Brother of deceased Qandeel Baloch confessed before the Pakistan police that he killed her because of her “lewd” photographs and videos on Facebook. Twenty six-year-old Qandeel, a controversial social media star in Pakistan, was found dead in Multan city on Friday night.
Reportedly, Qandeel’s brother, Muhammed Waseem strangled her while she was sleeping. Baloch was a controversial personality in Pakistan’s deeply conservative society—considered as Pakistan’s Kim Kardashian for her provocative selfies, relentless pursuit of celebrity status, and rise to infamy.
Al Jazeera quoted Waseem confessing to Pakistan police, “Yes, of course I strangled her [Qandeel Baloch].I have no regrets.”
Reportedly, before her rise to fame, Baloch faced an extremely difficult life. Hailing from an underdeveloped area in Pakistan’s Dera Ghazi Khan, she was the only daughter in the family of five siblings. Following a failed marriage, she worked as a bus hostess and after a brief stint abroad in South Africa, Middle East and Europe, she returned to Pakistan to try her luck in the entertainment business.
While, Qandeel Baloch’s pictures and videos on Facebook reportedly did not go well with conservative Pakistan, her death triggered massive condemnation and shock. Ironically, she was a household name in Pakistan for her raunchy photographs, comments, and videos.
As reported by BBC, Qandeel Baloch enjoyed the attention of large social media followers, with 43,000 Twitter followers and more than 700,000 on Facebook.
Check out some of the tweets after Qandeel’s death, mostly from people who disliked her controversies on social media.
#Qandeel Baloch didn't deserve to die. I never agreed with her ways. I didn't like her at all but honour killing is just wrong.— Rabia Riasat (@RabiRiasat) July 16, 2016
Its sickening to see some weirdos celebrating #Qandeel Baloch's murder. I was never a fan of her antics but a murder can never be justified— Burhan Ahmad (@BurhanWas117) July 16, 2016
#QandeelBaloch strangled to death by her brother! Whatever she may have been or done to shock our moralists, this is just so barbaric.— Hasan Zaidi (@hyzaidi) July 16, 2016
As reported by Daily Mail, Waseem after his arrest late Saturday confessed to drugging and choking Qandeel to death “in the name of honor.”
Reportedly, Waseem had stayed overnight at the family home. He had a quarrel with Baloch over money issues and her risqué Facebook photos. According to Qandeel’s father, Waseem escaped after strangling her.
Honor killing is commonly committed across conservative societies in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India. Especially, because of the patriarchal notion of honor and shame associated with the female gender. These are reportedly considered gender-based crimes where teenage girls and women are usually the victims.
As reported by Al Jazeera, similar to Qandeel’s death, more than 500 people, mostly women, die in Pakistan each year in such killings, usually carried out by members of the victim’s family meting out punishment for bringing “shame” on the community.
Qandeel, also known as Fauzia Azeem rose to stardom for her Facebook posts and reportedly seen as someone breaking socially regressive barriers but despised by conservatives in Pakistan. Baloch’s racy social media pictures challenged social norms in conservative Pakistan.
In one of her tweets, Qandeel shared her experience as a women in conservative Pakistan.
While she received constant death threats and misogynist abuse online, she continued posting pictures and videos on Facebook. The following post on Twitter shows the type of mindset Qandeel endured as she tried to break conservative barriers.
According to Qandeel, she wanted to change “the typical orthodox mindset” of people in Pakistan through her Facebook posts. Before her death, she shared her thoughts on Twitter urging women to stand up for their rights.
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... https://t.co/v8XoETLh8A— Qandeel Baloch (@QandeelQuebee) July 14, 2016
Meanwhile, the Express Tribune quoted one of Qandeel’s Facebook posts saying, “At least international media can see what I am up to. How I am trying to change the typical orthodox mindset of people who don’t wanna come out of their shells of false beliefs and old practices [sic].”
Undoubtedly, Qandeel Baloch with her Facebook pictures and videos implied a polarizing persona in Pakistan, where she was admired and ridiculed in equal measure. However, her unfortunate death has seemingly shocked even those who hated her.
What are your thoughts on Qandeel Baloch’s murder?
[Photo by Asim Tanveer/AP Images]