Waseem Azeem, the brother of Qandeel Baloch, was arrested on Saturday night.
Baloch, who had become a social media celebrity in recent months, stirred controversy by posting pictures online taken with a prominent Muslim cleric. “I was determined either to kill myself or kill her,” Azeem told The Associated Press as he was being led away.
Pakistani model Qandeel Baloch murdered in honor killing
He said that even though Baloch was the main breadwinner for the family, he slipped her sedatives the night before and then strangled her in her sleep.
“Money matters, but family honor is more important,” said Azeem.
Regional police chief Sultan Taimuri said authorities will seek the maximum punishment for Azeem, without providing further details.
Baloch, whose real name was Fauzia Azeem, was buried Sunday. She had shot to fame and notoriety through social media postings that would be considered tame by Western standards but were seen as scandalous by many in deeply conservative Pakistan.
The fashion model was outspoken when it came to changing the conventional ideas of Pakistanis.
In a pinned Facebook post she wrote that she is “trying to change the typical orthodox mindset of people who don’t wanna come out of their shells of false beliefs and old practices.”
“Thank you my believers and supporters for understanding the message i try to convey through my bold posts and videos,” she wrote.
The model was an avid poster on Facebook
“It’s time to bring a change because the world is changing. let’s open our minds and live in present.
Just yesterday, she posted a controversial music video where she was featured dancing and twerking in a YouTube post labeled as “hot and raunchy.”
Social media was divided following the news of her killing. Some followers praised the way she lived and denounced honor killings while conservatives called her a “disgrace.”
Video of her dancing to a popular rap song was widely circulated, and at the time of her death she had 40,000 followers on Twitter and 700,000 on Facebook. In postings and public comments, she presented herself as a symbol of female empowerment
She became embroiled in scandal earlier this month when she posted pictures taken with Mufti Abdul Qavi, a prominent cleric, in a Karachi hotel room during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. In one picture, she is wearing the cleric’s trademark fur-lined hat.
Qandeel Baloch (r) in the controversial Facebook photo with cleric Mufti Abdul Qavi
Qavi maintained that he only met with her to discuss the teachings of Islam. But the government suspended Qavi and removed him from the official moon-sighting committee that determines when Ramadan starts and ends in accordance with the Islamic lunar calendar.
Nearly 1,000 women are murdered in Pakistan each year for violating conservative norms on love, marriage and public behavior. The so-called “honor killings” are often carried out by family members.
Qandeel Baloch strangled by younger brother Waseem Azeem, on Saturday night
Such killings are considered murder. But Islamic law in Pakistan allows a murder victim’s family to pardon the killer, which often allows those convicted of honor killings to escape punishment.
Baloch’s death produced a mixed reaction on the same social media. One poster on Twitter wrote: “A girl who decides to publish her naked pics for sake of publicity … what her brother is supposed to do?”
In response Alizeh Tahir posted on Facebook: “I am sad to hear the news of Qandeel Baloch’s murder. What saddens me more is the reaction of my nation. People who celebrate someone’s death are, probably, themselves dead inside.”
Pakistani newspaper Dawn in an editorial wrote “The death of Qandeel Baloch conveys an insidious message: that women will be kept back at all cost; murdered, if they dare nurture ambitions to break the glass ceiling,” “Her murder, therefore, must serve as an impetus for legislators to renew demands for legislation to protect women who are threatened under false notions of ‘honor.’ ”