diary contained detailed descriptions of the murders, and despite the handwriting on the placards in his house matching Iqbal’s, he changed his story from his confessional letter to the editor, and now claimed in court that he was innocent. He said that everything 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 undue stress. Over a hundred witnesses testified against Iqbal and he and his accomplices were found guilty.

Pictures and television footage of weeping parents poring over piles of children’s clothes recovered from his home stunned Pakistani society. It did cause some questioning of the depth of its concern for its vast, impoverished underclass. Some of the victims had been missing for more than six months before their parents reported their disappearance to police.

A judge gave him one hundred death sentences, stating: “You will be strangled to death in front of the parents whose children you killed, Your body will then be cut into 100 pieces and put in acid, the same way you killed the children.”

More specifically, 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”). Iqbal’s accomplices were sentenced as well.

  • 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.

Pakistan’s interior minister, Moinudeen Haider, criticized the sentence. “This will be challenged in the high court. Such punishments are not allowed,” he said. The government eventually stated the style of execution the judge had ordered was against the law. In the end, Iqbal was found dead in his cell in October of 2001. There were indications of foul play, but his death was ruled a suicide.