How Qandeel Baloch Exposes Hypocritical Face Of Society Even In Death
Today marks the fourth death anniversary of Pakistan’s social media sensation Qandeel Baloch, who was killed by her brother in the name of ‘honour’ in 2016. Qandeel, who was known as Fauzia Azeem before she adopted her new persona, hailed from Multan’s working-class family.
She rose to fame in no time with her bold videos on social media, which were both loved and reviled by the public. During her brief life as a celebrity, Qandeel ‘inspired thousands of young people, particularly women, who admired this simple girl’s transformation into one of the country’s biggest celebrities’, said Guardian in a profile on the slain model.
For Qandeel Baloch, social media was truly a weapon against the conservative and elitist Pakistani society. She used it to challenge traditional roles set for women and bypass the elite culture prevalent in the show business.
On her final, July 4 post to her Facebook page, which had almost 800,000 fans, she 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.”
Her celebrity status later led to her meeting with Mufti Abdul Qavi — a man many accuse of orchestrating the murder of the young Qandeel.
Baloch posted the pictures of her meeting with Qavi on social and accused him of engaging in inappropriate behaviour on social media.
Following this, Qandeel received life threats and requested the interior ministry for security– a request that fell on deaf ears. Qandeel’s past which she had worked so hard to conceal also came to the fore shortly after the episode with Qavi.
Her former husband came forward on media and disclosed how Qandeel Baloch walked out on him and his son. After that, a TV channel showed images of her identity card and passport, disclosing her father’s name and home address, further exposing her to danger.
According to reports, the meeting with Qavi and subsequent fallout enraged her brother, who laced her milk with sleeping pills and strangled her when she was on a visit to her parents’ home in Multan. Her death sparked widespread condemnation and renew debates on honour killings in Pakistan. Her brother was jailed for murder, but Qavi continues to walk free.