A young girl, aged 26, known for being a Pakistani model and social media personality, who was (in) famous for her notoriety and being outspoken and bold enough to rattle the consciousness of an entire country, was murdered by her brother brutally. He has confessed to killing her by drugging and strangling her because he believed she had been dishonoring the family name as well as the nation, which rides on the brigade of conservatism and honor killings.
Piped to be Pakistan’s Kim Kardashian, Qandeel Baloch created a lot of controversies for her provocative selfies and stripping acts that put the family name to shame. Being a target of misogynist abuse, she asked the police for protection, after she was receiving death threats via the social media handles. She never knew, the person she needed protection from also sworn to protect her from any harm.
Being a modern day feminist, she believed in the idea of equality, a word that is not yet in existence in the patriarchal society of Pakistan. She did not adhere to the idea of getting labelled for the sake and convenience of society. After all, labelling makes the character assassination of women tad bit easier, doesn’t it?
As a women we must stand up for ourselves..As a women we must stand up for each other…As a women we must stand… https://t.co/v8XoETLh8A
— Qandeel Baloch (@QandeelQuebee) July 14, 2016
Once again, we’ve been shown what happens to women who dare live on their own terms. Again, we’ve been shown the tragic extreme of a culture that allows women’s bodies and freedoms to be restricted constantly – at home, on the streets, or on the internet. Nothing should shame the existence of a family, and nothing shames more than the existence of a girl who tends to live life by her own choices.
More than 500 people, almost all of them women, die in ‘honor killings’ in Pakistan every year, usually at the hands of relatives acting on a perception that shame has been brought upon the family.
Apparently, there is a loophole in the honor bill of Pakistan that allows the guilty to walk free, if the victim’s family forgives the person and lauds the act. This loophole has made many charged for murder walk scot free. Why should the family want justice for someone who has bought ‘shame’ and had the guts to ward off from the desired and suitable path?
But surprisingly, the Pakistani authorities have barred the family of the murdered social media celebrity from legally “forgiving” their son for strangling her, which is actually a rare stand against the practice of so-called honor killings. A police source said the government of Punjab, the country’s largest province, has made it impossible for the family to forgive the son who murdered her — a common legal loophole that sees many honor killings go unpunished in Pakistan.
If not by her family, she might finally get justice by the concerned authorities, who might have rebuked her, humiliated her, and ridiculed her existence. She announced a bigger storm that is all set to grip the patriarchal society, and this is the least the authorities could do to thwart the incoming.
In all this darkness (her explicit videos) though, there is some hope, some prospect of progress, albeit of a limited, stuttering, slow-moving variety.
In a part of the world, where girls are taught to not be seen or heard, this bold woman demanded both. And undeniably she got the attention, but got rebuked for it, or worse, dead for it. Her lack of adherence to the patriarchy, while being defamed as an ‘attention-seeking whore’, she managed to stir a revolution. She did much more than giving voice to the subdued gender, she gave them the strength to exist.