Qandeel Baloch Dead: Pakistani Social Media Celebrity Murdered in Honor Killing
Qandeel Baloch, best known as Pakistani social media celebrity, has been killed by her brother in an apparent “honor killing” in the province of Punjab, police say.
The 26-year-old recently caused controversy by posting controversial pictures of herself on social media, including one alongside a Muslim cleric.
Police say Qandeel Baloch was strangled to death.
Cases of women being killed for “dishonoring” their family are commonplace in Pakistan.
Qandeel Baloch became a household name for posting bold, photographs, video and comments.
Her parents told The Express Tribune that she was strangled to death on July 15 following an argument with her brother, Wasim.
They said her body was not discovered until the next day. Her parents have been taken into custody, the Tribune reported.
Qandeel Baloch had gone to Punjab from Karachi because of the threat to her security, police say.
Family sources quoted by the Tribune said: “[Her] brothers had asked her to quit modeling.”
Sources quoted by the newspaper said that Wasim Baloch was upset about Qandeel’s uploading controversial pictures online and had threatened her about it.
Police said Wasim Baloch had not been arrested and was on the run.
Qandeel Baloch’s murder was condemned by filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, whose documentary A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness won an Oscar earlier this year.
“I really feel that no woman is safe in this country, until we start making examples of people, until we start sending men who kill women to jail, unless we literally say there will be no more killing and those who dare will spend the rest of their lives behind bars,” Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy told the AFP.
Qandeel Baloch rose to fame in Pakistan in 2014 when a video of her pouting at the camera and asking “How em looking?” went viral.
In a recent interview Qandeel Baloch was bitterly critical of Pakistan’s patriarchal society and described herself as a leading exponent of girl power.
While many younger people saw Qandeel Baloch as a cultural icon and hailed her liberal views, she was also subjected to frequent misogynist abuse online.
Qandeel Baloch’s request for better security was ignored by the government, Dawn reported, despite pleas made three weeks ago to the interior minister and other senior officials.
Hundreds of women are murdered every year in Pakistan in so-called honor killing cases.