Qandeel Baloch, a popular Pakistani social media star, has been murdered by her own brother in a so-called “honor killing.”
The 25 year old star was strangled to death by her 30 year old brother, Wasim, after they got into an argument on Saturday night.
Baloch’s father called his daughter “brave” and said he would not forget or forgive her brutal murder.
Qandeel Baloch, whose real name was Fauzia Azeem, was known for posting controversial and provocative videos on her Facebook page that attracted hundreds of thousands of viewers.
Baloch recently attracted significant media coverage after posting pictures on Instagram with Mufti Abdul Qawi, a senior member of the Pakistani clergy. The two had very different stories about their meeting but Mufti Qawi was eventually revoked of his membership of the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee following this scandal.
Baloch had been receiving death threats from various sources. She officially requested security from the interior ministry, but after receiving no response, she announced that she will soon be leaving Pakistan.
She was found dead in her family home in Multan in the province of Punjab where she had been seeking refuge until she was able to leave the country. Baloch’s family told the police that her brother had strangled her to death.
Her brother was found by the police later on Saturday. He appeared at a press conference with his face covered, admitting to the murder done in the name of “honor” and stating that he had “no regrets.”
While the news of her murder attracted some heinous comments by people who said she “deserved it” and “brought shame to her family,” most Pakistanis expressed their outrage at Baloch’s murder.
Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, a Pakistani filmmaker and activist who won an Oscar for her documentary A Girl in The River: The Price of Forgiveness on honor killings in Pakistan, has been pushing the government to pass the Anti-Honour Killing Bill in order to tackle this cultural problem that she considers to be an “epidemic.”
Numerous other celebrities and politicians took it to social media to condemn Baloch’s murder. Several vigils were also held around the country to remember Baloch and to condemn honor killings in Pakistan.
According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), more than 1276 incidents of honor killings were reported between February 2014 and February 2016.
An F.I.R. was filed in only 400 of these cases.
Pakistan’s fight against these types of murders continues, but there is a lot that needs to be done in all avenues of Pakistani society to crush the misogynistic, patriarchal culture that breeds this sort of intolerance and violence. Concrete changes in the judicial system of the country are also needed to ensure that people are protected from these so-called “honor killings.”
Pakistan’s fight against these types of murders continues, but there is a lot that needs to be done in all avenues of Pakistani society to crush the misogynistic, patriarchal culture that breeds this sort of intolerance and violence.
Qandeel Baloch isn’t the first victim of these senseless killings, but hopefully she’ll be the last.
On her official Facebook page, she wrote:
“As a women we must stand up for ourselves…As a women we must stand up for each other…As a women we must stand up for justice
I believe I am a modern day feminist. I believe in equality. I need not to choose what type of women should be. I don’t think there is any need to label ourselves just for sake of society. I am just a women with free thoughts free mindset and I LOVE THE WAY I AM. :)”
May God’s Light and peace reach you, Qandeel.