A Pakistani social media celebrity whose selfies and videos were deeply polarising in the conservative Muslim country has been murdered by her brother in what police suspect was a so-called “honour killing”, officials said Saturday.
“Qandeel Baloch has been killed, she was strangled to death by her brother, apparently it was an incident of honour killing,” Sultan Azam, senior police officer in Multan, told AFP.
Baloch, believed to be in her twenties, had travelled with her family from the city of Karachi to Muzzafarabad village in central Punjab province for the recent Eid holiday.
Police were informed by her family that the killing took place on Friday night.
“The brother was also there last night and the family told us that he strangled her to death,” Azhar Akram, another senior police official in Multan told AFP, confirming that officials suspected an honour killing.
Police said the brother was now on the run.
Hundreds of women are murdered, often by relatives, for “honour” every year in Pakistan.
The killers often walk free because of a law that allows relatives of the victim to forgive the murderer.
Baloch shot to fame in Pakistan in 2014 after a video of her pouting at the camera and asking “How em looking?” went viral.
Held up by many of the country’s youth for her liberal views and forthrightness, Baloch — who posed with mullahs and courted controversy in plunging dresses — was also reviled by many and frequently subject to misogynist abuse online.
She had reportedly spoken of leaving the country after Eid out of fear for her safety. —Agence France-Presse