The brother of Pakistani social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch says he is “not embarrassed at all” about having drugged and strangled her to death, noting that after her accusations against an Islamic cleric led to his removal, he felt he had no choice but to stop her from continuing to “dishonor” the family.
“I am proud of what I did. I drugged her first, then I killed her,” Waseem Baloch said in his stated confession to the police. “Girls are born to stay home and follow traditions. My sister never did that.” He asserted that the murder had earned him a place “in heaven.”
Pakistani newspaper Dawn reports that Waseem cited Qandeel’s controversy with a prominent mufti as the last straw in her social media career. “I planned this after her scandal with the mufti and was waiting for the right time,” he said, noting that the incident was “the end of it.”
Baloch made a name for herself in Pakistan posting risqué selfies on Facebook. She had begun a career in music video modeling days before her murder. It was her encounter with Mufti Abdul Qavi that brought her international infamy, however.
Baloch met Mufti Qavi, a prominent Islamic cleric who was on the board tasked with sighting the moon for the announcement the beginning and end of the holy month of Ramadan, at a hotel room in June. The duo took selfies which Baloch posted on her social media outlets. For his indiscretion, Qavi was demoted from the board and severely reprimanded.
Following the meeting — already an infraction, as Qavi has no familial relationship to Baloch and they reportedly met alone — Baloch began accusing the “hypocrite” Qavi of major indiscretions, including making sexual advances to her and drinking a Coca-Cola in her presence during Ramadan. “I have unveiled a man who was leading the people towards ignorance in the name of Islam,” she wrote in a statement following Qavi’s denials of her assertions.
Baloch received death threats for her meeting with Qavi and demanded the Pakistani government assure her safety. “I need security from you,” she wrote in a letter to police officials in June. The government did not deploy any extra police presence in her neighborhood or respond in any way to her demand.
Police officials have triggered a number of legal safeguards following her death to ensure her brother does not escape punishment. The state of Pakistan has inserted itself as a complainant in the murder, which bars the family from dropping charges against her brother. In Pakistan, if a family officially forgives an honor killing, the state cannot press charges. As the state is now complainant, only forgiveness from the state could trigger amnesty.
Police are also investigating another older brother, Mohammad Aslam, accused of encouraging the younger brother’s murder plot. They are also investigating Mufti Qavi, who has agreed to cooperate with the investigation.
In addition to the controversy involving Qavi, Qandeel Baloch had used her platform as a social media star to condemn her family for forcing her into an abusive marriage. In her final interview, Baloch told Dawn that they had married her off to a much older man who abused her and attempted an acid attack on her because “you are so beautiful.” Her family, she asserted, had defended him.
“Nothing is good in this society,” the self-proclaimed feminist asserted, calling her social media presence “my revenge” on both her family and Pakistan for forcing her and millions of other women to suffer in silence.