Social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch's brother confesses to her murder
Waseem Baloch charged with crime against the state
He says he did it because "girls are born to stay at home"
The brother of Pakistani social media star, Qandeel Baloch, who expressed pride for having killed his sister, has been charged with a crime against the state for the so-called “honor” killing, according to a police report.
The rare charge against Waseem Baloch, who confessed to killing one of Pakistan’s most famous and controversial online celebrities because “girls are born to stay home,” was included in a charging document obtained by CNN.
The count under Section 311 of the Pakistan’s Penal Code makes the state an applicant against Waseem Baloch, meaning that he cannot be pardoned even if the victim’s relatives – in this case, his parents as well – forgive the killer.
“The provision was inserted into the penal code in 2004 and it was specifically with regards to murder committed in the name of honor,” Sahar Bandial, an attorney based in Lahore told CNN.
“Under Islamic law, murder is seen as a forgivable act, however due to this provision, it is treated as a crime against the state. Crimes against the state are unforgivable. Legal heirs cannot forgive the perpetrator of the crime or receive any monetary compensation. The state steps in and becomes the prosecutor since the crime is so heinous that the state will not allow this offense to be compounded.”
The 25 year-old Qandeel was strangled Friday at her family home in the city of Multan in the Pakistani province of Punjab. After going on the run, her brother was later arrested. In his confession video, he expresses no regret.
“I am proud of what I did. I drugged her first, then I killed her,” Waseem Baloch says. “She was bringing dishonor to our family.”
Qandeel rose to fame due to the sassy, and increasingly political, videos she posted on Facebook.
Her brother Waseem claims that having his friends share her pictures and video clips was “too much” for him and killing his sister was a better alternative than killing himself.
Both adored and reviled, Qandeel, who was buried Sunday, referred to herself as a “modern day feminist” and had nearly 750,000 followers on Facebook.
In his confession, Waseem remarks that he thinks he will be remembered with pride and honor, and by bringing honor to his family he has earned his place “in heaven.”
“Girls are born to stay home and follow traditions. My sister never did that,” he says.
Prominent cleric ‘to be investigated’
In one incident, Qandeel made headlines after posting selfies on her Instagram account with Mufti Abdul Qavi, a senior member of the clergy. According to Waseem, this particular controversy was “the end of it.”
“I planned this after her scandal with the mufti and was waiting for the right time,” he says.
The media frenzy surrounding the pictures resulted in Qavi’s suspension from his post on one of Pakistan’s religious committees, and police have announced that the prominent cleric is also to be investigated in connection with the murder of the social media celebrity.
“We have decided to include Mufti Qavi in Qandeel’s murder investigation,” Multan’s chief of police told CNN.
However, the cleric told CNN that any reports he was being investigated in relation to Qandeel’s death were incorrect. “These allegations are wrong,” he said.
Speaking to Pakistan’s Geo News, Qandeel’s mother accused the cleric of provoking her son into carrying out the murder. She claims her son Waseem carried out the killing on the cleric’s advice.
‘I want to inspire women’
Qandeel’s videos were not very different from the thousands of others shared by 20-something social media celebrities across the Internet. She pouted into the camera, discussed her hairstyles and shared cooing confessions about her celebrity crushes.
But in Pakistan, her flirty antics pushed the boundaries of what is acceptable.
On the list of 145 countries featured in the World Economic Forum’s 2015 Gender Gap Report, Pakistan is second to last with regards to gender disparity.
According to the Independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, violence against women is rampant, with as many as 212 women being killed in the name of ‘honor’ in the first five months of 2016.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, has vowed to tackle the problem but critics say few concrete steps have been taken.
“There is no honor in honor killing, in fact there can be nothing more degrading than to engage in brutal murder and to refer to it as honor,” he said in a press statement six months ago.
On the morning Qandeel was murdered, she shared a picture of herself staring defiantly into the camera, wearing a pair of leopard print pants and a black tank top.
Despite reports that she was scared for her life, she wrote that she was a fighter.
“I will bounce back,” she said, adding that she wanted to inspire women who have been “treated badly and dominated by society.”
CNN’s Ray Sanchez in New York and journalist Adeel Raja in Islamabad contributed to this story.