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The BBC's Owen Bennett-Jones
"The killings have caused shock throughout Pakistan"
 real 28k

Saturday, 4 December, 1999, 18:48 GMT
Parents' distress over Lahore child murders
It has been a distressing time for the parents of missing children

Concerned parents have indundated police stations in the Pakistani city of Lahore as officers continue the hunt for a man who claims to have murdered 100 teenage boys over the past year.


I have killed 100 children and put their bodies in acid containers
Suspected killer Javed Iqbal
Police are hunting for 40-year old Javed Iqbal, a resident of a working-class district of Lahore, after they received a letter in which he claimed to be a serial killer.

Police found the mutilated remains of at least two children in acid baths in his house, along with bags of clothing and photographs of young boys.

Worried parents searched through the clothes found at the house
Dozens of distraught parents with missing children have been going through the clothes and photos, and have identified 57 children, police spokesman Riaz Shafqat said.

Police said while there was strong evidence to suggest Mr Iqbal's claims were true, it was not yet possible to confirm the number of children killed.

Traces of children

Sophia Satar was among the parents to recognise belongings recovered from the house.

Clutching a small white shirt, she repeatedly sobbed, "My God. It's my boy's."

parent looking at picture Parents also examined photos found at the scene
Her 12-year-old son Imran disappeared in October.

"He went out in the afternoon and never returned," she said.

"We called the police. We searched everywhere."

Correspondents said the killings have shocked Pakistanis, and newspapers said the deaths show that police should do more to trace missing children.

Retaliation

On Saturday, the police took six people into custody, including two brothers of the suspect.

In his letter, Mr Iqbal said he had murdered beggars and runaways after being wrongly picked up by police and beaten while in custody.

"I have killed 100 children and put their bodies in acid containers and later disposed of the undissolved body parts," his letter said.

Empty alcohol bottles, gas masks and jars of nitric acid were recovered from his house.

He also sent police a 32-page diary with the names and addresses of dozens of children.

The diary contained photographs of more than 50 children and cut-outs of newspaper advertisements of missing children.

Mr Iqbal wrote that he would commit suicide after writing his note, but police said they believed he was still alive.

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