Qandeel Baloch, a popular Pakistani model and social media personality, was murdered by one of her brothers who did not approve of her actions or lifestyle in what is known as an "honor killing."
As reported, Baloch, real name Fouzia Akeem, was visiting her family’s home in Multan, when she was allegedly strangled to death in her sleep Friday night (July 15).
The 26-year-old built a reputation for being a passionate spokesperson advocating for equal rights, and was often dubbed Pakistani’s own Kim Kardashian.
According to the report, her death was reported to police by her parents early Saturday morning, and her father, Muhammad Azeem, told police that his son Wasim Azeem had strangled her.
Three weeks ago, Baloch went to police asking for protection, saying that she had received numerous death threats, particularly on her social media where she often was a target given the conservative nature of Pakistan. While her social media following was built up to over 100,000 followers on Instagram, and over 600,000 on Facebook, not all of those ‘fans’ were true supporters, and Baloch often was criticized for her actions, such as controversially posting provocative selfies and proudly declaring she was a feminist.
In a post she shared on Facebook on July 14, the night before her murder, Baloch wrote that she would never stop fighting for justice for women.
“As a women, we must stand up for ourselves,” her post expressed. “As a women, we must stand up for each other…As a women we must stand up for justice. I believe I am a modern day feminist. I believe in equality.”
She continued on sharing that she doesn’t feel society needs to label her any which way, firmly stating that, “I am just a women with free thoughts, free mindset and I LOVE THE WAY I AM.”
Baloch also professed that she feels she is a “a voice for ladies who are treated badly.”
In addition to speaking out for equal rights for women, she herself had escaped what she described was a “forced, violent marriage,” beginning when she was 17. She also shared that her husband once tried to throw acid on her saying, “I’ll burn your face because you’re so beautiful.”
In a recent interview detailing her own personal experiences, she criticized the media saying that they didn’t give her any credit for speaking up about the empowerment of women and that she is dedicated to being an example of “girl power.”
“I don’t know how many girls have felt support through my persona,” she shared during the interview. “I’m girl power. So many girls tell me I’m girl power, and yes, I am.”
She also added that her bold personality was “her revenge” to her country.
In the wake of her death, her fans have been sharing messages on social media to express how much Baloch’s mission and fighting spirit meant to them, while others have been posting that her murder was “good news” because she “disgraced” Pakistan.
At the time of this report, her alleged murderer, Wasim, is still at large, while her parents remain in custody.
She didn't conform to the norm, outspoken& unapologetic, silenced 4 ever. Shocked & saddened at #QandeelBaloch's murder— Sharmila faruqi (@sharmilafaruqi) July 16, 2016
#QandeelBaloch was larger than life, in your face, unapologetic about her ambitions and her womanhood. Goodbye, you crazy, beautiful woman— Mehreen Zahra-Malik (@mehreenzahra) July 16, 2016
(Photo: Qandeel Baloch via Instagram)