More than three years ago, 26-year-old Qandeel Baloch, a.k.a. “Pakistan’s Kim Kardashian,” was strangled to death by her brother in what was called an “honor killing.” It happened shortly after Baloch posted a picture on Instagram of herself with a senior religious leader.
Her brother, Mohammed Wasim Azeem, was on the run soon after the murder, but he was eventually caught and arrested. When asked about the crime, he confirmed every suspicion about his motives:
“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.”
“I planned this after her scandal with the mufti and was waiting for the right time,” he says.
Waseem goes on to remark 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.
He admitted it. He admitted it was all about women knowing their place in the home. He admitted to killing his sister because she tampered with tradition. He admitted this was about preserving his family’s “honor.”
Within months of her death, Pakistan’s parliament unanimously passed a law criminalizing “honor killings.” Those found guilty of the crime would face a mandatory 25 years in prison. The most shocking thing was that there wasn’t already a law doing all this. In fact, the new law just removed a legal loophole that allowed family members of a victim to pardon a killer.
Today, a Pakistani court went beyond that, sentencing the brother to life in prison. The same court, however, acquitted several other men associated with Baloch’s death.
Her brother Waseem is able to appeal against the sentence. His lawyer, Sardar Mehmood, told news agency AFP that he hoped Waseem Baloch would be “acquitted by a high court”.
Let’s hope that’s not the case. It took far too long for justice to be served. Before the sentencing, his parents even tried circumventing any punishment, saying they believed he was innocent. They’re deluded. But in their defense, they’ve now lost two children.
Still, if this high-profile case prevents further “honor killings,” then there’s good reason to lock the brother away for good. What he did was both criminal and cowardly. He deserves to be behind bars — far better than turning him into a martyr for other religious extremists.
(Screenshot via BBC. Portions of this article were published earlier. Thanks to Jenny for the link)