Lahore: Pakistan's social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch's absconding brother, who was an accused in her gruesome murder, has been arrested with the help of Interpol and handed over to police in Punjab province, a senior police official has said.
Fouzia Azeem, better known as Qandeel was strangled to death at her home in Multan in the Punjab province on 15 July, 2016, in a chilling murder that 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.
Multan police on Saturday arrested Baloch's absconding brother Mohammad Arif with the help of Interpol and handed him over to Muzaffarabad police station in Multan, senior police official Mahar Bashir Hiraj told the Dawn newspaper.
Arif had been declared an absconder in the murder case of Baloch. His arrest comes after a Pakistani court on 27 September sentenced another brother of Baloch, Muhammad Wasim, to life imprisonment for killing his sister.
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 awarded life imprisonment to Wasim, but acquitted six other suspects including Baloch's another brother Aslam Shaheen, her cousin Haq Nawaz and cleric Abdul Qavi. A total of 35 witnesses had recorded their statements.
Baloch had become 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 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-majority 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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Updated Date: Oct 06, 2019 23:00:42 IST