Who really killed Qandeel in Pakistan?



    Jul 26, 2016

    Who really killed Qandeel in Pakistan?

    ONE lives in hope.

    The news that a consensus has finally emerged over proposed legislation in Pakistan prescribing tough punishment for so-called honour killing and rape and that parliament appears ready to approve these laws, must be a positive development.

    The catalyst was the murder of social media sensation Qandeel Baloch.

    She was killed by her brother (in the name of family honour) whom she reportedly supported financially along with her parents and other family members.

    Much has been written about the young woman, her profiles done in her lifetime and even more over the past week since her murder by writers far more articulate than I.

    But let me tell you what she represented to me.

    A rebel and a totally free spirit in an utterly eccentric sort of way.

    When she posted pictures of a meeting with Mufti Qavi, a religious scholar, just a few weeks before life was squeezed out of her, I realised there was method in her madness.

    She was very effectively holding up a mirror to society and mocking its spurious piety.

    Here she was with as officially acknowledged a pious religious scholar as you can find in Pakistani society and a man twice her age.

    And what was he doing.

    Seemingly struggling hard not to drool all over her.

    He later said he had gone to meet her as he wanted to save her soul and convince her to change her ways.

    She often bared parts of her body in videos posted on social media and had a fan base of 750,000 on Facebook.

    That she had such a huge number of fans did hint again at society's hoax piety where as long as outwardly you don the cloak, you can harbour any amount of sexual fantasies, even lust, inside you.

    I say this as many of those who saw her videos then condemned her, even justified her murder.

    I really wish she had at least once bared her soul on social media too and chronicled what life is like for a girl born in a poor household; what it is like to be a given away in marriage at a young age and then produce a child in a grossly unhappy marriage marked by allegations of physical abuse.

    And then to have rebelled and left that life behind to seek fame, fortune and most of all freedom in the big city.

    Even in the big city, one can safely assume, lecherous men followed her around like the Pied Piper. Still, she was able to carve a niche for herself and didn't fall into any easily describable category.

    Her grief-stricken parents have told the media they will never forgive their son for murdering Qandeel as she was the one who supported the whole family.

    But to many people, and you can find an abundance of them on social media, she was responsible for her own death by posting videos of herself - in other words, for exercising freedom to create content on social media, the viewing of which is purely voluntary.

    My fear is that the laws which will allow for death/life sentences for "honour" killings may serve as a deterrent but just.

    Beyond the laws, it is very important for society now to acknowledge how it treats women after affording them the secondary status it does.

    Acid has been thrown at women for refusing a marriage proposal or amorous advances by a man.

    Passing laws can only be lauded. It is a step in the right direction particularly if all the religious parties also support these. But how do we change the mindset, attitudes, in society? That is the real challenge.