Pakistani internet star Qandeel Baloch’s brother publicly confessed on Sunday that he drugged and strangled his sister to death, adding he could not tolerate her bringing “dishonour” to Baloch people.
“I proudly admit to murdering Qandeel and I have earned heaven and honour by providing relief to my parents and family,” Waseem Baloch, who was arrested on late Saturday, said at a press conference held by Multan police.
“After the videos with Mufti Abdul Qavi had gone viral on social media, I planned to murder her and was only waiting for the best moment,” he said, referring to the social media starlet’s selfie appearance with a local cleric.
Baloch, believed to be in her twenties and whose real name was Fauzia Azeem, rose to fame for her racy Facebook posts that saw her praised by some for breaking taboos but condemned by conservatives.
She was in Multan to visit her parents as her father had been unwell, and spent Eid with her family, her mother told police.
“She was on the ground floor while our parents were asleep on the roof top,” Waseem said. “It was around 10.45 pm when I gave her a tablet... and then killed her.”
“I am a drug addict but I was in my senses when I murdered her and I accept it with pride. Now everybody will remember me with honour that I have provided relief to my parents and brothers who were suffering for the last two decades because of her,” Waseem added.
Hundreds of women are murdered for “honour” every year in Pakistan. The killers overwhelmingly walk free because of a law that allows the family of the victim to forgive the murderer -- who is often also a relative.
“Girls are born only to stay at home and to bring honour to the family by following family traditions but Qandeel had never done that. My friends used to send me videos and pictures on my mobile and everyone in the mobile market was sharing pictures and videos of her with me. Murdering her was better than committing suicide.”
Waseem said he had acted alone and was unrepentant. He was presented in a criminal court Sunday, where he said: “I do not need a lawyer; I have no regrets for what I have done.”
Police officials said Waseem had stolen money and other possessions from Qandeel after killing her. According to some reports, Waseem escaped with Qandeel’s wallet, jewellery and cell phone.
Initial investigations have revealed he had acted alone and fled to DG Khan after the murder, along with two friends, police said.
Waseem had been threatening her to stop posting photos and videos on Facebook, they said.
But Qandeel’s father Azeem told media he suspected that his other son, Aslam Shaheen, who is in the army, may have played a role, and alleged that the police was protecting him.
In the First Information Report to police also, Azeem said Aslam Shaheen and Waseem were responsible for their sister’s death. He alleged Aslam provoked Waseem to kill Qandeel as she reportedly “brought disrepute to the family”.
He said his sons killed Qandeel for her money. “My daughter was brave and I will not forget or forgive her brutal murder,” he said.
Waseem was arrested from DG Khan. Police continue to look for the other men believed to have played a part in the killing.
No marks of torture were found on Qandeel’s body, said a senior police official. The post-mortem was conducted at Multan’s Nishtar Hospital.
Some of Baloch’s more controversial acts included volunteering to perform a striptease for the Pakistani cricket team, and donning a plunging scarlet dress on Valentine’s Day. She told local media she had received death threats in the wake of the controversy, and that her requests for protection from authorities had been ignored.
Baloch’s funeral was held early Sunday near her family home in southern Punjab.
With AFP inputs