Feminist Pakistani Social Media Star Killed By Her Own Brother Over ‘Honor’

by Madelyn Sundquist

Qandeel Baloch—controversial Pakistani social media star—was strangled by her own brother the night of July 15. The reason for the horrific killing? Honor; that of her family, which her brother believed was being tarnished by Qandeel’s work.

Qandeel described herself as a “modern feminist,” intentionally being provocative, sexual, and very much in the public eye through her videos on social media. The videos, mostly in Urdu and thus not very accessible to English speakers, covered controversial topics regarding women’s place in society. Here is her most recent and popular video, “BAN:”

Her brother, Waseem Baloch, expressed no remorse over the killing of his sister, saying, “I am proud of what I did. I drugged her first, then I killed her.” He claims that killing her was the alternative to killing himself over the dishonor she was bringing to their family name. Many different opinions of the murder have circulated in Pakistan already, from outrage and horror at the display of toxic masculinity rampant in the country, to approval and congratulations.

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As one of over 200 “honor” killing victims in Pakistan just this year, Qandeel’s life and death reveal the changes Pakistan is undergoing with regards to gender roles and female sexuality, toward a more liberal future; however, the increase in these murders also indicates a strong reactionary force. Today, let us celebrate this Qadeen, a woman called everything from “diva” to “dishonorable,” for pushing societal boundaries and working to chip away at the intense patriarchal forces still at play in Pakistan.

Images via Facebook.

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