On Saturday, 26-year-old Qandeel Baloch, famously referred to as Pakistan’s own Kim Kardashian/Rakhi Sawant, was murdered in Multan by her own brother. Different sources suggest different methods of murder.
Initial reports had stated that she was shot dead. However, a news agency quoting the police said the model could have been strangled while she was sleeping.
Originally named Fouzia Azeem, Qandeel had created quite a stir during the ICC T-20 World Cup when she had publicly announced that she would strip if Pakistan beat India. She had also posted a YouTube video dramatically conveying her dismay at Pakistan’s loss.
She had posted many risqué videos on social media, in which she danced seductively and voiced her opinions and thoughts. The model had also posted a picture of her in a red dress on Valentine’s Day, going against the government’s order of boycotting Western holidays. There have previously been instances where news sources had informed that Qandeel Baloch’s family was not happy with her postings on social media. Her brother had, on many occasions, threatened to kill her because of the videos that she posted. Her recent music video “Ban” with Aryan Khan too had sparked outrage.
However, Qandeel had a small section of young supporters who praised her for openly speaking her mind and having the confidence to take on the self righteous in the conservative Muslim-majority nation.
Over the years, the model had received many insults and misogynist comments for her videos and pictures.
Everything she did made news in Pakistan. She almost broke the internet when she posted a picture of her meeting with a Muslim cleric in a hotel. She further stoked the controversy by saying that the cleric had not only acted inappropriately, but had even proposed to her in the hotel.
Qandeel was also criticised recently for leaving her husband. She later admitted that she was married at a young age of 17 and that throughout their one year of marriage, her husband had been extremely abusive. She had then left her husband and ran away with her son.
She had written to the Interior Ministry, the Federal Investigation Agency and the Superintendent of the Police in Islamabad seeking security following threats. Qandeel had said she was considering to settle in a foreign country with her parents, after officials did not respond to her request for security. She had announced that she would leave Pakistan after Eid.
Honour killing in Pakistan is a rather common practice. Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission had reported that an estimate of 1, 100 cases of honour killing of young girls were recorded last year.