The brother of murdered Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch has been formally charged with her murder, the final step before a trial begins in the high-profile case.
Waseen Baloch publicly confessed to strangling his 26-year-old sister shortly after his arrest in July, for bringing “dishonour” to the family. “Yes of course, I strangled her. I am not ashamed. We are Baloch and as Baloch we cannot tolerate this,” he said at a press conference.
Police investigator Atiya Jafri told the BBC that the siblings’ cousin Haq Nawaz has also been charged with murder, while two other men – including a taxi driver – have been charged with conspiracy to murder and facilitation.
Qandeel, who was found dead in her family home in Multan on July 16 this year, was a household name in Pakistan for posting sometimes risqué photos on social media, and was a fierce advocate for intersectional feminism and female independence.
She was obviously a polarising figure in Pakistan, where about a 1000 people, mostly woman, die every year in so-called “honour killings”. The perpetrators often walk free because they can seek forgiveness for the crime from another family member.
Her parents have spoken about their pain over their son’s crime. “He killed my daughter after being taunted by his friends,” her mother Anwar Wai said through tears while speaking to AFP earlier this year. “They would infuriate him and tell him she is bringing you dishonour.”
Pakistan’s justice minister announce a bill aimed at tackling “honour killings” and boosting rape convictions earlier this year.
The hearing as been adjourned until December 8.