She is described as a “social media star” and a self-styled “Pakistani Kim Kardashian,” but Qandeel Baloch was much more than that. Her racy photographs and video posts on her Facebook page, where she has almost 800,000 followers, spoke of female empowerment and challenged the sexual conservatism of Pakistan, a country rated second to last in the Economic Forum's 2015 report on gender inequality. But her provocations proved too much for her self-described “drug addict” brother Waseem, who drugged her and then asphyxiated her to death last Friday.
Qandeel Baloch was born in Pakistan’s Punjab Province in 1990. The aspiring model and actress became an internet sensation with her suggestive photographs and videos, which were middle of the road by Western standards, but controversial in her native country, where conservative Islam holds sway. A series of selfies she took with conservative Muslim cleric Mufti Abdul Qavi prompted his suspension from his religious post, and death threats against the young woman. It was also the incident that made her brother decide to kill her. He says of the murder, "I have no regrets," adding, "I am proud of what I did. I drugged her first, then I killed her, she was bringing dishonor to our family."
The murder of Qandeel Baloch is the most public in a rash of so-called “Honor Killings” this year in Pakistan. It is thought that up to 212 women have been killed so far this year in Pakistan for the perceived slight of bringing dishonor to their families. It’s gotten so bad Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has issued statements condemning the practice. Qandeel’s grieving father said following her death “She supported all of us, including my son who killed her. My daughter was brave and I will not forget or forgive her brutal murder.”
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