Pakistan model and internet sensation Qandeel Baloch was allegedly strangled to death by her brother in Multan city on Saturday, becoming the latest victim of 'honour killing' in the country. The 26-year-old actor-cum-model was killed in central district of Multan last night, police said on Saturday. Police said apparently she was killed by her brother named Wasim, who has fled after the incident.
"She was suffocated to death by strangulation. It seems to be a case of honour killing but we are investigating it," district police chief Azhar Akram said. Her real name was Fouzia Azeem but she chose Qandeel Baloch as her pseudonym after stepping into modelling. She had received threats from her family to quit modelling and her provocative appearances on social media.
The controversial model's brother had been threatening her over Facebook posts and messages, police officials were quoted as saying. Fearing for her life, Qandeel had written to the interior minister, the senior superintendent of Islamabad and the director general of the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) three weeks ago asking them to provide her security.
She had said her life is in danger and that she is being threatened via calls on her mobile number and that she did not have security measures installed in her home, the paper said. However, she did not receive any help.
Qandeel was media sensation and unbelievably bold and was also considered highly controversial. She shot to fame in Pakistan in 2014 after a video of her pouting for the camera. She became famous through her tireless self-promotion and suggestive "selfies" posted on social media and had amassed tens of thousands of followers.
Qandeel had taken the social media by storm with her statement promising to strip if Pakistan won the T20 cricket match against India in March. She had expressed her desire many times to marry ex-cricketer and opposition politician Imran Khan. Her controversial pictures recently led to the suspension of Mufti Qawi's membership from the Ruet-e-Hilal committee.
Alhough she had been reviled by many and frequently subject to misogynist abuse online, Baloch had also won praise by some of the country's youth for her forthright attitude. On Valentine's Day, she had donned a plunging scarlet dress and posted a video message defying the country's President, who had issued a stern warning against the "Western" holiday. The post garnered more than 70,000 'likes'.
Killing of women in the name of honour is a menace still prevalent in many parts of Pakistan. Pakistan amended its criminal code in 2005 to prevent men who kill female relatives.