Prison death: Minister’s killer dies of tuberculosis

Published: January 27, 2012
Prisoner had been
treated for the
disease tuberculosis over the
past year. PHOTO: FILE

Prisoner had been treated for the disease tuberculosis over the past year. PHOTO: FILE

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.”

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Afaaq
    Jan 27, 2012 - 3:07PM

    There was a time when the word ”Maulvi” commanded great respect. Today they are mostly associated with killers or criminals. They are either brothers, fathers or themselves terrorists/Criminals. How hard is is to put the word Maulvi infront of your name? Sad state of affairs …


  • romm
    Jan 27, 2012 - 6:05PM

    was sad the way he killed Zille Huma. why did it take so long for court to ensure Justice, even after Confession..


  • Mirza
    Jan 27, 2012 - 7:04PM

    Please wake up and smell the coffee. The courts are never in a rush to try and punish the fanatic terrorists. How many have been chased and punished by the courts in the last 4 years? BTW, Qadri is having a good life on poor people’s expense in jail and keeping his hate campaign going.


  • Adnan
    Jan 27, 2012 - 7:59PM

    Another villain is being made a hero. He should have got the death sentence very early as he had already confessed his crime. Moreover, this was not the only murder he committed. He was a murderer but always managed to get away from the justice thanks to our judicial system.


  • ASQ
    Jan 27, 2012 - 10:45PM

    courts can’t punish unless investigating agencies give proper presentation of a case which they lack in almost every case so only blaming courts is unfair.


  • Anonymous
    Jan 28, 2012 - 12:24AM

    pls carefully read news item before Commenting..
    Read word “CONFESSION” and time passed so far is almost 5 years. Judges are simply spineless cowards provided with Adequately trained police force and better paid than other Govt Functionary. They are burden on National exchequer.Recommend

  • Jan 28, 2012 - 12:46AM


    It’s not true all the time, though yes, with shoddy policing, we should expect shoddy cases. But, there are other reasons which make the courts as culpable if not more. The lunatic in the article was released 2 years after admitting to serial murders, and no one in the legal community pursued it. As the article notes, the victims’ relatives didn’t either due to cultural religious shame and pressure.

    In Qadri’s case, he was passed the death sentence, but the brave judge later had to go into hiding. Judges have caved to terrorist threats many times despite good evidence. Witnesses are murdered, even threatened with death in open court, as Malik Ishaq did in front of his judge. The witness to whom he stood up and shouted it to, was later murdered unable to testify, making good on his threat.

    Sometimes some judges are ideologically sympathetic. Consider how extremist lawyers threw rose petals on Qadri’s arrival. Judges come from the same legal community. It wouldn’t be surprising if some judges had the same beliefs. There was a compelling case against JuD, but inexplicably the judge dismissed it ludicrously declaring them a charity organization.


  • Hafeez
    Jan 28, 2012 - 3:48AM

    “However, in 2005, Mughal was released from jail as no one pursued any cases against him.” Whaaaaaat? If this guy confessed (as ET reports) then what held the judges from sentencing him to death? Or may be his earlier victims were not MPAs. I hope Mr CJ takes notice and ponder more over judicial reforms than asking the government whether they intend to fire ISI chief and the COAS.


  • Radial
    Jan 28, 2012 - 10:31AM

    I don’t understand why this serial killer was allowed to go free in 2005 after being arrested for the numerous call girl murders and confessing to them. Is that in Pakistan the state cannot prosecute criminals unless the murder victim’s family presses charges? What if the victim has no family or the family is estranged or involved in the murder? No charges? What the heck?


  • Romm
    Jan 29, 2012 - 11:11PM

    @ Radial
    you u rightly surprised. this confused legal system we are living in is nothing but Arabian Norm. As per defination, criminal case is issue between state and violater of law and civil proceedings are between parties. so, with the incorporation of Islamic clause in penal code like making henious crimes like Murder and rape compoundable , we have deshaped and literally ruined the legal structure of country. Credit goes to General Zia’s Islamization.Recommend

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