LAHORE: Maulvi Sarwar Mughal, the self-confessed assassin of a woman provincial legislator, has died in the Kot Lakhpat Jail under mysterious circumstances.
Mughal, 45, had shot Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s MPA Zille Huma Usman in the head on February 20, 2007, while she attended an open kutchery in Gujranwala. Accepting responsibility for cold-blooded murder, the assassin said he killed Usman because she was ‘immodestly dressed’ and was sentenced to death by a court.
Management of the Kot Lakhpat Jail, where he was serving out his sentence, later claimed that he was suffering from tuberculosis. On January 27, he succumbed to the disease and died. Police transported his body from the jail to Jinnah Hospital for an autopsy.
Mughal’s brother, who spoke to the media after news of the death broke, confirmed that he had been suffering from tuberculosis and that his condition had worsened on Thursday night. “He was under treatment at the jail due to his deteriorating health.”
Mughal, who had nine children, owned a shop in Bank Square, Gujranwala, which made and sold locks for cupboards.
Usman wasn’t his only victim. Nine years ago, he came into the limelight as a man who targeted and killed call girls and prostitutes. In 2002, he killed two women who were dancers in Lahore’s red light area. Later, in Gujranwala, he murdered four alleged call girls who worked on GT Road and severely injured seven others.
Between November 2002 and January 2003, he killed three women – Aroof Dobi on November 3, 2002, Ruqayya Bibi on December 8, 2002, and Bilqees alias Aleena on January 2, 2003.
These gruesome murders provoke the police to investigate and they eventually arrested Mughal on January 12, 2003. At the time of arrest, Mughal showed no remorse and instead claimed that wanted to ‘terminate obscenity’ from society. “One ‘bad’ woman takes a hundred other people to hell,” he had said. When asked about the future of his children, he said he was not worried at all because he had obeyed Allah’s orders and He will look after his family.
However, in 2005, Mughal was released from jail as no one pursued any cases against him. The families of his victims from Lahore’s red light area tried almost half-heartedly but were later swayed by neighbours and Mughal’s ‘ideology’ from the Ahle Hadith school of thought.
In 2007, Mughal was rearrested from the spot where he shot Usman after her driver grabbed him. The killer again told investigators that he had followed divine orders and therefore, had no regrets. “A woman is not allowed rule,” he had said.
In Gujranwala, sources said, the news of his death was announced by a famous Ahle Hadith leader Maulana Mukarram Arshad during the Friday sermon at the city’s main mosque.
“There were no signs of torture on his body,” said Dost Muhammad, the Kot Lakhpat police sub-inspector who transported Mughal’s body to the morgue. However, he said, he was very weak and ill.
But one police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the serial killer’s death was suspicious. “Mughal was suffering from tuberculosis, but it is no longer a deadly disease. How was the jail management oblivious for such a long time? Why did they not ensure proper care for him? Is it negligence? In my opinion, you cannot rule out that there is something fishy about this incident.”