Parents of a Pakistani social media star allegedly murdered by her brothers have lost their bid to free their sons
Fouzia Azeem, aka Qandeel Baloch, became a household name in Pakistan after posting sometimes raunchy photographs, comments and videos on social media sites, on which she had hundreds of thousands of followers.
Baloch, 26, known as the Kim Kardashian of Pakistan, was strangled in July 2016 in an apparent honor killing
Qandeel Baloch’s parents told the court they forgave their sons Waseem and Aslam Shaheen, who are on trial for the killing
Her brother Waseem Shaheen initially confessed, saying she had brought shame on his family, but later recanted
Another six men have been arrested in connection with the killing, while a seventh – believed to be another brother – has fled custody
Muhammad Azeem, revised his initial outburst that he wanted his daughter’s killers “to get death”, that his son Waseem should be “shot on sight”
On Thursday he told the court in Multan, Punjab, that he and his wife had now decided to pardon their sons – but not the other accused – “in the name of Allah”,
The court rejected the plea, entered on Wednesday, saying the case against the two men would proceed as planned
Media influencer Qandeel Baloch [photo], was killed in July 2016, allegedly by family members to end the ‘dishonor’ she brought to the family
The parents of a Pakistani social media star allegedly murdered by her brothers have lost their bid to free their sons.
Qandeel Baloch’s parents told the court they forgave Waseem and Aslam Shaheen, who are on trial for the apparent honor killing.
Baloch, 26, was strangled in July 2016, in a murder that shocked Pakistan and the wider world.
Her brother Waseem initially confessed, saying she had brought shame on his family, but later changed his plea.
Initially the parents recalled their closeness to their daughter and their bitterness towards their son, who had confessed to murdering her a few days after the murder.
While her mother, Anwar Azeem, said her daughter had shared all her sorrows and secrets with her, Muhammad Azeem, said his son should be “shot on sight”. Anwar Azeem said her son lost his mind because of taunts about his sister’s frank and often risque posts online.
Quandeel Baloch [left], caused controversy when she posted photos of herself alongside a cleric
Cases of women being killed for “dishonoring” their family are commonplace in Pakistan. Nearly 1,100 women were killed by relatives in so-called honor killings in 2015, according to the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan [HRCP]. Many more cases go unreported.
A loophole in the law used to allow perpetrators to avoid punishment because they could seek forgiveness from another family member. But in the wake of Ms Baloch’s death – and the discussion it prompted – that loophole was closed.
However, Baloch’s parents argued that because the change happened after her killing, they should still be able to pardon their sons.
Muhammad Azeem, revised his initial outburst that he wanted her killers “to get death”, telling BBC that his son Waseem should be “shot on sight”.
On Thursday he told the court in Multan, Punjab, that he and his wife had now decided to pardon their sons – but not the other accused – “in the name of Allah”, according to BBC Urdu.
The court rejected the plea, entered on Wednesday, saying the case against the two men would continue as planned.
The model – Qandeel Baloch’s brother, Waseem [photo], initially confessed to strangling her to death in an honor killing. He later recanted
The controversial persona of Qandeel Baloch has been dubbed the Kim Kardashian of Pakistan. She had hundreds of thousands of followers on social media, and was reportedly one of the top 10 most searched Pakistani personalities in the year before she died.
She won praise for her fearlessness, for breaking strict social taboos and expressing herself the way she wanted to – even if that meant sharing risqué photographs, or twerking on camera.
But this fearlessness also won her enemies and put her in danger in a country that struggles with what it regards as immodest or “badly behaved” women.
“I am facing threats,” Qandeel Baloch [photo], told BBC. “But I believe that death is preordained – when you are meant to die, you will die”
Fouzia Azeem, aka Qandeel Baloch [photo], became a household name in Pakistan after posting sometimes raunchy photos, comments and videos on social media sites, on which she had hundreds of thousands of followers.
Qandeel Baloch an unlikely and polarizing figure in the conservative nation, had a reputation for being Pakistan’s first social media celebrity.
She became a household name in Pakistan after posting sometimes raunchy photographs, comments and videos on social media sites, on which she had hundreds of thousands of followers.
The 26-year-old was well aware of the opposition she faced in the conservative Muslim country but was unapologetic.
Her background alone was enough to shock socially conservative Pakistan.
Baloch was born Fouzia Azeem, and came from a poor family in a town about 248 miles south west of Lahore.
After her rise to fame in 2014, it emerged she had been married as a teenager, and had a baby. But her husband, she said later, was a “savage man” who abused her, and she fled with her son.
But unable to support her son financially, she returned him to her husband, who has always denied he treated her badly. She never saw the little boy again.
It was after this that she was able to reinvent herself as Qandeel Baloch.
But as her star grew, her supporters warned that her behavior could threaten her life. Ms Baloch, however, remained unapologetic, although she had asked the government for protection.
“I am facing threats,” she told BBC Urdu. “But I believe that death is preordained – when you are meant to die, you will die.”
After she was killed, her brother Waseem detailed the incident. He confessed he drugged and then strangled her to death last Friday “for dishonoring the Baloch name”.
In their first interview with international media, Baloch’s parents said they had also been drugged on the night of the murder.
“My husband and I fell deeply asleep. We had drunk milk, it had been mixed with sedatives,” Anwar Azeem said.
“In the morning, I called Qandeel for breakfast… but she didn’t get up.”
Quandeel Baloch’s parents Anwar and Muhammad Azeem [photo], at home in Shah Sadar Din in Punjab, failed in their bid to free their sons and have only non-family members prosecuted for the death of their daughter
She found her daughter’s body and found that “her whole face was covered in bruises, her tongue was black, her lips was black”, and started crying, she said.
“We were mother and daughter, sharing all our sorrows and secrets. She used to tell me: ‘Your daughter is working hard, she’ll go far,'” she added.
But Ms Baloch’s brothers “always had hatred in their hearts”, Anwar said.
“Before, they didn’t care much. But recently, things got worse, people… poisoned their minds.”
Muhammad Azeem said his daughter had been his “best friend”, but described his son as “crazed”.
“I say he should be shot on sight! He suffocated my little one,” he added.
“We were drugged, asleep upstairs. She must have called out to us,” the grieving dad said at the time.