Serial killer or sequence killer (as termed by FBI experts during the earlier days of studying them) is someone who’s addicted to killing people. The reasons and victim groups can be disparate, they depend on killers’ preferences, which could be psychological impulse or purely for pleasure. Although there’s one thing 90% of serial killers have in common: abusive childhood.
America has the most number of serial killers in world, including globally notorious ones like Ted Bundy (The Campus Killer), Jeffrey Dahmer (Milwaukee Cannibal), Richard Ramirez (Night Stalker) & Dennis Rader (BTK Killer). In Pakistan there are certainly more than handful of them who’ve been caught, we never discovered more because here (i) both prosecution & government want case closed as soon as possible (ii) there’s no study into criminal behaviour.
Pakistani Serial Killers:
- Amir Qayyum
Born in 1981 in Lahore, Qayyum was abandoned by his father as a child. Qayyum showed early signs of antisocial personality disorder, commonly called psychopathy, he would beat his siblings violently. Due to this sadistic nature, he was thrown out of his house, too. His uncle who was a respected medical professional, Dr. Shahid, believed psychopathy is curable, took him in, made him his son & started extensive therapy to neutralise his animalistic side.
He was successful in keeping Qayyum’s impulses at bay until one fateful day, which proved to be a trigger & caused Qayyum to snap, he was murdered in cold blood alongside a friend. Qayyum felt left alone again, his suppressed abandonment issues resurfaced. He vowed revenge on society & in a span of just one month, killed 14 persons comprising of homeless, drug addicts & labourers, all male, by beating them dead with a brick or rock as they slept. Earning himself the moniker, “The Brick Killer”.
After one such unsuccessful attempt, he was overpowered by victim in the middle of assault & later apprehended by police. On May 10th 2006, he was sentenced to death. His relatives refused to claim his remains, resulting in a burial in an unmarked grave somewhere in Lahore.
- Imran Ali
The most recent serial killer of country whose barbarity wounded the soul of whole nation. Imran, A 24-year-old mechanic, whom no one would’ve suspected, was found to be the killer of 7-year-old Zainab Ansari with the help of revolutionary DNA matching method. Later investigations revealed him as a serial pedophile rapist & murderer. Earlier Imran failed his polygraph test, which strengthened police’s suspicion of him, eventually leading to DNA testing.
Little Zainab went missing on the evening of January 4th, 2018. Her parents had gone to perform religious pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, leaving her in care of his uncle. A missing person report was filed by him, causing Kasur Police to inspect CCTV footages. One of these footages showed her going with a stranger. 5 days later, her violated body was discovered at a trash disposing site. Cause of death was ruled as strangulation.
Followed by the eruption of mass protests, riots and outpouring support from every corner of country. An extensive manhunt was launched to nab murderer, resulting in Imran Ali’s arrest on January 23rd, exactly 19 days after Zainab’s disappearance. His DNA sample linked him to the rape and murder of 7 other minor girls beyond doubt, he confessed to 5 more such crimes. Bringing his victim count to 13.
Imran Ali upon his arrest
There were demands from enraged, grieving public for his public hanging & shooting. They were all denied & Imran Ali was executed by hanging till death on 17th October the same year. Prior to hanging, he had received a total of 4 death penalty counts, hefty fine of 32 lakh rupees, 7-year jail & one life sentence. No attempt was made to learn about his life & upbringing, thus it remains unknown whether nurturing played a role in making him what he was.
Zainab’s heart-wrenching demise caused Pakistan to introduce its first ever child protection law, termed Zainab Alert Bill, passed unanimously by both government & opposition.
- Javed Iqbal
Javed Iqbal, the name that struck fear in 90’s parents, to such an extent that children weren’t allowed to play outside, even many days after he was caught. Several consider Nazroo Narejo as Pakistan’s first ever confirmed serial killer, with highest kill count also, but he was merely a dacoit, who don’t classify as serial killers, neither are victims counted as serially killed. Javed actually is both of them, with alleged number of victims; 100.
Contrary to toxic upbringing of many serial killers, Javed had a perfectly normal & even a luxurious childhood living with his 7 brothers & sisters in a huge bungalow of a peaceful upper-middle class Lahore neighbourhood. Iqbal had shown homosexual tendencies since his teenage years but they were always subtle. What he kept hidden out of everyone’s sight was his pedophilia.
Javed after arrest
Javed owned a video game arcade that he used to lure & abuse young boys. In mid 90’s, he was arrested on suspicion of sodomy against a minor runaway boy though not charged. This incident made him estranged to his family, his mother upon learning the nature of his crime suffered a cardiac arrest, which took her life. Javed cited this as his motivation for his murder spree, saying he resolved to make 100 mothers sob as payback for his mother’s death.
From then till his voluntary arrest in December 1999, he is believed to have killed 100 boys, all underage runaways, orphans or street children. He confessed to his crimes, explaining his modus operandi (sexual assault, strangling, dismemberment) & corpse disposing in a letter to Daily Jang newspaper. This culminated in the biggest manhunt in history of Pakistan. He wasn’t caught but his four teenage accomplices were.
Javed’s child accomplices, one fell through a window to his death while escaping police
He surrendered at Daily Jang Lahore’s office on December 30th. His claims were proven true when police found dried blood on walls & floor of his house, strangulation chain, vats of acid with human remains & photos of his victims. He had left a note for police too, which said, he deliberately had not gotten rid of evidence & disposed of bodies, so police shall believe his confession.
Once on trial, he changed his statement, stating that all of it was fabricated to bring attention to street children’s plight. It was not believed in front of the mountain of proof against him.
Similar vats of acid were used by Javed to dissolve victim bodies
Javed received death penalty by the way of hanging, while announcing the sentence, judge’s personal remarks, which are more than often confused as official sentence, added, “You will be strangled to death in front of parents whose children you killed, your body will then be cut into 100 pieces & put in acid, the same way you killed the children”.
Javed hanged himself in his prison cell before execution could take effect. Coincidentally, one of his remaining 3 accomplices committed suicide too, the same way, the same night. Leaving many question marks over the authenticity of both self-killings.