The brother of a Pakistani model, Qandeel Baloch, publicly confessed to strangling her because of “shameful pictures” on Facebook. His family honor demanded it. The brother, Waseem Azeem, was paraded before the media by police where he took the opportunity to publicly stand up for his Muslim beliefs.
His sister Qandeel was a huge social media star who stirred up controversy by posting pictures online taken with a prominent Muslim cleric.
Her brother people had taunted him because of the photos and he found the social embarrassment unbearable. “I was determined either to kill myself or kill her,” he told the assembled media as he was led away by police.
Pakistan is a Muslim country. Honor killings are the rule of the day in Muslim countries and Pakistan is no different. Nearly 1,000 women are murdered in Pakistan every year for violating Sharia law and defiling the honor of their family. The murders, as with this one, are typically carried out by family members.
Qandeel became a viral hit on Facebook and Twitter by posting things like a video of her dancing to a popular rap song. She presented herself as a symbol of female empowerment and that didn’t go well with people stuck in the seventh century. She had 40,000 followers on Twitter and 700,000 on Facebook.
Honor killings like Qandeel’s are considered murder in Pakistan but Islamic law allows a murder victim’s family to pardon the killer. That often allows those convicted of honor killing to walk free. Given that she was killed by her brother, I wouldn’t expect “justice” to be served with respect to her murder.
The only good part of the story is that Qandeel was the breadwinner of the family. With any luck, without her income they’ll starve to death.
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