Social media celebrity Qandeel Balogh, often referred to as Pakistan’s Kim Kardashian, was found dead in her family’s home near Multan, strangled by her brother in what is known as an “honor killing.” An honor killing is committed by male family members against a female family member, who is believed to have brought dishonor upon the family.
“Yes of course, I strangled her,” Baloch’s brother, Muhammad Wasim, calmly told reporters at a press conference shortly after his arrest. “She was on the ground floor while our parents were asleep on the roof top,” he said, describing how he had given her a sleeping pill before killing her.
Wasim explained that his sister’s “intolerable behavior” is what drove him to murder her, and that her racy persona was brought shame to the family.
“I am not embarrassed at all over what I did,” he said.
Qandeel was a frequent target of aggressive attacks on social media for her online postings.
“What’s ur goal? U want to [be] most insulted person in the world?” said a recent comment on one of Baloch’s pictures on Facebook.
“What’s ur goal? U want to [be] most insulted person in the world?” reads another.
“If u closely look at her face, u can see clearly she looks just like a prostitute,” reads another.
Other commenters decry her “slutty, porn star behavior” and “disrespect” for her country, and many degenerate into full-on misogynistic abuse and bullying.
The Daily Beast, though, called her a provocative feminist who spoke out against Pakistan’s patriarchal social norms , saying she wasa “one-woman army.”
Her photos and videos were her way of thumbing her nose at Pakistan’s patriarchal society. By dressing as she wanted and flaunting her sexuality, Baloch believed that she was challenging the country’s repressive religious and social status quo.
“At least international media can see what i am up to,” she wrote in a July 4 post on Facebook with a link to a recent BBC radio segment about her. “How i am trying to change the typical orthodox mindset of people who don’t wanna come out of their shells of false beliefs and old practices.”
“As a women we must stand up for ourselves,” she posted on July 14, just a day before she was killed. “I believe I am a modern day feminist. I believe in equality… I don’t think there is any need to label ourselves just for sake of society.”
Baloch divorced her husband, whom she claimed was abusive with her, and set off to begin a modeling career before becoming an Internet sensation. She called her success an act of revenge on her country.
“This patriarchal society is bad,” she told Dawn journalist Hufsa Chaudry. “Being a girl, think yourself, how difficult it is to move around as a woman in this society. How many men do you encounter who bother you?”
Less than a month before she was killed, Baloch approached authorities, asking for protection after some of her personal identification documents were leaked on social media. She had also been receiving death threats and was considering moving out of the country.
Despite her fears, Baloch continued to upload her provocative photos and her defiant feminist messages. In her last Facebook post before her death she wrote:
“No matter how many times I will be pushed down under…I will bounce back. I will keep on achieving and I know you will keep on hating…DAMN but who cares.”