Child killer sentenced to be throttled, cut up and immersed in an acid bath

Judge Allah Baksh Ranja made himself the most popular person in Pakistan yesterday when he sentenced a man who confessed to murdering 100 children to be strangled in a public park, cut into 100 pieces and thrown into a bath of acid. He also sentenced him to 700 years in prison.

Moeenuddin Haider, the Interior Minister, poured cold water on the sentence, telling reporters: "I'm sure this will be challenged in a higher court. We are a signatory to international conventions ... which do not allow these things."

Islamic sharia law and Pakistan's British-derived law have clashed frequently. Amputations and stonings have been ordered by the courts, but never carried out.

Javed Iqbal, 42, the man sentenced yesterday, became the author of his own downfall in December when he wrote to Lahore police claiming to have killed the children, many of them beggars and runaways, after sexually assaulting them. Reporters who beat police to the scene of the crime, Iqbal's home, found a drum of acid containing human remains, children's clothing, and placards giving details of the killings and photographs of victims.

Of Iqbal there was no trace. In his letter he said he would commit suicide. A month later he walked into the Lahore office of The News, a national paper, and said he had killed the children. "I have no regrets. I killed 100 children. I could have killed 500; this was not a problem ... but the pledge I had taken was 100 children, and I never wanted to violate this."

In his original letter he said he started killing to get back at the police for abuse at their hands several years before, when, he claimed, he was wrongly detained and beaten in custody. At the office of The News he said he had given himself up to a paper instead of the police because he feared the police might kill him. During the hunt for Iqbal one of his alleged accomplices, Ishaq Billa, died after falling from the third floor of the police station where he was being interrogated. He had reportedly been tortured.

Three of Iqbal's accomplices, including a 13-year-old boy identified only as Sabir, were also found guilty yesterday. An accomplice identified as 17-year-old Sajid, was found guilty on 98 counts of murder and sentenced to death and 686 years' jail. The third accomplice, Nadeem, convicted of 13 counts of murder, also received the death penalty and a 142-year jail term. Sabir was speared the death penalty but received a 42-year jail term.

Besides the scale of the killing and that the victims were young boys, other aspects of the case shocked Pakistan. Though his home was in a slum (and down the road from a police station), Iqbal was educated and relatively wealthy. A qualified chemical engineer, he inherited a share in his father's scrapmetal business said to be worth £50,000.

Several times since 1985 it was reported he was arrested on suspicion of child molestation and sodomy but was never brought to trial. Despite his repeated and gratuitous confessions and the evidence at his home, in court he pleaded not guilty. He told the judge his earlier admission had been a fake, inspired by Western detective stories. He said he had made up the confessions to bring the issue of absconding boys and paedophilia to the government's notice.

It was an explanation which did not amuse the crowds gathered outside the Lahore court throughout the two-month trial, baying for Iqbal's blood. The judge said he was not convinced by the accused man's explanation. The prosecution produced 105 witnesses, including 73 relatives of the missing children. Police said they had recovered the decomposed remains of three children from Iqbal's house, and photographs and clothes of dozens of other children. Iqbal said in his earlier confession that he and his associates cut the bodies into pieces after strangling the children with chains, then dissolved them in acid and disposed of them in the city sewer.

Iqbal's lawyer, Abdul Baqi, told the court: "Police threatened Iqbal during his three-week remand, which resulted in the confessional statement being made under duress." He said his client would appeal.

So, instead of ending speedily, in accordance with the judge's wishes, in a spectacular act of retribution before the victims' parents, Iqbal's case is likely to meander through Pakistan's judicial system for several years. If he is executed, it will be on the gallows.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before