Freedom of the press

Do you know serial killer Javed Iqbal surrendered to Jang newspaper not Punjab police?

Lahore: The first poster of “Javed Iqbal”, a biopic on the life of Pakistani serial killer Javed Iqbal took internet by storm this weekend.

Renowned TV actor Yasir Hussain plays the role Javed Iqbal, who hanged himself in a prison cell before he was sentenced to death on the court orders in 1999.

The police launched the largest manhunt in Pakistan history in December 1999 after  Iqbal, in a letter sent to police and a Lahore newspaper chief news editor Khawar Naeem Hashmi, confessed to the rape and murder of 100 runaway boys, all aged between 6 and 16.

In the letter, he claimed to have strangled and dismembered the victims, mostly runaways and orphans living on the streets of Lahore, and disposed of their bodies using vats of hydrochloric acid. He then dumped the remains in a local river.

It was a month before Iqbal turned himself in at the offices of the Daily Jang on 30 December 1999. He was subsequently arrested. He stated that he had surrendered to the newspaper because he feared for his life and was concerned that the police would kill him.

The biopic on his life featuring Yasi Hussain is directed by a controversial filmmaker Abu Aleeha who supported MQM founder Altaf Hussain when the state institutions carried out operations against the criminal elements linked to his party. Abu Aleeha also claimed that he was picked up by intelligence agencies for expressing his views. The filmmaker is considered a staunch opponent of Prime Minister Imran Khan and his party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. Some social media users are opposing the release of the film citing different reasons but it’s believed that Abu Aleeha’s social media activities in the past are the reason some people are hell bent on stopping the release of the highly anticipated movie.

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