Pakistani Social Media Star Qandeel Baloch Allegedly Murdered by Brother in Honor Killing

Qandeel Baloch
Pakistani model Qandeel Baloch in a photo from her Facebook page. 

Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch was allegedly murdered by her brother on Friday, July 15, in what authorities are calling an honor killing in the city of Multan in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

According to CNN, Baloch’s father, Muhammad Azeem, reported his son Waseem to the police after Waseem allegedly killed the 26-year-old social media star in protest of the “kind of pictures she had been posting online.”

Waseem went missing after news of the killing broke, as did his brother, who works in the Army and reportedly encouraged Waseem to carry out the killing, Al Jazeera reports.

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Late Saturday, however, Waseem was tracked down and arrested. In a press conference, he spoke with his face covered, telling the gathered journalists that he “killed for honor” and had “no regrets” about murdering his younger sister.

According to Al Jazeera, a Punjab Police spokeswoman clarified that the initial postmortem showed that Baloch’s nose and mouth had been pinned shut at her time of death; she was not strangled, as previously reported.

Baloch, whose real name was Fauzia Azeem, was a popular and controversial figure on social media — dubbed Pakistan's Kim Kardashian — who dared to show off her curves and speak out about female empowerment in Pakistan, a largely conservative nation.

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Many of the videos she shared to her nearly 750,000 followers on Facebook involved her making faces at the camera, talking about her celebrity crushes and toying with different hairstyles, but according to CNN, they recently became more political, triggering increasing backlash from critics.

Her Instagram account is full of selfies and short video clips. A particularly controversial post involved a selfie with Mufti Abdul Qavi, a senior member of the clergy, about three weeks ago. Qavi was suspended from his post as a result of Baloch’s photo.

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In her last post to Facebook on Tuesday, July 4, Baloch wrote: “I am trying to change the typical orthodox mindset of people who don’t wanna come out of their shells of false beliefs and old practices.”

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