Qandeel Baloch, a controversial celebrity in Pakistan, was strangled to death by her brother Waseem for “dishonouring the Baloch name.” He claimed to protest the pictures she shared online and confessed to giving Baloch a tablet before strangling her.
Baloch was a woman who raised eyebrows in Pakistan for her provocative pictures and videos. She would post pictures online, share videos of her day to day life and passionately supported female empowerment in Pakistan.
A divisive figure, Baloch had both fans and detractors. She caused outrage after claiming to do a live strip tease if Pakistan won a cricket match against India. More controversy was raised when Baloch shared a selfie with Mufti Abdul Qavi, a senior member of a clergy. Mufti Qavi was soon suspended following the picture.
Baloch’s brother was arrested in Dera Ghazi Khan in central Pakistan, when captured he stated, “I am not ashamed. We are Baloch and as Baloch we cannot tolerate [this]”. He said this as he pointed to the videos his sister made. After the killing Waseem tried to run away with two friends who are yet to be found.
Baloch, whose real name is Fouzia Azeem, was buried on Sunday morning in her ancestral village near Dera Ghazi Khan in Punjab province. A large number of people attended the funeral.
Despite the divided view of her she nevertheless had a strong fan base with 43,000 Twitter followers and more than 700,000 on Facebook. She encouraged people to challenge Pakistan’s traditional way of thinking and labelled herself a “modern day feminist.”
Madiha Tahir, of Feminist magazine Tanqeed, called Baloch a “gutsy feminist provocateur” who had revealed “the hypocrisy of the male-dominated establishment, especially the clergy, through her social media videos. She wasn’t rich, she was a working class woman who dared to be exactly herself.”
Tahir also stated that her death was not a result of ‘honour’ but rather the “pervasive misogyny” of Pakistani society.