The brother of Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch was sentenced yesterday to life in prison for her murder -- the patriarchal country’s highest-profile “honour killing”.
Baloch, 26, who shot to fame for her risque selfies -- tame by Western standards, but considered provocative in deeply misogynistic Pakistan -- was strangled in July 2016.
Her brother Muhammad Waseem was arrested. Days later he told a press conference that he had no remorse over what he did, saying that “of course” he had murdered his sister and that her behaviour had been “intolerable”.
Five others were acquitted by the court, including an Islamic cleric Mufti Abdul Qavi who had been embroiled in controversy with Baloch months ahead of her death.
Baloch’s murder made international headlines and reignited calls for action against an epidemic of so-called “honour killings”, in which a victim -- usually a woman -- is murdered for flouting patriarchal social codes. Women have been burned, shot, stabbed and strangled for offences such as choosing their own husband or -- in Baloch’s case -- bringing “shame” on their family by celebrating their sexuality.
The roots of “honour” killings lie in tribal social norms which remain prevalent across South Asia.