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Qandeel Baloch's brother jailed for life by Pak court for her murder


Press Trust of India Lahore
Qandeel Baloch's brother was jailed for life by a court on Friday, three years after the social media star's chilling murder sent shock waves across Pakistan, triggering an outpouring of grief on social media and igniting fierce debate over the prevalence of "honour killings" of women.
Fouzia Azeem, better known as Qandeel was strangled to death at her home in Multan in the Punjab province on July 15, 2016.
Her brother Muhammad Wasim confessed to the murder of his 26-year-old sister and said she had brought "disrepute" to the "family's honour" with her risque videos and statements posted on social media.
Sessions Court Multan Judge Imran Shafi announced the verdict in the case in the presence of all suspects and parents of Baloch.
While the court awarded life imprisonment to Wasim, it acquitted six other suspects including Baloch's another brother Aslam Shaheen, her cousin Haq Nawaz and cleric Abdul Qavi.
A total of 35 witnesses recorded their statements.
The results of the DNA and forensic reports had also confirmed Wasim's involvement in the murder of his sister, according to the prosecution.
Wasim will be sent to Central Jail in Multan to serve his sentence.
Baloch's family initially pointed the finger at cleric Qavi, saying he had instigated the murder after he was criticised for taking selfies with the social media star a month before her death.
Qavi has always denied any involvement.
Last month, her parents pardoned their sons and sought their acquittal.
However, the court had rejected their plea.
At the court in Multan, there were scenes of celebration over the acquittals - and tears over the conviction.
Photos shared on social media show Qavi's supporters overjoyed with the verdict while Baloch's mother wept tears for her son.
Baloch became famous for her bold social media pictures, videos and comments. But those posts in which she spoke of trying to change "the typical orthodox mindset" of people in Pakistan were considered outrageous by the largely conservative Pakistani community.
Described as Pakistan's Kim Kardashian, Baloch had built a modelling career on the back of her social media fame. She faced frequent backlash and death threats but continued to post her pictures and videos.
The 2016 killing sparked fierce debate in Pakistan over the prevalence of "honour killings" of women.
Every year over 1,000 women are murdered in Pakistan in so called 'honour killings' committed by their male relatives.
Baloch's murder restarted the debate in the Muslim country that led to the passing of an amendment to Pakistan's Penal Code in October 2016, allowing the police to take over from the victim's family as the main complainant in the case of an "honour killing".
The amendment made it impossible for the family to use the country's laws that allow close relatives of murder victims to pardon the killers.

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First Published: Sep 27 2019 | 5:20 PM IST

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