A Pakistani cleric who was suspended from the membership of a top religious body after posing for selfies with Qandeel Baloch, the Internet sensation murdered by her brother in a case of honour killing, said on Sunday the incident is a lesson for others.
“Those who intend to or humiliate clerics must learn from Qandeel Baloch’s fate,” Mufti Abdul Qawi said.
Qawi was last month embroiled in a scandal with Baloch after she uploaded her pictures with him during a meeting.
Baloch, 26, was killed on Saturday by her brother for what he said was “dishonouring” the family by posting videos and posts on Facebook.
Reacting on the killing of the social media celebrity, Qawi, who was suspended from the Pakistan government’s Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, said: “Those who have humiliated clerics must seek repentance and should ask forgiveness from clerics as well as Almighty Allah.
“I had forgiven Qandeel for what she had done against me. I have never had any hatred for her,” he told Express Tribune newspaper.
Baloch had ridiculed Qawi on various television channels and tried to imply that he was crazy about her.
Qawi said: “I had met Qandeel in an effort to bring her the path of righteousness. I was asked by some people why you met Qandeel. I told them we should hate sin but not a sinner.”
The cleric further said: “People should realise that religious clerics are the pious face of Islam and they should not dare to play with their reputation or try to malign them otherwise they will face the curse of God.
“I had convinced Qandeel to repent on her sins and asked her to come towards the right path. I had even offered her a marriage proposal in her new life,” Qawi said.
Baloch had received threats from the supporters of Mufti Qawi for allegedly trying to disgrace him. She had later requested security from the interior ministry which she was denied.
Meanwhile, members of the civil society on Sunday held a demonstration at Liberty Chowk Lahore and condemned her killing.
Demonstrators raised slogans like ‘Stop Violence against Women’.
Some of the slogans read: ‘We Failed You Qandeel’, ‘No Country for Bold Women’, ‘No Honour in Killing’.
The protesters demanded exemplary punishment for the killer, action by the media regulatory authority against TV channels who assassinated her character and posthumously disrespected her by broadcasting images of her body.
Awami Workers Party General Secretary Farooq Tariq said Qandeel joined thousands of women in Pakistan and around the world who were raped, mutilated and murdered by men.
He said Qandeel was punished for transgressing the norms that were fundamental to a patriarchal order.
Around 1,100 women were killed in Pakistan last year in the name of honour.