Wednesday, 16 February 2022 00:26

Pak court acquits Qandeel Baloch’s brother who confessed to killing social media star




Karachi [Pakistan], February 16 (ANI): Pakistan appeals court on Tuesday acquitted Qandeel Baloch’s brother, Waseem Baloch, who confessed to killing social media star.

Waseem was freed after three years. He was convicted of killing Qandeel for "bringing dishonour" to the family, reported CNN.

Qandeel ‘s murder in 2016 sparked a national outcry and promoted changes in the country’s so-called ‘honour killing’ laws.

Waseem Baloch was arrested within days of the murder and confessed on video to killing his 25-year-old sister at her family home in the city of Multan in Pakistan’s Punjab province. Despite his admission, he pleaded not guilty in court and in 2019 was sentenced to life imprisonment, reported CNN.

In a confession video, Waseem Baloch said he was "proud" of killing his sister, adding that having his friends share her pictures and video clips was "too much" for him.

"I drugged her first, then I killed her," he said. "Girls are born to stay home and follow traditions. My sister never did that."At the time of Qandeel Baloch’s murder, Pakistan law allowed a murder victim’s family to pardon a convicted killer.

Rights activists feared this law would be used to spare Waseem Baloch. Three months after Qandeel Baloch’s death, Pakistan lawmakers responded to the public outcry and passed legislation against the controversial practice -- a landmark ruling welcomed by rights activists and lawyers.

But Waseem Baloch’s acquittal Monday has outraged women’s rights activists in Pakistan, reported CNN.

"This man who confessed of killing Qandeel, his own sister, is a free man today in the same country where Qandeel couldn’t live her life freely," wrote lawyer and activist Nighat Dad on Twitter Monday.

"This is the sorry state of not so sorry State...we are sorry Qandeel. Shocked and speechless," she said.

Sanam Maher, the author of "A Woman Like Her: The Short Life of Qandeel Baloch," also expressed her anger on Instagram.

"In a society that takes great pleasure in the punishment of women who break the rules, it should come as no surprise that each suspect in this case has been acquitted," Maher said.

"After today’s verdict, we may ask, who killed her? Nobody, it seems. In accepting that answer, we are all complicit in the crime of failing to protect women." (ANI)