ad info

 web features
 magazine archive
 customer service
  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia

Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

AsiaweekTimeAsia NowAsiaweek story

DECEMBER 24, 1999 VOL. 25 NO. 51

Confessions of a Murderer
A grisly case of serial killing shocks the nation
By AYAZ GUL Lahore

Taiwan: The Gloves Are Coming Off
As Beijing watches from the sidelines, a money scandal taints the front-runner in a high-stakes presidential campaign

Philippines: Shaping Up Malacañang
Estrada to Zamora: Get a grip - on yourself

Malaysia: Stirred But Not Shaken
Mahathir's new cabinet exhibits little change

Laos: A Regime in Denial
Vientiane says everything's just fine with its politics and economics

Pakistan: Afghanistan Obstacle
Conflicting strategic interests roil Iran-Pakistan ties

India: Valley Victims
Indian forces in Kashmir are threatened; Kashmiris are too
• Interview: Kashmir's Umar Farooq
Umar Farooq is one voice of moderation

Pakistan: Confessions of a Murderer
A grisly case of serial killing shocks the nation

Pakistan: Cleaning Up
Pakistan's military takes on corruption
• Pakistan: Taking an About-turn?
Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf cannot separate his domestic agenda from Afghanistan and Kashmir

Is This Man Starting to Enjoy Power?
Musharraf may be in charge for a while. Pakistanis aren't griping -- yet

Pakistan's biggest criminal case at the moment is not that of deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Rather, it involves a 40-year-old ex-journalist who is not even in police custody. Early this month, Lahore police received a letter from one Javed Iqbal. The contents were sickening: Over the past year, Iqbal claimed to have lured 100 young boys to his house and sexually assaulted them, before murdering them and then dissolving their bodies in acid. The self-confessed serial killer also sent a 32-page diary recording the children's particulars, plus the dates of their murders. The diary contained photographs of over 50 victims and clippings of newspaper advertisements of missing children.

The confession letter led the police to a three-room house in a poor suburb of Lahore, where they discovered the mutilated remains of at least two children in barrels of acid. They also found pictures of some of the victims, along with bags of boys' clothing. The set-up was chilling in its meticulousness: The rooms were sealed with plastic so that the odor would not alert the neighbors. Posters were neatly pinned to the walls with details of the victims, such as their appearances, birthdates and parents' occupations. Iqbal claimed in the letter that his motive for the murders was to avenge the humiliation he suffered at the hands of a rapist. He also said he would commit suicide after writing the note, but police believe he is still alive and in hiding.

So far, clothes or pictures of at least 71 children have been identified by their families. Local resident Mohammed Hussain recognized the shirt of his 12-year-old son Tanveer: "My son went to see a circus three months ago and never returned." Hajran Bibi, from the town of Lalamusa, identified the picture of her 15-year-old son: "Six months back he left the family in search of work. He told us he was going to Lahore."

Police officer Mohammed Ashiq, who led the raid on Iqbal's house, says that while there is strong evidence that the killer's claims are true, it is not yet possible to confirm the number of the children murdered. "It is a horrible case," he says. "It is a unique case in the history of Pakistan. This even has scared me because I have four children." The authorities have not yet released details of the final police inquiry into the case, but preliminary investigation has suggested that Iqbal may have links to an international organ-selling racket and that he might have sold the bodies or bones of his victims to pharmaceutical companies.

There is a side twist to the story. Four policemen have been charged with the murder of Ishaq Billa, who was suspected of selling acid to Iqbal. This came after a judicial report said 32-year-old Billa had been tortured to death while in custody. Police claim Billa committed suicide by jumping out of a second-floor window. Coupled with their inability to catch Iqbal, the Billa case has ensured that the police face a clamor for justice in more ways than one.

This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home


Quick Scroll: More stories and related stories
Asiaweek Newsmap: Get the week's leading news stories, by region, from Newsmap


U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel ì at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN

Back to the top   © 2000 Asiaweek. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.