MULTAN: Internet sensation Qandeel Baloch was murdered by her brother in Multan on Saturday.
“Qandeel was killed by her brother over honour in Green Town area,” the area’s Regional Police Officer Sultan Azam told The Express Tribune. “It appears that she was strangled to death.”
The 25-year-old social media starlet’s parents, who have been taken into custody, confirmed she was strangled to death last night.
“Wasim, 30, killed her last night following an argument,” her parents said. He was arrested by Multan police Saturday night.
Her parents arrived at the Nishtar Hospital and collected her body on Sunday morning.
Her body will be transferred to Dera Ghazi Khan for the funeral.
Qandeel’s father Azeem said his daughter was brave and he would not forget or forgive her brutal murder.
“The brother was also there last night and the family told us he strangled her to death,” Azhar Akram, City Police Officer (CPO) Multan told AFP, confirming that officials suspected an honour killing.
Regarding security measures, the CPO said police had not received a written request from the model to provide her security.
Meanwhile, Mufti Abdul Qawi, a former member of the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, has been nominated in an FIR regarding Qandeel’s murder.
Fauzia Azeem alias Qandeel Baloch recently taken the internet by storm as she shared a couple of selfies and a video of herself with Mufti Qawi. The self-proclaimed model had also ridiculed the cleric on various TV channels after the release of controversial content.
She had fled to Multan but not disclosed her location due to security threats, the official added.
“Qandeel’s brothers had asked her to quit modelling,” family sources said.
Her brother had been threatening her about uploading pictures and videos on social media, he added.
Following the Mufti Qawi ‘scandal’, the internet sensation had claimed she was receiving death threats and had officially sought security.
However, following “no response” from the interior ministry on her application for getting personal security, she planned to settle down abroad after Eidul Fitr.
“I know I will not be provided security and I am not feeling secured here so have decided to move abroad with my parents after Eidul Fitr,” Qandeel had told The Express Tribune.
Police have registered a First Information Report (FIR) under Section 302/109 of the Pakistan Penal Code at Muzaffarabad police station against Qandeel’s brother Wasim after the model’s father nominated him in the case.
According to police, they have not ruled out involvement of five other brothers and six sisters of the model and are investigating the same.
The report of a post-mortem of the model, conducted at Nishter hospital, revealed that she was slapped on the face and the neck before being strangled to death.
‘Qandeel deserved to live’
Chairman Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto condemned Qandeel’s murder, calling upon Punjab government to arrest the murderers.
“QandeelBaloch was a Pakistani woman and deserved the right to life. No ifs, no buts. Punjab government must hold murderer accountable,” Bilawal said on Twitter on Saturday evening.
Qandeel’s murder would make women feel less safe: Sharmeen Obaid:
Filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, whose documentary on the subject, “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness” won an Oscar earlier this year, told AFP the murder would make women feel less safe.
“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.”
Obaid-Chinoy’s film was hailed by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who in February vowed to push through anti-honour killing legislation.
No action has been taken since then, despite a fresh wave of attacks on women recently that have been roundly and loudly condemned by activists.
“Not only does the bill need to go through but the cases of honour killings all need to be expedited and we start sending people to jail,” said Obaid-Chinoy.
“Activists have screamed themselves hoarse. When will it stop?”
Qandeel had a husband, son
It was revealed on Wednesday that Qandeel was once married and even had a young son.
Aashiq Hussain of Kot Addu claimed in television interviews that he was once married to Qandeel.
Qandeel admitted she had married once but was divorced.
However, both sides gave conflicting accounts of the marriage.
“My husband used to beat me up,” Qandeel had told Express News, adding she had a son with Hussain.
“He never told my child I am his mother. It was a forced marriage.”
“He tortured me day and night during the one year I was married to him,” Qandeel told The Express Tribune. “After a year, I ran away with my son and sought refuge in Darul Aman.”
Hussain, however, claimed that theirs was a love marriage.
“I still have the letters which she wrote with her blood,” he claimed. “She wanted a car and bungalow from me.”
The model belonged to the tribal area of Shah Sadar Din of District Dera Ghazi Khan in south Punjab, and started her career as a bus hostess.
Though she was reviled by many and frequently subjected to misogynist abuse online, Qandeel won praise by a segment of youth for her forthright attitude.