Qandeel Baloch was murdered by her brother Muhammed Waseem Baloch in July 2016 for bringing dishonour to the family.
Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch’s brother and her murderer, Muhammed Waseem Baloch, walked free on Monday (February 14) after her family pardoned Waseem.
After confessing the murder in 2016, Waseem was sentenced to life in prison in 2019. He had admitted that he had strangled Qandeel, as she had brought disrepute to the family.
After his conviction in 2019, Waseem retracted his confession, saying his confession was secured under police torture. His parents later pardoned him for the crime of killing Qandeel.
Earlier, the Pakistani law allowed the honour of killing the victim’s family to pardon the accused. But, in the wake of Qandeel Baloch murder, the law was amended.
The judgment by the court in Multan hasn’t been made public yet. So, it is unclear on what ground the judge freed Waseem.
Qandeel was hugely popular in Pakistan and other countries for her glamorous and bold video posts on different social media platforms.
Sanam Maher, the author of “A Woman Like Her: The Short Life of Qandeel Baloch”, expressed her anger saying, “In a society that takes great pleasure in the punishment of women who break the rules, it should come as no surprise that each suspect, in this case, has been acquitted…After today’s verdict, we may ask, who killed her? Nobody, it seems. In accepting that answer, we are all complicit in the crime of failing to protect women.”
About 1000 victims are killed each year in honour killing cases in Pakistan.
In June last year, a girl’s family had killed Rizwan and chopped his body for asking for her hand in marriage.
In May 2020, two cousins, aged 22 and 24, were shot dead by their families in Pakistan after a video surfaced, which the families believed brought disrepute to them.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan had said in 2020 that the amendments in the law have not deterred the criminals, and honour killings have not been reduced in Pakistan.
“Antiquated and lethal notions that ‘honor’ resides in women’s bodies and actions still prevail across Pakistan, and it will take far more than laws to effect a change when perpetrators of ‘honor’ crimes continue to act with impunity…The patriarchy that upholds casual sexism is the same patriarchy that is used to justify, endorse and perpetrate ‘honor’ killings. Neither is acceptable,” the statement read.